Tuesday, May 26, 2009

LADOT Bikeways vs. the Volcano

LA's budget crisis seemed so bad the Department of Transportation actually carried the Bikeways division to the edge of the volcano, apparently fully prepared to toss it over the edge, willing to sacrifice it all in an effort to save the city from financial collapse.

At the last minute, it was revealed that the threat was hollow, that the Bikeways Division is Prop C funded meaning that if the staff were canned, the city would then simply return the "Congestion Relief" funding, resulting in no financial benefit to the City's General Fund.

Nevertheless, it was all part of an exciting week as department after department, constituent group after constituent group, union after union and, eventually, department head after department head, all paraded before the city council and begged a second bowl of porridge.

Why, one would think we're in the middle of a financial crisis.

Truth be told, we're actually doing all right. Since San Antonio has stepped up as LA's 11% solution, the city's annual revenue has grown from $5.4 Billion in to $7.1 Billion. LA's crisis is not one of shrinking revenue but of escalating costs that are rapidly exceeding the 31% increase in revenue. All of which brought the city to a moment of truth when somebody pointed out that the days of lean are on their way.

Call for moderation drew challenges of "You first!" and the city went to the wire, wrestling all the way.

When the dust had settled, money had magically appeared, the budget was balanced and everybody agreed to "Share the Sacrifice" meaning 10% cuts throughout the city and furloughs, layoffs and other austerity measures positioned for implementation.

As for the LADOT's Bikeways Division, they survived intact. Phew!

Now the cyclists of Los Angeles can get back to NOT getting the '08 Bike Plan ($450K) and NOT getting the '08 Bike Map ($400K) and NOT getting the Orange Line maintained (5.27.09 Transpo Committee) and NOT getting any Bikeways support in the Hummer vs. Cyclists incident (1:50)

Of course, LADOT's Bikeways Department hasn't been idle.

Bikeways was on the job last year when the Department of DIY pitched in to help with the public works backlog, painting a bike lane on the Fletcher Bridge. The paint was barely dry when the Bikeways staff moved with uncharacteristic speed, painting out the bike lane and removing the supporting signage. Bikeways staff reported at the August Bicycle Advisory Committee and in the press that the DIY bike lane was dangerous, resulted in "lost goodwill" and put cyclists in danger. Phew!

photo by Sean Bonner

Bikeways was also on the job last year when Westside cyclists needed a little extra excitement on their Culver Blvd. Bike Path.

This Bike Path is on former Red Car land that belongs to the Metro but there is a cooperative agreement in place that allows the city to operate a bike path. Definitely safer than the Fletcher Bridge!

But most of all, Bikeways was on the job last year, developing the Sunset Boulevard Bike Path, a Class I mixed use path between Alvarado and Coronado, right in the heart of Silver Lake. What a bold move!

The Sunset Boulevard Bike Path! Definitely safer than the Fletcher Bridge!

It's moves such as this that leave one wondering "Is the volcano still warm?"


e.n said...

It's almost as if the bike path were a response to motorists complaining about bikes, rather than bikes complaining about motorists.

ubrayj02 said...

I'm a big advocate for tearing apart the LADOT entirely and sending pieces of it to different departments. What is so vital about the LADOT that other departments can't take up the slack?

The Bikeways Division is a case in point. What are these people doing to make things better for bikes other than working as hard as they can to shut the cycling community down and ensure that when we're hurt or killed that justice is unavailable to us?

Anonymous said...