Wednesday, October 14, 2009

LA.Streetsblog - Bike Working Group Gives Cyclists a Chance to Talk Bike Plan This Weekend

LA.Streetsblog by Stephen Box on October 13, 2009

The Bike Writers Collective is calling up the LA Bike Working Group to take on LA's Draft Bike Plan, reviewing it, discussing it, and then working together to make it a powerful visionary document that supports the rights of cyclists on the streets of Los Angeles. All LA cyclists are invited to join in as the spirit of Government 2.0 takes over the Los Angeles City College Faculty Lounge at 1pm this Saturday, October 17, 2009.

The Draft Bike Plan was released on September 24th and the comment period is scheduled to close on November 6th, a window of 42 days for public participation. This is the first of many objectionable elements to the Draft Bike Plan and the City's idea of civic engagement. The LA Bicycle Advisory Committee voted unanimously to "demand" that the comment period be extended until Jan 8, 2010. The Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils also voted unanimously to support the fight for an extension of the comment period. Now it's up to the cycling community to prepare those comments.

Riding a bike in Los Angeles has always been a demonstration of self-sufficiency and independence. At first it simply meant carrying a spare tube, some tools and a pump. Somewhere along the way it grew to include carrying a pocket guide to the law, some key phone numbers and some bail money. Then the Department of DIY took things into their own hands and now the cycling community finds themselves confronted with the fact that if they want a decent Bike Plan, they're going to have to make it themselves.

Cyclists can take a look at the complaints and the criticism of the Draft Bike Plan, from LAStreetsBlog and again on LAStreetsblog to CityWatchLA to WestsideBikeSide to BikeGirl. But the most important thing they can do is to take a look at the Draft Bike Plan, (editor's note: If you want to compare the "original" maps from earlier this summer with the current ones that were quietly downgraded, you can find the original maps here.) download it to their laptop and then to ride over to the LA Bike Working Group and to dig in. We'll start as a group then we'll break into smaller groups and we'll work through the plan and create a vision for Los Angeles, by cyclists for cyclists.

Portland is currently going through the same Bike Plan update process as Los Angeles and they have 11 Working Groups, 1 Steering Committee and 1 Technical Advisory Committee, all working together to ensure that the Bike Plan is a robust document that represents the desires of the cycling community. Somehow the City of LA got consultants from Portland but not the spirit of community nor the commitment to an open and engaging process. Now is LA's chance to change that and to create a Bike Plan that truly supports cyclists and their rights on the streets of Los Angeles.

LA Bike Working Group, 1 pm on Saturday the 17th of October, 2009. LACC Faculty Lounge, right in the center of the campus which is right in the center of LA. To plan your visit via public transportation, go to The Red Line drops you off right by the College at Santa Monica & Vermont.

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