Wednesday, November 25, 2009
LA Bike Plan - Round 1 to Bike Activists
Jane Blumenfeld, Acting Deputy Director for the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, has announced that the City Planning staff will be taking comments on the Draft Bicycle Plan until January 8th, 2010. This is a significant victory for the bike activists who immediately reacted when the Draft Bike Plan was initially released with a November 6, 2009 deadline for comments.
As recently as November 4 at the Eastside Bike Plan Workshop hosted by Councilman Ed Reyes and the Bike Oven, City staff were passing out comment cards that specified the November 6, 2009 deadline. Blumenfeld has all along acknowledged that the City of LA would take comments but the issue raised was that there is a big difference between "accepting" comments and "incorporating" comments.
The extension of the comment period to January 8, 2010 comes with the assurance that comments will be incorporated into a "revised" Draft Bike Plan that will be released in February of 2010 and that the community will then have two more months to review the Bike Plan before City Planning holds two public hearings on behalf of the City Planning Commission.
For many bike activists, the single greatest flaw in the Draft Bike Plan was the exclusion of the public in the process. Neighborhood Councils around the city took the Department of Transportation and City Planning to task for releasing the $450K Bike Plan with only 42 days of comment period. The Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee (LABAC) voted unanimously to call for an extension of the comment period to January 8, 2010. The Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils voted unanimously to call for an extension of the comment period.
Shortly after the release of the Draft Bike Plan, Dr. Alex Thompson presented the Cyclists' Bill of Rights to the NC Action Summit and called on the Neighborhood Council leaders to act quickly to declare the short comment period insufficient and prohibitive. NC's from Mar Vista to Silver Lake to East Hollywood to Mid City West to Woodland Hills-Warner Center all issued resolutions with the common theme, "the public needs more time!"
Perhaps the most robust and pointed resolution came from the CD11 Transportation Committee who took the 42 day comment period to be such a insult that they issued the following recommendations:
I. Recommendations to L.A. Bicycle Plan
1) The new L.A. Bicycle Plan should extend and enhance the 2007/2002/1996 Plan. Currently, it is a step backward from previous plans in both language and bicycle lane mileage.
2) The deadline for public input must be extended from November 6th (42 days of input) to January 8th (in excess of 90 days).
3) Every street is a street that cyclists will ride. This is the language of the Long Beach Bicycle Master Plan, currently a great success.
4) The L.A. Bicycle Plan should go through a full programmatic EIR. This will make its ambitions eligible for off the shelf and last minute funding, as well as open the possibility of reducing parking and travel lanes in some locations.
5) Retail should be a positive element in scoring streets for desirability of bikeways. Cyclists want to go to similar destinations as motorists.
6) Bicycle routes should be eliminated as a designation for the City of Los Angeles.
7) The L.A. Bicycle Plan should have predetermined annual performance measures included within it. These performance measures should not allow for the spontaneous designation of streets as Bike Friendly Streets without significant enhancement.
8) Neighborhood pilot projects must be included as an approach for experimenting with street treatments.
II. Recommendation to Change the Designation to a Different City Entity to Oversee the L.A. Bicycle Plan
Because the LADOT has shown a bias in favor of the movement of automobiles over the movement of pedestrians and cyclists, the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee therefore concludes that the LADOT is woefully inadequate to effectuate a new Bicycle Plan for the City of Los Angeles, and recommend the City designate a different entity to implement this important task, and to provide sufficient human and financial resources to do so.
From WestsideBikeside to BikeGirl to illuminateLA to the kids from FIRSTteamWestside to SoapBoxLA the community has responded clearly to the cavalier behavior of the LADOT and City Planning.
It's great to see the process work. Now, we can get busy creating a Bike Plan for the City of Los Angeles.
Here is the letter from Jane Blumenfeld:
Thank you for your interest in the update of the City of Los Angeles Bicycle Plan. We'd like to share with you information about the next steps so that you can continue to participate in the development of the Plan.
City staff will take comments on the draft Bicycle Plan (which can be read on line at labikeplan.org) until January 8th, 2010. After January 8th, staff will begin to prepare a revised Plan (including the maps) based on all of the input that has been received through the website, at workshops, in letters, e-mails, and on comment cards. We anticipate releasing a staff report and a revised Draft Bicycle Plan in February 2010 and giving all interested parties two months to review the revised plan. We will then hold 2 public hearings on behalf of the City Planning Commission (one in the Valley and one near downtown) to hear your comments on the revised Plan.
Following the 2 hearings, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting in the spring to act on the revised plan. Staff will provide the Commission with information about the comments made at the two public hearings and any additional proposed modifications based on input received.
Following the City Planning Commission's action, two City Council committees will act on the City Planning Commission's recommendation for the Bicycle Plan: the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) and the Transportation Committee. Their recommendations will then be considered by the full City Council.
Please contact Jordann Turner at 213 978-1379 if you have any questions.
Acting Deputy Director
Los Angeles Department of City Planning