Friday, June 27, 2008

The Week in Streetsblog

The highlight of this week's blogging was yesterday's marathon, Metro Board meeting. Steve at Bottleneck Blog did a great write up, but in my completely biased opinion, so did I. Five hours and the Board decides to talk about it all later before making a decision. Glad I left my yellow shirt at home.

But that wasn't the only big story. Free bus rides to Dodger Stadium and a Street Film (thanks Planetizen!) posted at the end of last week got the week off to a bang with bug readership days at the start of the week. I allowed the Times to scoop me by not posting the Dodger Stadium story last Friday when I had the story in hand and I sort of blew it. At least I broke the news that the rides are going to be free...

There was some news we did break. We were the first to unveil CALTRANS' new proposed bike signs and the first to post the results of Metro's press release showing 73% support for its sales tax proposal.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pardon the Interruption

But I have to thank someone for some tea.

As a "thank you" for writing on Emerald City, Green LA Girl sent me some tea. Those of you that know me know that I love brewing hot tea and using my clear plastic solar-powered brewer (pictured) to make iced tea in the back yard.

GLG didn't send green tea, but a white coconut creme tea (it looks darker in the picture than it does in real life, I didn't "burn" it) that is honestly unlike anything I've ever drank before. It took me a glass or two to get used to it. It smelled like a pina colada but tasted like, well a white tea with a hint of coconut and creme.

I've had it both hot and iced, and have to say it worked as both. If I've piqued your interest, you can read more about the Art of Tea, from whence it came, here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Week in Streetsblog

No, That's Neither Red Nor Big Red

The week started out pretty slow, but it picked up as the week went on, Ben Fried (out of the NY office) wrote two popular stories on Obama's plans to reform transit and bike funding.

Ben was left Home Alone while a lot of the NY staff went to Portland for the nation's Carfree Conference. While up there they shot a Street Film about depaving a parking lot and putting in a park. Planetizen picked up the film off LA Streetsblog site leading to a burst of hits at the end of the week.

Lastly, outgoing Metro Board Chair Pam O'Connor held what may be the last of her online chats. In it, she talked about the need to change the way we decide whether a road is a success. Currently in LA County, we count cars. O'Connor is suggesting we start counting the number of people that use the road, whether it be in a car, on a bus, on a bike, on foot, etc.... LAist liked the quote so much, they did a whole article on the Streetsblog article.

But the biggest news of all, Streetsblog helped saved a crosswalk that LADOT was planning on removing while repaving the road!

Check in at Streetsblog Monday, we're going to be announcing some big news involving an old favorite of a story...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bikes and Bear

Well, we're pretty much a month removed from Take Your Bike to Work Week and I have yet to introduce you to the two newest members of our family, the Schwinn Beach Cruisers we bought at our yard sale: Red and Big Red.

Of course, Big Red has the bike decoration that is more important than any ride card.

And for those of you who I haven't seen in awhile, check out my writing partner who's been with us since January 29th Bear, the Streets Cat. As you can see, Bear enjoys collaborating on a lot of writing projects by sleeping on the printer.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Week in Streetsblog

Ok, so I don't have any posts with mega hits this week, but that's because I lost my stat tracker for about 36 hours in the middle of the week. Even with that, we had two new posts enter the top 15.

The first actually happened last weekend. LABAC's comments to the city's new Bike Master Plan got picked up by a couple of blogs, including LA Curbed and has moved up to 7th on the all time hits list.

A post from Monday about another bike having another incident with another cyclist also cracked the top 15, pulling in at, well, 15th.

Last, a post from Wednesday (pictured above) didn't make the list just yet, but probably would have if not for the 36 missing hours. The post, on the downtown model made by James Rojas etal, will probably slip into the list later this weekend...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Google Recognizes LA Streetsblog As a News Source

It may be old hat for my colleagues in New York, but today google finally began posting LA Streetsblog stories in their news section instead of just their blog section.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Rider's thoughts on the River Ride

It's 27 hours after I finished my 50 mile jaunt next to the Los Angeles River and I still feel like crap. My legs feel like they're about to fall off and no matter how much water I drink I feel like every sip is the first one I've ever taken.

All that being said, I'm psyched I actually finished the ride. My fears at around the 35 mile marker that nobody would ever find my body seem a little dramatic now. I'm sure Marybeth would have come looking for me...what would she do with all her freetime without grammar checking Streetsblog for me?

That being said, I noticed a definite difference between this ride and other's I've been on, and I think the difference was in the kind of riders attracted to the River Ride versus the Ridazz attracted to a Critical Mass. First off, people stopped for all the lights, even if there were no cars. If a light turned green and red fast enough that the whole group didn't get through, people stopped and waited for the next light.

Now that may sound like a good thing, and it is, but the overall mood was a lot different. There was no hooting and hollering around bridges. If I saw a cyclist pulled over and asked if they were ok, they seemed surprised that anyone gave a damm. When I pulled over in an attempt to rehydrate, about thirty cyclists passed me by and only one asked if I was ok.

Worst of all, the army of spandex warriors (I don't think I've seen that much spandex since my Dad took me to a WWF event when I was 10. Randy "Macho Man" Savage FTW!) seemed more concerned with their times and getting through the race as quickly as possible rather than just enjoying the ride and the camaraderie they should have felt with their fellow cyclists.

Now there were plenty of weekend bike riders that were good people and considerate bikers. There was one lady who I rode within 300 meters for about the last 20 miles who was a very nice rider and I enjoyed chatting with her immensely, but every time I heard someone make a bad comment about the city or another rider it was always a white person wearing a lot of spandex.

Worst of all, was the attitude shown by a very, very small group that refused to slow down around the pit stops (would that ruin their time or something?) I saw one person just barrel through a pit stop ringing his bell and shouting at everyone. Another person almost slammed into me after swerving around another person crossing the trail while I crossed the bike path back to my bike at the 25 mile marker. Silly me for assuming he would slow down for the pedestrian right in front of him instead of swerving around him and trying to hit me instead of just slowing down. I bet he acts the same way behind the wheel of his SUV/Sports car.

Give me the Ridazz anyday.

In closing, the River Ride was great. It was well planned, well executed and was a day of triumph for me personally. Assuming I'm not permanently crippled, I look forward to doing it again next year. However, it also showed me what a long way we have to go as a bike community before we'll see the kinds of change in the world for which we're all working. If we can't even be polite to each other at a fundraiser for LA's premier advocacy group, what hope do we have of ever unifying behind a single message?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Streetsblog Wrap Up

Partially because I noticed that writing for Street Heat posts actually increases Streetsblog readership (apparently there are still some website that are set to pick up Street Heat content but not Streetsblog content), I've decided to at least do weekly write-ups of the good and bad from the week in Streetsblog.

Thanks to the GeoMint site they set up for me in NY, I can track readership and see what people are reading even if they're not commenting. Three posts that I wrote this week cracked my "top 15 posts of all time," and none of them were the interview with Erik which I expect will shoot up next week once the Planetizen article posts (for some reason it seems to take a week for that to happen for me.).

This week's "biggest winner" was the article on the horrible photo of the bike crash in Mexico. Never doubt your ability to do some real damage while driving drunk. Once LAist linked to the story it was picked up by bike blogs across the Internet is currently my second most read post of all time. That's kind of neat.

Cracking the list at 11th was the piece attacking the Governor for cutting transit funding even as auto VMT is falling and transit ridership is up. Way to go Gov.! I guess the number of cars looks the same from that high up in the air.

The article had a lot of incoming links from websites such as Metro Rider, Free Public Transit for All, Transit Insider, City Transit, RT Rider, and

Rounding out my top 15, with almost no incoming links, was the article on last week's Critical Mass in Los Angeles. I guess a lot of people that come to Streetsblog to scan the headlines thought that it was worth reading, that or the cut and paste link I left at the Ridazz site led to more hits.

I should note that all of these stories, and pretty much everything I write is linked to at the news repository The Metro Library which should be a part of everyone's daily reading that cares about transit in LA.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Check out Damien's Interviews with Erik Knutzen

Wow. So I do a post on SteetHeat and according to Mint and my comments section, there's a small flurry of activity. Maybe I should post here more often again. I didn't know you all still cared.

To make sure people see it, I did an interview with Erik Knutsen last week about the new book he wrote with his wife, Kelly Coyne, The Urban Homestead. The interview was mostly about bicycling, politics and of course how to do urban farming and take advantage of solar power. You can check out the two parts of the interview at Streetsblog and Emerald City.

If you're interested in buying his book do it at his blog, Homegrown Evolution.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My family's commutes

Wow, it's been forever since I wrote anything here. I'm backlogged on some ideas for this blog, but I wanted to take a quick piece of cyberspace to congratulate my family members for ditching their cars when it comes to commuting.

My brother, an Internet executive gave me the news at dinner last Thursday night. As we speak his Facebook page proudly declares that he's returning to being a bike commuter...take that terrorists!

Two of my cousins, Ben Brisson and Edison Parzanese are living together in Boston this summer but are leaving the car back with their mother. Ben is a jet pilot and will be taking transit to the airport. Edison, a star lacrosse player at Holy Cross, is interning with a financial firm.

So take that car culture, my family is doing it's best to walk the walk.