Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Last Week in Streetsblog

So, last week was the Big Metro Board meeting on their sales tax proposal. Dissapointingly, they did squat for bike/ped. As a result, a lot of bike/ped advocates are resorting to a "see you in November" mind frame irritating the transit advocates.

Also last week was the interview with Tom LaBonge, Los Angeles City Councilman, about bikes and his trip to Europe. Turned out to be a more controversial story than I thought. But with no incoming links it had over 200 unique full page hits which is pretty good.

This week looks to be a slow week, but tomorrow should be a fun day. Look for a story of one of Streetsblogs' victories on the street.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Past Two Weeks in Streetsblog

Sorry I missed doing this post last week, it's been a hectic couple of weeks. On the strength of reader curiosity about the Mandeville Canyon incident, and a story picked up by Planetizen about how roads don't pay for themselves; LA Streetsblog just finished it's two strongest weeks ever,

For any readers not from this area, the transportation press has been dominated by discussion of the Mandeville Canyon Road Rage Crash. Basically, on 7/4 a couple of cyclists were cut off by a driver in an act of road rage (you see the cyclists were going slower than the driver wanted) and you can see the non-graphic result above. For more graphic shots, go to our second most read story ever. Given what the story did for Streetsblog's traffic, I can only imagine what it did for LAist who broke and was the lead on the story as it developed.

The story doesn't end there. The local Councilman, StreetHeat favorite Bill Rosendahl, calls a town hall meeting between cyclists and Mandeville residents to respond to the accident. However, two days before the meeting, Rosendahl cancels the meeting and instead forms a "task force" to discuss the issue. The task force meets at the same time/place as the meeting was supposed to be causing some cyclists to scream bloody murder that all that really happened was that they were disinvited to a meeting. Kent Strumpell, Rosendahl's rep to the city's Bike Advisory Committee, was there and he sent a report to Streetsblog which can be read here.

This wasn't the only bike-ped news though. Ironically, the City Council Transportation Committee held an all afternoon meeting on bike issues. There was good news: the city is adopting a Sharrows program and the City Council expressed interest in pursuing a better Bike Master Plan. And there was bad news; the Council is moving ahead with its plan to close one of the entrances to the Ballona Creek Bike Trail.

Remember the Pico/Olympic Plan I covered here (pre-Streetsblog) so obsessively this fall? Well, despite its unpopularity and a judgement against it, it's going forward. The City Council is meeting a judge's request that it receive a full environmental review before the city can take the plan any further.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Write Metro to Support Bike/Ped Projects

So far, the response to my plea that folks send an email to metroletter@live.com has been underwhelming. Two days into the campaign and we're not yet at 50 signatures. If you're reading this post and you want to ask Metro to put some money aside from their sales tax windfall (if the voter's approve it) go to this post to get the detains or just email metroletter@live.com .

Editor's note: Sorry I forgot The Week in Streetsblog last week. It will be back on Friday.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why split the story?

I'm sure at least someone is wondering why I broke yesterday's Transportation Committee meeting into two different stories on Streetsblog, one on the Ballona Creek Issue and one on the rest of the meeting.

Well, here's the deal. Yesterday was a great day for bike advocacy in the city. A group of City Councilpeople were near unanimous (again, it's hard to tell how Parks felt because he wasn't engaged until the very end when he spoke forcefully for better amenities around USC) that the city needs to do better for bikes. Sharrows, a better BMP, better bus access...all of these are good issues that the Council addressed, and a lot of people worked very hard to make yesterday happen. They deserve a moment in the sun and Councilmember Bill Rosendahl deserves a measure of praise despite his support of closing that Ballona Creek gate.

Nevertheless, the committee's decision to embrace the LAPD's request to close the gate deserves coverage on it's own. Sounding like a helmut-wearing velo-advocate Richard Alarcon rose to defend free access to a public space and for that he deserves kudos.

So kudos to the Council for embracing bikes yesterday, but all that being said we have a lot of work to do. I think the two stories each make that point in their own way.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Week in Streetsblog: Metro vs Cyclists

The monster story for this abbreviated week was when Streetsblog broke the story of how Metro is going to spend that $40 billion windfall if their proposed half cent sales tax increase makes it to the fall ballot. The revelation that absolutely none of those dollars would be earmarked for bicycle and pedestrian projects caused a stir in the comments section as cyclists wondered why the hell they should vote for this measure.

Of course, Metro seems bound and determined to tick off this user group at the moment. Word leaked out of Metro HQ that the agency is considering enforcing it's rush hour ban against bikes on trains. While this rule has been on the books for years, much like bans against wearing a hat sideways in some podunk midwestern town, it hasn't been enforced. Metro couldn't pick a worse time to pick a fight with what could be a crucial user group...especially after blowing them off at the last board meeting.

Also, I rode Venice Critical Mass last Friday. It was cool. We played Soccer.