The shop phone was ringing off the hook, I am sure, while I snagged one of our Batavus BuBs and flew downtown to be there when the 2010 LA Bike Plan got approved. As soon as I arrived near council chambers, I knew something was up. The place was flooded with people from Vernon and other union member types (burly, wearing the same shirts).
The entire morning was a gossip-fest amongst bike advocates, bloggers, and city staff while we waited for the council to punt on the issue that brought the union members and Vernon-ites to the chamber. Finally, the crowd left and the City Council put forth the bike plan approval.
I got up and said my 1 minute’s worth, holding forth on open data for traffic crashes (a key political tool) and using standards developed by the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project to do the annual bike counts called for in the plan.
A ton of other speakers got up, a lot of them “horse people” (my codeword for backers of a ban on mountain bicycles in Los Angeles parks). There was a fun #labikeplan Twitter stream going, and I tried my hardest to throw in some entertaining bits.
After a long series of pro-horse, anti-mountain bike, speakers. Councilman Krekorian got up to speak and said, “This plan sets the table…”, and went on to describe a bunch of stuff. I rattled this off on Twitter:
flyingpigeonla: “Krekorian: #labikeplan sets the table. What’s for dinner? Horses”
The call for the vote to be taken was done by Alex Baum, former head of Los Angeles’ Bicycle Advisory Committee (a citizen-run group formed around the time of the 1984 Olympics). It was a cool moment.
Councilman Rosendahl gave Alex Thompson, of BikeSide and the BikeRoWave, a half-dozen home-grown eggs, promising, “One of those is a turkey!” My mother stands shoulder to shoulder with the councilman, growing her organic free-range egg laying hens on a small patch of Mar Vista dirt in Rosendahl’s district. I guess she can help fill out that half-dozen with 6 of her home-grown goose eggs.
After the plan was approved, a crowd of city staff ran to get lunch before coming together for the newly formed “BPIT” or Bicycle Plan Implementation Team, which meets monthly in City Hall. I showed up, talked some trash, listened to Glenn Bailey of the Valley make the case for better coordination with the Neighborhood Councils in planning and rolling out bike projects.
Everyone seemed to agree that the Mayor’s office had to make some sort of executive order to let the LAPD, and various other departments, acknowledge the change in city operating procedures required for this plan to be implemented properly. The city is a huge entity, and making anything that big dance a merry little bike jig is going to take some big-time logistics work, a lot of meetings, and the rapt attention of the bicycling public.
I think we’re on our way to a much more bike friendly Los Angeles, but it is still going to take an all-out effort by cyclists and the rest of civil society to do it.
There is going to be a public ceremony with Mayor Villaraigosa on the South Lawn of Los Angeles City Hall on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 9am. If I can swing it, me and the baby will drop by.