NELA bike lane controversy comes to NCs this week

Crazy anti- #bikela signs at Colorado bike lane meeting.
One of several anti-bike signs seen at Jose Huizar’s community meeting on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

Two more critical bike lane meetings coming up this next week:


Crowd of about 40 people, 3 kids, 6 bureaucrats at meeting. #bikela #fig4all
Bike Plan EIR meeting at the LA River Center on February 13, 2013.

If we stay home and let the bike lane haters have their way, our streets can stay scary and dangerous car-only places. If we mobilize, our streets can also become safer, more livable, and better for local walk-up business foot traffic.

Now is when we collectively decide if we want the anger, fear, and frustrations of a small anti-bike minority in this community, enraged about the symbolic loss of their status quo, to override the legitimate interests of the majority that live, work, and own property here.

"Unused" bike racks on Avenue 50 and York according to @highlandpatch commenters.
“Unused” (according to anti-bike laners) bike racks and lanes on York Blvd.

Painting bike lanes is easy. Community hearings about bike lanes are the hard part. We’re two meetings down and at least 3 more to go until local politicians will give their nod of approval to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to go ahead and install the bike lanes approved in the 2010 Bike Plan.

Crowd of 80+ at the Colorado bike lane meeting. #fig4all #bikela
There were around 130 people at the Oxy community meeting.

It was a packed house last night, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, at Occidental College’s Norris Chemistry building’s Mosher Hall. By the count of local newsman Tom Topping, over 130 people showed up to hear from the LADOT representatives and to make general remarks about bike lanes on Colorado Blvd.

Some of us in the audience at Oxy had also attended an official hearing on the Bike Plan back on February 13, 2013 at the Los Angeles River Center. That meeting had close to 70 members of the public.

The comments about bike lanes on N. Figueroa St. and Colorado Blvd. can generally be clustered into two categories: those who want the lanes and those who really, really, don’t want the lanes.

Ten valentines now done at bike plan mtg. #fig4allOnly one poppie diaper so far at bike plan meeting.
Bike lane supporters crossed many demographic lines, some brought their kids despite the challenges that entails.

Those speaking out in favor of the bike lanes represent a wide demographic swath of the neighborhood: young, middle aged, old, single, people raising families, rich, and poor. Bike lane supporters also have come out both times in much greater numbers than anti-bike laners. At the February hearing, over 50 speakers in favor of the lanes voiced their support compared to the 3 against. At the meeting last night there were perhaps 20 people who spoke against the lanes and over 60 who spoke in favor of the lanes.

Press from that first hearing was a pathetic attempt by both the Highland Park-Mt. Washington Patch and the Boulevard Sentinel to gin up controversy (and page-views) by ignoring the sentiment of the majority of the public – and instead airing as much information as they could about predicted peak hour motorist delay. In the case of the Boulevard Sentinel, their report claimed an extra hour of time would be added to car trips due to bike lanes – an absurd claim that only brought more strife to the next hearing (which happened last night).

Behold, when a local paper wants to, it can produce some very ugly sentiments in people.

More anti- #bikela signs at Colorado bike lane town hall. #fig4all

The hate and animosity in the comments made by the anti-laners started shrill and has only turned nastier and more insane with each blog post, newspaper article, online comment section, and public meeting.

Holy shit! Anti-bike lane signs @ Colorado Blvd bike lane town hall. #fig4all

We are nearing the height of anti-bike lane sentiment in our community. The local press is having a field day stirring the emotional pot – covering the negative aspects of the bike lanes to get page-views from angry motorists.

Ed Reyes at #fig4all ride. #bikela
Councilman Ed Reyes speaking to 200+ bike lane supporters at a rally on February 10, 2013.

I urge you to come out and let your opinion about bike lanes in North East Los Angeles be known. Bring your kids, bring your spouse, bring your family. If you’re a kid rocking a fixie or a BMX – your voice counts at these meetings! If you’ve enjoyed any of the past Dim Sum, Brewery, or Spoke(n) Art Rides we’ve done – come out and let the anti-bike lane folks see that there are reasonable people who support these lanes for a whole host of reasons.

Two more critical bike lane meetings coming up this next week:

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4 Comments

  1. Koko
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    I think that the couple who made those signs run a print shop, so it was easy for them to whip up some hostility on short notice.

  2. Posted March 29, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Jose Huizar: Give us a demonstration of removing auto lanes.
    Open Letter to Councilman Huizar and LADOT

    It appears the the bike lanes might just come to Colorado, but I have a small request.

    As you have experienced DOT planners working on this, would you request they make a quick assessment on the feasibility of temporarily closing the one lane each way on Colorado Boulevard for a week, or possibly just 48 hours during the week so we all can see first hand what the impact would be? If, in fact, it will be no problem, there’s no reason to oppose a trial run.

    The fears and protests of a large part of the community would be assuaged if they can see for themselves the impact on traffic before any permanent or semi-permanent changes are made.

    It would be a great chance to prove that your forecasts (the city, council office and consultants) are right as to what impact the bike lanes changes will actually have on Colorado Boulevard auto traffic.
    Common sense dictates that if would not take many resources to send a truck load of cones, a dozen “lane closed” signs and a small crew of street services employees to show up at around 11 pm on a wednesday night, close the two lanes from Townsend to Eagle Rock Blvd. and then remove them a week or so later after the community gets a good demonstration of how good or bad it will be.

    Thanks for your consideration.

  3. Alek
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Tom, the experiment you are suggesting would not give folks an opportunity to try an amenity that is currently unavailable (the actual bike lane) in 48 hours. Behavioral shifts take time. Some will switch to biking over time and that cannot be captured in the experiment you are suggesting. Planning does not work in 48-hour cycles. If you build it, they will come.

  4. Tip Tipping
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Tom if you want to see a demonstration, go down to Division and Eagle Rock Blvd to see 4 lanes of car traffic with 2 bike lanes. http://goo.gl/maps/ehjhz Look at the photo. Bumper to bumper. The traffic is a nightmare.

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  2. […] to help save planned Northeast L.A. bike lanes from kneejerk anti-bike NIMBYist opposition with two vital Neighborhood Council meetings this week, one today and another on […]

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