Thanks for Nothing. . . .

Well, he killed it, after all. “He” being Council District 1 boss Gil Cedillo, and “it” being the plan to put Figueroa on a road diet and add bike lanes to it. His “rationale”—and I use quotes here because it has no relation to rationality—is that he is not sure the road diet would ensure “the safety of all those who travel the corridor.” Read his condescending and terminally mealy-mouthed letter yourself here, if you’ve a strong stomach.

This is nonsense, and in fact must be a conscious lie. I personally sent links to fifteen studies of actual road diets that were followed and analyzed for years, and which allow for no misinterpretation. His district director, Conrado Terrazas, whom I had met at a Bicycle Advisory Council meeting, emailed me back with thanks, stating that he had “forwarded this info to our policy staff.” So Cedillo knows that road diets are the best way of “ensuring the safety of all who travel the corridor.”

It looks as though Cedillo, who long ago was some sort of liberal, is turning into a Tea Party denialist of everything that doesn’t support the self-indulgent fantasies of cut-through drivers, a decidedly outside interest that seems to be his real constituency. To these folks, any lie is good enough if it can keep them rocketing through your neighborhoods at twenty over the limit, and it’s just too bad if you get in their way. They’re important; you’re not: so please step aside or die.

The safety benefits of road diets are established fact, accepted even by such stodgy and formerly pro-speeding bureaucracies as AASHTO and the Federal Highway Administration, which refers to road diets as a “Proven Safety Countermeasure.”

None of that mattered to Cedillo, who is perhaps a cat’s-paw for some more-organized outside interest than the general mass of self-entitled road hogs he seems to be pandering to. Despite endless community meetings in which supporters of the road diet always outnumbered the reactionaries; despite the majority of neighborhood councils voting in support of the road diet; despite unanimous City Council approval; despite funding, planning, and widespread joy over the prospect of a safer, healthier and more prosperous North Figueroa…Cedillo stamped his foot and wailed, “No! I don’t wanna!”

And so the carnage will continue, and the prosperity and public health benefits the road diet and bike lanes would have brought remain on hold…till Cedillo decides to become an honest man, or at least till the election in three years.

How many more Highland Park residents will be killed or crippled in Cedillo’s name till then?

Thanks for nothing, Gil.

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8 Comments

  1. rj
    Posted July 16, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Well, I’m going to continue riding Figueroa regardless. But my helmet cam will always be switched on to record drivers who now think they have carte blanche to bully and intimidate cyclists.

  2. Anthony
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    This is Bullshit, What can we do to support this effort I am new in these parts, but a bike rider, racer, commuter. and new bee to LA county, I would like too help

  3. AB
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Thank goodness he stopped the bike lanes from going in on Fig. We all know there are other ways to bring traffic to the speed limit, but bike lanes would bring traffic 10-15mph below the speed limit. Don’t believe me? Look at what happened to York. And how many bicyclist are there? Less then 1% of the people that travel on York between Fig and Eagle Rock blvd are on bikes.

    If anything, bike lanes on Marmion Way to Pasadena Ave make sense: less traffic and more space.

  4. rj
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    AB: Would you like to clarify “what happened on York”? I live just off York, and it’s constantly packed with throngs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists spending money at the local establishments (with new shops and restaurants opening almost monthly). I would love for this to happen to Figueroa, and am puzzled as to why you think York’s prosperity is a bad thing.

  5. AB
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    RJ: For what I mean on York is the constant traffic. I’ve timed the commute and the time it takes to go from Fig to Eagle Rock is up 50-75% since the change to 1 lane westbound. I’ve counted bike-cyclist on the road at any give time communing from Fig to ER and it is 1-2% bikes vs automobiles.

    If you would like, I can go around the businesses and ask people if they are walking, biking, or driving to them (which no one has bothered to do). But if we look at the number or bikes vs cars parked between Ave 50-52, including the ones in the parking lot behind the hardware store, there are far more cars. I would bet that most people are walking/driving, then biking to the local establishments. The problem now though, is we don’t have a baseline for that info.

  6. Rick Risemberg
    Posted July 30, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Actually, AB, there has been a survey of how people arrive at York Blvd. shops, though instead of asking only merchants, who always guess at it and get it wrong, they held exit interviews with actual customers, and compared the reality to the merchants’ perceptions. Turns out that, as almost everywhere else where neighborhood retail is involved, most people walk, bike, or ride the bus to shop the street, and did so even before the road diet.

    Page 34, here:
    http://flyingpigeon-la.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/BKA-bAhCUAA7qyd.jpg

    Please don’t make unfounded assumptions about “nobody having having bothered to make” such a survey; they are standard operating procedure. Guessing is not.

    These surveys have been made in other cities similar to Los Angeles, with similar results–Toronto, for example:

    Page 18:
    http://www.cleanairpartnership.org/pdf/Bike%20Lanes,%20Parking%20and%20Business%20-%20Report%20-%20Final.pdf

    And note that the York analysis was made after less than a year, when experience has shown that road diets take about three years to mature and provide the massive benefits that, for example, one sees on New York’s 9th Avenue.

    From the Wall Street Journal:
    http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2012/10/24/report-bike-lanes-pedestrian-plazas-good-for-businesses/

  7. AB
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Rick, can you please post a link to the survey done for York Blvd? The first link it to the number of pedestrian & bike accidents on Fig. And if there has been one done for Fig, can you post that as well? I am not against bike lanes or road diets. I am against traffic and unrealistic expectations, like everyone one else. Can I ask you Rick, and I say this is the most sincere way possible, what are your goals that the bike lanes in NELA will help to accomplish?

  8. Rick Risemberg
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Our goals are a city with less motor traffic hogging nearly all public space, which is what we have now; fewer deaths and injuries from road crashes; more healthy transport options that help build, not destroy, community spirit and local economic strength. And the freedom to choose how to travel rather than being coerced into driving by structural mandates such as car-only streets, which enslave people to motor vehicles, and which require heavy socialization of costs, ie tax subsidies.

    Here is a link to over fifteen reports on careful scientific studies answering almost all your questions:

    https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B9eak1qZWQ4WSllRNUl3TXlmbG8&usp=sharing

    These are mostly written in plain language. I’ve studied them all. It’s a good thing to do before rendering opinions in public.

    Here’s a link to the York study by itself; please note that it was made after only ten months, although road diets take about three years to mature. (Less time than it takes widened roads to jam completely.) Current reports indicate that the road diet has helped York considerably more than the report states.

    http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/pdf/york_blvd_final_report_compress.pdf

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