I have a remarkable happenstance to report from yesterday’s Bicycle Plan Implementation Team meeting….
We had received the usual reports on how many miles of what type of facility had been striped, how close we were to the original goals of our city’s hard-won (and still embattled) bike plan, and what we could expect not so much to see as to hope for in the next year or two. The mood around the table was not quite glum, but it was marked by suspicion—openly expressed—that the City of Los Angeles was pursuing the development of a usable bicycle network with a notable lack of enthusiasm, as well as a distressing tendency to slouch towards the easiest projects rather than the most necessary ones.
A representative of USC, for example, noted that the area around that university already sees the highest bicycle mode share in the city; that the neighborhood residents are highly transit-dependent and overwhelmingly in favor of added bikeways; that streets have been selected and money allocated for implementation…and that nothing has happened, and that apparently nothing is expected to happen, to create a bikeways network serving this hotbed of daily bike travel by both students and residents.
And so it went around the long gray table: residents of Highland Park bemoaned the local council member’s blockade of a much-needed road diet on North Figueroa; Fairfax area neighbors pined for a north/south route through the area, and wondered what had happened to the Sixth Street road diet (blockaded by yet another baronial council member); longtime Bicycle Advisory Committee member Glenn Bailey asked why meeting attendees were no longer given the photocopied charts showing streets finished and streets planned for each sector of the city, such as were for the first few years a part of the meeting’s landscape; others asked about studies showing the effects of road diets on crash rates, traffic flow, and neighborhood economies—which are available, by the way, on the BAC’s Google Drive page here, something none fo the official persons in attendance seemed to remember.
Of course your correspondent butted in regularly with both complaints and suggestions.
And during the course of all this maundering, one woman sat quietly near the back of the room watching it all.
At one point she was finally introduced to the table as Seleta Reynolds, brand-new chief of the LADOT.
I’ve been going to BPIT meetings since their inception four years ago, and I have missed only one or two. I can’t remember ever having seen an LADOT General Manager in attendance before. And given Ms. Reynolds’ record in her previous posts, why…it’s enough to give one hope for this great gray city.