As everyone in NELA who has been awake from the last few years knows, there is a reactionary cabal that has been struggling to keep HIghland Park a sort of preserve for leadfoot drivers—the sort who have been killing and maiming residents on Figueroa Street for years, andwho lately have been accelerating the pace of the bloodshed. Now the car addicts have started a petition on change.org asking CD14 representative José Huizar to remove the bike lanes from York Boulevard. (Note: Sign the counter-petition here.)
They employ what you might call discredited arguments, but which are really just plain lies: that the bike lanes have caused a loss of business (the empty storefronts that existed before bike lanes are now largely occupied, and older businesses such as Huarache Azteca have invested in sprucing up their façades); that “most important,” they slow down emergency response (they don’t; and that they cause traffic backups. What they don’t mention is that collisions of all sorts dropped dramatically thanks to the street’s road diet, which later added bike lanes without reducing mixed traffic lanes further. As for the other intuitive assertions, this UCLA study on the York road diet itself should set your mind at rest. Its conclusions were based on actual data actually gathered on the actual York Boulevard. Not on “gut feelings.”
And what causes traffic backups is too many cars, which are drawn to a street when it has too much lane space. Cars cause congestion; building more lanes makes more room for more cars to cause more congestion. Don’t take my word for it: listen to CalTrans, which now admits that More Roads Mean More Traffic.
In fact, it should be obvious even to the Neanderthals that we have been buildng more and more roads and lanes for eighty years, and traffic has only gotten steadily worse.
So I offer a compromise: for the next eighty years, let’s build nothing but bike lanes and transit lines, and see what happens.
Who knows? We might end up like Denmark, which currently holds the Number 1 spot on Forbes Magazine’s list of best places to do business, as well as being home to the happiest population on this poor beleaguered planet.
All those bike lanes help….