What does it cost Gil Cedillo to delay and “study” the North Figueroa Street bike lanes and road diet? So far, it’s only cost him some bad press in the LA blogosphere.
What does Gil Cedillo’s stalling mean for the people living in his council district?
If you’re the daughter of the man pictured above it cost you the use of your legs, it cost your dad his job since he stays home to care for you, and it cost you 1 1/2 years of school.
The man pictured above is Jose Arias and 1 1/2 years ago he was driving his car, loaded with his kids, and was plowed into by a hit-and-run driver. He had to be flown out with his kids to the hospital. His youngest daughter has undergone multiple surgeries to gain back the use of her legs and repair the damage done to her young body.
The LAPD were able to identify the hit-and-run driver but have decided not to pursue charges.
Since Mr. Arias’ crash he has documented four more crashes at the access points to the Food 4 Less on North Figueroa Street. In fact, the conflict with 35mph+ car traffic mixed with pedestrians crossing the streets and the flow of cars in and out of the Food 4 Less parking lot was identified in the Figueroa Street Improvement Project over a decade ago:
Crosswalks and Public Saefty
- The survey found that traffic volume along Figueroa Street has increased in the last few years. Traffic comes quickly on and off the Arroyo Seco Parkway, however, often treating the Figueroa corridor as a drive-through area instead of as a viable place for shopping. Merchants commented that some Figueroa Street crosswalks are dangerous to cross due to speeding traffic, especially the crosswalk at Avenue 55 across from the Food for Less. An additional traffic light at this crosswalk would greatly help to improve public safety here. Merchants would like to see crosswalks repaired and added by the city to make it safer for their customers to shop on Figueroa Street.”
Suppose Councilman Cedillo moves into action and corrects the gross mismatch between the walkable character of the community along N. Figueroa St. and the highway-style road design the street has been saddled with; supposing he addresses excessive auto speeds (between red lights) and pedestrian access along the street: how will this little girl get to school in the morning?
The councilman has been hammered on this blog and at bike rallies and meetings we’ve hosted for not moving to install the legally approved and funded bike lanes. The problems our community faces with access on foot, on bike, and in wheelchairs to jobs, school, and other assets will not be solved on North Figueroa Street alone.
The street this girl has to travel on, Avenue 50, has been the scene of multiple crashes in the past 8 months – clearly something is going wrong with the way the road is designed.
The street this girl has to travel on lacks curb ramps at several intersections and ridiculously narrow sidewalks – narrowed through utility pole placement or through neglectful neighbors trash or foliage overgrowing onto the sidewalks.
Any plan to improve North Figueroa Street MUST include a budget to install curb ramps leading to all area schools. There must be amenity made for kids walking, or using a wheelchair, on sidewalks – parking or car access should be reduced or eliminated to improve pedestrian access in certain areas. Cedillo needs to work with local principals and the LAUSD board member in the area (one Bennet Kayser) to identify the areas around schools with the worst safety issues. An innovative approach in the San Fernando Valley had local council office staff handing out maps to classrooms of school kids and asking them to draw where the problem areas are on their walks to and from school. There is no shortage of low cost, workable, ideas when it comes to making local street safer for walking, riding a wheelchair, or bike to school.
What is lacking here is leadership.
The dilemma this young woman and her father face stares us all down: no justice for her attacker, no repairing the broken street paradigm on Figueroa, no safe access to school or local shops, and no meaningful response from Councilman Gil Cedillo’s office.
Figueroa For All really means that: a North Figueroa Street that is designed for everyone, balancing the interests of those in the $60,000 city owned sedan with the unemployed man home-caring for his crippled daughter.
You can contact Councilman Gil Cedillo here (and you can ask him for the following things):
By Phone (leave a voicemail!):
(213) 473-7001 City Hall
(323) 550-1538 Highland Park Field Office
(323) 341-5671 Glassell Park Field Office
Mail a Letter:
Council Member Gilbert Cedillo
200 North Spring Street, Room 470
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Council Member Gilbert Cedillo
Highland Park Field Office
5577 North Figueroa
Highland Park, CA 90042
Hit him up on El Twitter or La Facebook:
Okay, I have to get back to work now fixing bikes and ordering parts for customers.