Hancock Park Strikes Back!

Well, an interesting local variant of bikelash is building up in the mansion-shaded lanes of Hancock Park, where a tiny coterie of the terminally unimaginative has found itself to be trembling in fear over the thought that LADOT might put bike and pedestrian crossing signals at 4th and Rossmore and 4th and Highland–two crossing that many cyclists and walkers find rather daunting.

So, they have decided to try and block the bike boulevard.

Their justification is that they think the signals would increase cut-through car traffic. And, as far as the original concept of a regular red-light/green-light intersection went, they might be right.

But yours truly called a meeting with LADOT and talked them into the active crosswalk concept–where the signals would be activated by cyclists or walkers, not automatically by the presence of cars. (At least I think I did!)

And HP’s rhinestone cowboys acknowledge this on their petition.

Yes, they have a petition! They’ve described the project (and you and me, dear fellow cyclists) in rather pejorative terms, then asked people to vote on it–meaning (wink wink) vote against.

But 4th Street is a public road, paid for by everyone’s taxes, and cyclists are stakeholders in 4th Street as much as Range Rover pilots.

The bicycle boulevard would make their own streets calmer, by encouraging slow, quiet bikes over nasty, noisy cars. Despite fairly low motor traffic volumes, 4th has a high rate of car crashes, according to the LADOT. And evidence is mounting that the more bikes there are on a road, the fewer crashes you have of every type. We’d be doing them as much a favor as ourselves.

So here’s what you do: go to the petition now–and vote “FOR.” Vote for a standard traffic signal if that’s what you feel comfortable with, or for active crosswalks (option 3)–but then put a POLITE note in the comments letting them know that the presence of more cyclists on a street leads to natural traffic calming, quieter neighborhoods, and fewer wrecks in their front yards.

After all, they walk, they jog, they even ride bikes sometimes. I’ve seen them.

And, to judge by my informal counts, bikes make up half or more of the traffic on 4th already, at least during rush hour.

So click on over to Surveymonkey and vote. And comment. But nicely! We want them to keep the survey up so lots of us can vote and comment, right?

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