Meeting Needs

It’s been a busy week for bike lane advocates in NELA, as locals scurry to repeated meetings with neighborhood councils and others over proposals to put bike lanes on Figueroa and Colorado.

As I’ve pointed out in earlier posts, the anti-bikes crowd has been loud, well-organized, and a distinct minority at these gatherings, and that was borne out again at last night’s hearing before the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council. Pigeon Master Josef’s diligent live Tweeting of the event revealed an even bigger pro-bike-lane contingent than at the recent meeting local Council Member José Huizar called at Occidental College last Wednesday, when comments (both written and spoken) favored bike lanes by 3 to 1.

Latest word is that the Eagle Rock NC voted 12-0, with one abstention, to support buffered bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard. In response to overwhelming community support.

One pseudo-argument that opponents always bring up is that “no one uses the bike lanes and bike corral,” so in support of that position, I present to you a photo I took in the dreary middle of the day last Tuesday, of the bike corral in front of Café de Leche busily “not being used”:

PHoto of bikes at Cafe de Leche bike corralPresumably the bikes parachuted in, so that they could “not use” the York bike lanes either.

Another pseudo-argument is that bike lanes will “kill business”—though somehow they have failed to do that anywhere they’ve been installed, from New York to Santa Monica. Even the staid and suspicious Wall Street Journal has had to admit that bike lanes boost receipts of local businesses.

And then there’s the claim that bike lanes would somehow hinder the passage of emergency vehicles. But…think about it: emergency vehicles could use the bike lanes when cars block all the regular lanes! After all, cyclists, on hearing the sirens, could just go up on the sidewalk, while clumsy cars simply sit in the way, as they do near my place on Wilshire (entirely free of bike lanes), where they often…block emergency vehicles.

So the arguments against bike lanes seem both false and hateful. The basic premise appears to be that streets should be freeways, and local residents and businesses be damned.

That’s no way to build a good life and a prosperous neighborhood.

Anyway, there are still more meetings to endure before we can begin making a community out of a random tangle of asphalt. If you live, work, shop, or own property in Highland Park, don’t miss the next one:

Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council
Thursday, April 4, 2013, 7 p.m.
Highland Park Adult Senior Citizen Center
6152 N Figueroa St Los Angeles, CA 90042 [map]
(Facebook Event for HHPNC meeting on 4/4/2013)

Be there, be polite, and let them know that bike lanes are good for everyone, even those who never throw a leg over a top tube.

We’re nearly there.

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