Backsliding

Rumor has it that the Beverly Hills city council stood against bike lanes on the city’s rebuild of Santa Monica Boulevard next year, going, apparently, by the usual “gut feelings,” ie, invented reality, that has guided so many of its decisions of late. There’s probably still a chance, but it is more likely that the street will become a slightly decorative speedway designed to sluice cars through Botox Central at the usual murderous speeds that kill not only residents but their neighborhoods and businesses as well. We’ll see what develops in the next few weeks….

Meanwhile, back in LA, the Marathon Crash Race has been cancelled after city officials threatened organizer Roadblock with arrest if it went on. This “race’ actually used to be an official part of the event—I went on it myself, riding with my neighbor, some fifteen years ago, when it was somewhat ironically sponsored by the Acura car company.

After Lord Baron McCourt, new owner of the LA Marathon and apparently looking for someone fresh to bully now that he’s lost the Dodgers, cancelled the pre-dawn bike ride, Wolfpack Hustle ran it as an alleycat, which became a city-sanctioned event for a couple of years. But now, with our new allegedly “bike friendly” mayor, Eric Garcetti, and his krew in place, LA has become noticeably colder towards cyclists, as events surrounding the Glendale Hyperion Bridge, MyFigueroa, the Spring Street green bike lane, the North Figueroa bike lanes, and others attest.

The list gets longer day by day. It looks as though LA is going to backslide, like a drunk who tells himself that just a taste can’t possibly hurt after a few heady months of sobriety….

So it’s no time to slump into complacency. The fact is, that supporting bikes supports healthy communities, healthy residents, and a healthy economy, and that building for cars holds back almost every aspect of life and business in the entire city.

Let’s start by making sure that civic “leaders” know that when they vote for cars, they vote for poverty, sickness, high taxes, and crime, by showing them the numbers in studies that are widely available now, and which we should be emailing to council offices and quoting at public meetings at every opportunity. You can find a lot of these at this link, and most of them aren’t even the tedious reading you might expect.

But more than that, we’ve got to start thinking about running our own pro-bike, pro-small-business, pro-neighborhood candidates for every city office that comes up. Start thinking about people you know who could run, win, and then actually work within the system to help move LA forward. Let’s start small, with neighborhood councils, many of whom held elections just this week. Here’s the city’s Neighborhood Empowerment website; find your council and start going to meetings.

On your bike!

LA is backsliding and really needs your help….

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