The Dogs Bark

Across the continent, cities of all sizes and characters are moving ahead with “Complete Streets” and bike lane projects, sometimes rudimentary, sometimes quite advanced. Here’s a short list culled from my own Tweets of the last few days:

I had to reach back a whole six days just to skim those entries from my Twitter feed.

And our own Los Angeles?

The last night I sat in on the regular meeting of the Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee, which couldn’t even muster up a quorum, and so could not actually vote on any actions. We did, however, all did hear a litany of woes recited by LADOT’s long-suffering Senior Bicycle coordinator, Michelle Mowery: staffers leaving or transferred and not replaced, organizational malaise among even the usually stolid engineering staff in the face of reactionary politicians, and the very real prospect of losing Highway Safety Improvement Project funds as safety changes such as the North Figueroa road diet are stalled by the knuckle-draggers and reach their deadlines without groundbreakings—a situation that may disqualify the entire city from applying for HSIP funding going forward. The Federal Highway Administration, as you should know, promotes road diets as a “Proven Safety Countermeasure,” though NELA’s unrepresentative Cedillo knows better; he listens instead to his “gut feelings,” or maybe to the outside interests that support him.

Nevertheless, LA is slowly moving on. Ms. Mowery announced that, because of the complications our muddled politicos introduce, LADOT’s Bikeways is going to fund future projects with local money, which would allow more flexible timelines. We won’t get ahead as fast as we could have, and will continue to lag behind not only other major cities but even small towns, but we will make progress as we slog our way past the special interests that own our council members.

There is a saying from Arab culture that I think applies here:

The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.

In this case the dogs have nipped at the camels’ heels and slowed them down, but the caravan will still move on.

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