Your Fate Is in Their Hands

Your fate is in their hands…at least it is if you ride Sixth Street in the Miracle Mile. I do, nearly every day, and so I had a natural interest in tonight’s “town hall” exploring options for one of the more crash-prone streets in LA. If you follow me at all, you know this is a subject I follow closely.

And since I was just elected to the board of the Mid-city West Community Council, I suppose I have a civic responsibility to attend such meetings. Especially since the board, chaired by Scott Epstein, called this meeting.

The two gentlemen in the Spheerisoidal photo above are Tin Frémaux of the LADOT, and David Somers of City Planning, and they were there to answer questions from the stakeholders who attended. In the past, such meetings seemed almost to draw people holding actual stakes, which they were poised to drive through the heart of any progressive traffic plan anywhere in LA—as well as through the hearts of the messengers. So I went to this meeting feeling almost as much foreboding as must have weighed down Messieurs Frémaux and Somers. In addition, Sarah Dusseault, CD4 Council Member David Ryu’s Chief of Staff, would be in attendance—and the council member has recently shown himself rather indifferent to street safety plans that might compromise driving speeds.

However, the evening did not turn into the typical NIMBY rage-fest. Not even when Frémaux bravely, if with trepidation, proceeded to explain the details and ramifications of the long-proposed (and long-delayed) road diet for Sixth.

The vast majority of attendees favored traffic calming on Sixth through the Miracle Mile, and even seemed gladly accepting of the bike lanes that would accompany it. (Frémaux was quick to explain that the bike lanes were only an extra added attraction that the road diet made possible, but not by any means its prime motivation, oh no!)

In fact, audience members asked for more bike lanes than proposed, and for an extension of the road diet ot the part of Sixth east of La Brea. And for narrower lanes if possible!

And many, many neighbors spoke of how they wouldn’t let their children walk the sidewalks along Sixth street, while not a few admitted that they themselves were scared to use the street.

In other words, it was actually a community meeting about street design that didn’t leave me feeling like I’d just awakened into a dark Russian novel.

Amazing how a corpse or two, piles of broken glass and twisted sheet metal in the gutters every other block, and an inordinate number of cars flying over the sidewalks and into buildings, can open one’s eyes to the real cost of fast driving. (And I am not exaggerating in the first half of that sentence.)

Is LA growing up, at long last? I can hardly believe it myself. But it was a good meeting, and I am proud of my neighbors.

Miracle Mile will finally deserve its name if this keeps up.

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