More than the “Bike Guy”

The Joe4cd1 campaign has been pretty happy over getting a mention in the LA Times this week.

However, this is not unalloyed good new: the article’s editor felt compelled to pigeonhole our Joe as “an outspoken bicycle advocate.,” and his candidacy as a response to incumbent Cedillo’s having “angered bicycling proponents by canceling plans for bike lanes in his district.”

This plays right into Cedillo’s claim that Joe represents a (mythical) entitled minority who just want to play with their grown-up toys on NELA’s streets.

This is simply not true. Although bikeways are definitely a significant plank in Joe’s platform, they are really an enabling technology for neighborhood transformation, along with many other proposals: better sidewalks, rational parking requirements for new construction, encouragement of human-scale developments. These, along with slower, safer streets, nurture the kinds of locally-owned small businesses that cater to neighborhood tastes, rather than try to reshape them to corporate convenience. Businesses that provide more and better-paying retail and service jobs than the retail behemoths typically bring in.

The campaign’s slogan isn’t “Bike Lanes Everywhere.” The slogan is “Safe Streets, Strong Neighborhoods.”

Streetscape changes supportive of active travel, transit, and a busy public life on the sidewalks of the Figueroa Corridor mean a physically, socially, and financially healthier neighborhood. Bike lanes have long been shown to be a tool that both slows down deadly traffic and promotes a lively mixing of the public and private realms in our common spaces. Besides letting neighbors get to local stores without being coerced into the material encumbrances of cars.

In other words, Joe Bray-Ali isn’t the “bike guy.” He’s the “community guy.”

Don’t forget that. Not when you vote, not when you talk with neighbors. Joe’s here for you.

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