Contrasts In Climate

Father and daughter ride in the buffered bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock on Saturday, February 22, 2014.

Father and daughter ride in the buffered bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock on Saturday, February 22, 2014.

Northeast Los Angeles made great strides with the 2010 Los Angeles Bike Plan last year. Bike lanes were installed on Cypress Avenue, Eagle Rock Boulevard, and Colorado Boulevard. More and more, people are discovering the new bike lanes and coming out to ride the avenues of NELA.  But the contrasts between Councilman, José Huizar’s CD14 side of NELA and Councilman, Gilbert Cedillo’s CD1 side cannot be more stressed than in these two photos taken almost exactly one week apart. The first one shows a father and daughter riding up Eagle Rock’s Colorado Boulevard in the new buffered bike lane, while the second photo shows a father and son riding on the sidewalk along Figueroa in Highland Park during a rainstorm.  One family is embraced, while the other is marginalized.

As People For Bikes, and Minneapolis’ Bikeways for Everyone reminds us, Every person biking on a sidewalk is really just casting a vote for a protected bike lane. That, wherever there are lots of people riding on sidewalks, there is a need for bike infrastructure such as bike lanes and bikeways. So even though you come out against bike lanes on Figueroa, your actions speak louder than words.

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Father and son ride the sidewalks of Figueroa in Highland Park during a rainstorm on Saturday, March 1, 2014.

NELA CRITICAL MASS

NELA Critical Mass Flyer PDF

So it has come to this: After a long hiatus, the monthly NELA Critical Mass will be re-born this Friday, January 31 2014, in order to bring bike lanes and traffic-calming measures to North Figueroa Street in Northeast Los Angeles.  The world-wide Critical Mass bike ride has always been about celebrating the bicycle as a meaningful transportation alternative and demanding the space it rightfully deserves on the roadway. What better inspiration do we have, than demanding the promised bike lanes on Figueroa?

The ride will meet at 7PM outside the Gil Cedillo Council District 1 Field Office located at 5577 North Figueroa Street in Highland Park, and roll-out around 7:30PM. Bring your bike, bike lights and a positive attitude. See you there and every Last Friday of The Month until change has come to Figueroa.

NELA CRITICAL MASS FLYER

Lost In The Desert of CD1

Have you seen me? If so, ask where the Figueroa Bike Lanes are.

Have you seen me? If so, ask where the Figueroa Bike Lanes are.

Hey, look, the year is now 2014 and there are no bike lanes on North Figueroa. There are buffered bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock, bike lanes on all of Eagle Rock Boulevard, bike lanes on York Boulevard, bike lanes on Avenue 66, Via Marisol, Cypress Avenue, Avenue 28, Avenue 19, Avenue 18, and Griffin Ave. There are bike lanes on the freeway cut-thru streets Huntington Drive and Mission Road.  In very busy downtown Los Angeles, there are buffered bike lanes on Spring Street, Main Street, Olive Street, Grand Avenue, and now the 2nd Street Tunnel. There are now bike lanes on 1st Street, 7th Street, 11th Street, Adams Boulevard, Jefferson Boulevard, Exposition Boulevard, Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake Boulevard, Griffith Park Boulevard, Rowena Avenue, Mayra Avenue, and now Virgil Avenue all have bike lanes. With over 167 miles of bike lanes installed since the 2010 Bike Plan, LADOT continues to fill its mission to complete the 2010 LADOT Bike Plan at great speed within the five-year plan to install 200 miles. Just this past week, LADOT announced their Priority Year 2 List of Planned Bikeways with 40 additional miles of bike lanes to be implemented in the City of Los Angeles for 2014. Noticeably absent is North Figueroa as well as 99.98% of Council District 1. (Less 1.1 miles on Hoover Street  between Venice Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard.)

The plans have been finalized, the funding has been earmarked, the resources are ready to go, and yet the striping truck housed just off Figueroa on Avenue 19, is being sent to other parts of the city because our current Council Member, Gil Cedillo lacks the leadership to get the job done. While Cedillo’s office motto is “Making The First District #1.” CD1 is getting left behind the rest of the city in regards to contemporary road design.

The real mystery is as to why? Some have suggested, that it may be part of some petty grudge to diminish the accomplishments of Cedillo’s predecessor, Ed Reyes, who championed complete streets during his tenure. When talking with his staff, although this was a big issue locally in 2013, they act as though they have never heard about it. Perhaps it is as simple as Cedillo avoiding the controversy all together. Maybe he is hoping that we who dare to walk and bike around Figueroa will simply go-away or maybe even be run-over and killed. Who knows? He has said nothing regarding this situation.

But we are not going away. In fact, we are growing in numbers and our fight has just begun.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
–Mahatma Gandhi

Like Pete Seeger’s Teaspoon Brigade we will collectively take the sand of our desert and keep pouring it upon the scales of justice until they tip into our favor. Let us remind Cedillo that he serves all of us. That being a leader, means making the right choices, even when they are controversial. That every study ever done, shows that when road diets are applied to streets, the streets become SAFER for all users. That every day Figueroa is allowed to exist as-is, it is another day for potential tragedy. We have the road engineering know-how and resources to make Figueroa a better street for all. Let us work toward making this a reality.

Please call Gil Cedillo’s office at:

(213) 473-7001   City Hall
(323) 550-1538  Highland Park Field Office
(323) 341-5671   Glassell Park Field Office

Please email Gil Cedillo at:

Please email his staff at:
Arturo.Chavez@lacity.org        Arturo Chavez, Chief of Staff
Gerald.Gubatan@lacity.org     Gelrald Cubatan, Senior Planning Deputy
Fredy.Ceja@lacity.org              Fredy Ceja, Communications Deputy
Sergio.Infanzon@lacity.org     Sergio Infanzon, Planning Deputy
Conrado.Terrazas@lacity.org  Conrado Terrazas, District Director
Melinda.Alatorre@lacity.org    Melinda Alatorre, Highland Park Field Deputy

Please send him a letter:
Council Member Gilbert Cedillo
200 North Spring Street, Room 470
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Council Member Gilbert Cedillo
Highland Park Field Office
5577 North Figueroa
Highland Park, CA 90042

LACBC has a great example letter on the petition page for the Ride Figueroa campaign.

Hopefully with your help dear reader, we can nudge our Council Member into consciousness. Until then, it looks like 2014 will be a long year of dodging cars on Figueroa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Holidays From Fig4All

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The weather was warm on the first day of December. By One O’Clock in the afternoon it was a bright and sunny 81° on North Figueroa. The street was unusually quiet, the normal rumble of motor traffic had been replaced by the sound of drums, marching bands, trumpets, announcers, kazoos, circuit-bent electronic toys, amplified holiday music, cheering and bike bells, all curtesy of the 69th Annual Northeast Los Angeles Parade.

Santa road a Nihola bike, Aktive from MOM Ridaz gave rides to Mount Washington moms in Flying Pigeon LA’s pedicab, Charlie did bicycle parkour, the Eastside Bike Club road their four-person party bike, families donned “FIG4ALL” suffragist-style sashes, kids and adults alike did a non-stop “Holiday Circle of Death” down Figueroa. It was a fun way to end a victorious and frustrating year for safer streets in Northeast Los Angeles.

Cypress Avenue, Monterey Road, Via Marisol, Eagle Rock Boulevard, and Colorado Boulevard all had bike lanes installed over the past year. In downtown LA, on some of the heaviest-traveled streets in the city, road diets were initiated. This year saw the largest implementation of the 2010 LA Bike Plan yet. Meanwhile, North Figueroa continues to languish behind, with only a promise of bike lanes and road dieting to hold on to. To add insult to the actual injuries suffered by pedestrians and cyclists by drivers on Figueroa, word from our new City Council Member Gil Cedillo’s office is that even more bike lane meeting like the ones we had this year will be held again next year. The question at this point is wether we politely wait for leadership from Garcetti, Huizar and Cedillo, or do we get more militant and re-initiate the monthly NELA Critical Mass rides and start doing London-style Die-Ins?

So Happy Holidays and keep walking, running, riding, and rolling into the New Year. It has to get better. If it does, next year we will bring figs.

Build It And We Will Ride

RideColorado

What do you do when a city gives you a bike lane? You ride it, obviously!

Join Los Angeles City Council Member Jose Huizar, Take Back the Boulevard, Los Angeles Department of Transportation Bike Program, the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, Safe Moves, and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to celebrate the sparkling new Colorado Blvd Bike Lanes this Saturday, October 26th from 9:30am to 1:30pm at Eagle Rock City Hall on the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Maywood Avenue.

There will be a Kid’s Bike Rodeo, a 5 MILE Bike Lane Ride, a Family Ride AND a Free Raffle!

Ride Colorado

Eagle Rock City Hall

2035 Colorado Blvd

Eagle Rock, CA 90041

Saturday, October 26, 2013

9:30AM – 1PM

New Day In Eagle Rock

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LADOT replaces Bike Route signs from 1983 with freshly printed Bike Lanes signs in Eagle Rock.

After twenty years of efforts to return Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock its original design as a more people-centric, instead of car-centric place, things are finally starting happen. After decades of Colorado being treated by drivers as a freeway, after countless car crashes, and scores of needless deaths, Colorado Blvd is at last receiving much-needed safety measures. This past week, LADOT started what is the equivalent of stomach bypass surgery to the slanted six lane drag strip that is (soon to be was) Colorado Blvd. The much needed road diet has begun.

Grinding out old multimodal lanes to make room for bike lanes on Colorado.

Grinding out old multimodal lanes to make room for new bike lanes on Colorado.

Championed by Los Angeles Council District 14 Councilmember Jose Huizar, the traffic-calming measures on Colorado Blvd have come about after much community input and design research. Part of the design is not just a road diet where the six multimodal lanes are reduced from six to four, but also the addition of a bike lane as part of the 2010 Los Angeles Bike Plan, two new crosswalks at key locations, a pedestrian beacon near Colombo’s on Hermosa Ave, “Your Speed” radar signs, added crosswalk islands, traffic signs, and 60 new bike racks.

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New bike racks outside Trade Joe’s, Eagle Rock.

 

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New “Your Speed Is” feedback radar sign.

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New crosswalk near completion at El Rio Avenue.

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Buffered gutter lane.

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New bike sign at the 134 Freeway offramp.

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There may be a learning curve for drivers not used to change.

 

Saturday, September 29th from 2PM to 5PM, Council District 14, along with Take Back The Boulevard are hosting a Launch Party that will feature long-term vision plans that build upon these efforts for improving Colorado Blvd at Center For the Arts, Eagle Rock. Be there!

Arroyo Seco Via

arroyorideflyer

Saturday, September 28th at 8AM, the Arroyo Seco Foundation is organizing a group bike ride and run that they are calling Arroyo Seco Via. The bike ride starts at Hahamongna Watershed Park, and the run starts at Garfield Park in South Pasadena, then progresses along the Arroyo Seco and LA River to the LA River Rally at Marsh Park in Elysian Valley. The run and ride are to promote a car-free dedicated route between the San Gabriel Valley and downtown Los Angeles along with the potentiality of a restored, enhanced Arroyo Seco and Los Angles River.

Registration is $40 pre-sale, $50 day-of. Helmets for cyclists required.