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 The street was unusually quiet, the normal rumble of motor traffic had been replaced by the sound of drums, marching bands, trumpets, announcers, kazoos, circuit-bent electronic toys, amplified holiday music, cheering and bike bells, all curtesy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.