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

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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.

 

Streetsblog Fundraiser

Los Angeles Bike Map as created at The Hammer Museum's Bike Night 2013.

Los Angeles map of NELA as created at The Hammer Museum’s Bike Night 2013.

TONIGHT is the annual L.A. Streetsblog Fundraiser at Flying Pigeon LA.

There will be cake, there will be ice-cream, there will be beer, there will be dancing, there will be bikes! (It is a bike shop after-all.) Of special interest to Fig4All is a bike tour that will highlight the history of North Figueroa street as a branch of the Pacific Electric Railroad, Route 66, and its future as part of the City of Los Angeles Bicycle Network.

Friday, June 14 for a ride and after party at 6 pm.

$10 Donation.

Flying Pigeon LA
3404 N. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90065

Moot

The Hart D. Fisher show. (Photo via FlyingPigeonLA)

The Hart D. Fisher show. (Photo via FlyingPigeonLA)

As expected, Tuesday evening’s Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council’s Sycamore Grove Local Issues Committee Special Meeting turned out to be a farce in every sense of the word. This special meeting was demanded by the very vocal bike lane Opposition. But as the old adage goes: “Give someone enough rope and they will hang themselves.”

The meeting was hosted by Sycamore Grove Chair, Sergio Vidal-Echeverria and Sycamore Grove representative, Joseph Riser. The two-hour event consisted of quick one minute general comments from local stakeholders (residents, business owners, students, shoppers, vested interests) who spoke in favor or against the LADOT Bike Plan for North Figueroa Street. The comments were vastly in favor of bike lanes on Figueroa for safety, traffic calming, traffic relief, commuting, health, recreation, pleasure, building community, and the children who live here.

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“A cyclist cut me off while driving my car, delaying me five seconds, and although I had a few beers, I was able to text my scorn about it…”

The second portion of the meeting was dedicated to giving Hart D. Fisher 15 minutes to rant against bike lanes. (Yes, the Sycamore Grove Local Issues Committee held this meeting at Fisher’s demand to show a 15 minutes video presentation against bike lanes.) The starved-for-fame, Fisher ironically did not get his entire 15 minutes of fame in this case. A good portion of his allotment was wasted by botching the video presentation. When he did get the video working it was just a re-hashing of the exact same tired and false claims that the opponents said during the comment period. (e.g., “The bike lanes will block emergency vehicles…” “The bike lanes will take away hundreds of parking spaces…”) Veteran ASNC member, Joe Riser mercifully cut Fisher short, explaining that he was misled to believe that this would be an alternative route presentation, not a editorialization of the Opposition’s viewpoint. The always volatile Fisher eventually had to be ejected from the room for violating California Penal Code § 403 (Disrupting a public meeting).

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The lonely 16 opposition voters. (Of particular interest: Lummis House director on the right didn’t vote against bike lanes this time, and poor anti-bike Jack Goldhammer seen in orange, does not seem to know what’s going on.)

After the Opposition’s fail-tastic portion died a quick and painful death, it was time for an actual real-life professional who is paid by us stakeholders to manage theses actual real-life city plans. David Somers from the City of Los Angeles Department of CITY PLANNING was kind enough to attend and answer a few questions. His portion was brief and without any LADOT staff in attendance, he could only speak about the bike plan from his department’s perspective. The most important take-away from Somers is that North Figueroa bike lanes could be installed by August. (That is a slight setback considering previous statements indicated a late June installation.)

At the end of the meeting, the Sycamore Grove Local Issues Committee took a show-of-hands poll that resulted in 41 In Favor of bike lanes on Figueroa, and 16 Against. This vote, the previous Montecito Heights vote, along with the letters, and online ASNC Bike Lane Survey will be presented to the full ASNC Board on June 24th.

The bike lane opposition is dwindling. Only 16 people voted against bike lanes, and this was supposed to be their meeting! At this point, there only seems to be three men dedicated to opposing safer streets and new bike lanes on Figueroa: Tom Topping, Publisher of the Blvd Sentinel, John Nese from Galco’s, and Hart D. Fisher from 911 N Avenue 57. Alternative Bike Plan map maker, Charles Fisher has not even attended the last two meetings. (Hope he is O.K.)

The North Figueroa bike lanes were approved with the city-wide 2010 Bike Plan that our elected City Council voted in favor of. Furthermore, the plan has been signed-off for installation this summer by LADOT General Manager, Jamie de la Vega and City Planning Director, Michael Logrande. These Neighborhood Council meetings are for all intents and purposes, just for the record and have very little bearing on the outcome. If anything, the Opposition has worked to undermine the validity of Neighborhood Empowerment by demanding endless hearings at the neighborhood council’s expense.

Come this August, with all likelihood, there will be buffered bike lanes on North Figueroa Street despite the fear-mongers efforts. It will be wonderful and look nothing like this.