The effort to bring bike lanes to North East Los Angeles’ streets began in earnest during the planning phases of the 201o Bike Plan for the City of Los Angeles.
The 2010 Bike Plan started on the wrong foot, with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) hoping to avoid putting the plan through an environmental review (EIR) process. In order to avoid doing an EIR the LADOT had the consultants hired to write the plan (Alta Planning and Design) convert any proposed bike lanes that would impact car travel times be designated “planned but infeasible”.
The bike community in Los Angeles coalesced to oppose this initial version of the plan. Most notably, the independent citizen-formed and led Los Angeles Bike Working Group held its own community planning meetings, charettes, and forums going so far as to copy the web code of the official city bike plan web-site to produce their own more robust and critical official-looking web-site.
On November 4, 2009 Councilman Ed Reyes held a special community forum with representatives from the LADOT and other city agencies to address the total over-looking of North East Los Angeles in the bike plan.
November 4, 2009 LA Bike Plan Meeting – 1st Edit from Arthur Schlenger on Vimeo.
Over a two year period North Figueroa and other major streets in North East Los Angeles were taken off the “planned but infeasible” list (which was done away with entirely) and moved onto the list of top priority “backbone bike network” lanes (the Backbone Bike Network was a product of the Los Angeles Bike Working Group’s efforts).
A more robust and fully thought out 2010 Bike Plan soon received full political support from not just Councilman Ed Reyes but from across the city from Councilmembers Bill Rosendahl, Jose Huizar, Eric Garcetti, Jan Perry and others, as well as the support of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
After the plan was approved the first series of “backbone bike network” lanes were put through a packaged EIR process that neared completion at the beginning of 2013.
State law was changed in September of 2012 with the passing of AB2245 making bike lanes exempt from EIR’s – but the City of Los Angeles continued with its now out-dated EIR process for the first package of “backbone bike network” bike lanes.
Bringing us to the present day, the city’s Draft-EIR is heading for approval by the full city council and bike lanes across the city are set to be installed on major boulevards.