Yay, Another Meeting

asnc meeting

So, remember last month on May 16th when proponents and opponents of the North Figueroa Street Bike Lanes gathered at the Montecito Heights Senior Citizens Center to hear, question, and give comment on the Bike Lane Presentation for the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council given by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and the Department of City Planning? Well that was for the ASNC’s Montecito Heights Local Issues Committee, tonight is the meeting for the Sycamore Grove Local Issues Committee; where it will look almost identical to last month’s meeting, except with more emphasis on the Opposition’s “Alternative Bike Plan.”

Bike Lane non-friend, Ann Walnum and the Opposition's "Alternative Figueroa Bike Plan." as drawn on a map from the now defunct, Thomas Brothers Map Co.

Bike Lane non-friend, Ann Walnum and the Opposition’s “Alternative Figueroa Bike Plan.” as drawn on a map from the now defunct, Thomas Brothers Map Co.

This Alternative Bike Plan is probably the most amusing document seen in the Los Angeles bike lane debate. It was designed by Highland Parker, Charles J. Fisher who is a well-regarded historian, (and known for his twice-weekly walks to move the 18 cars he parks on Avenue 57.) Fisher created this Alternative Route that works to maintain the historic marginalization of bicyclists in Los Angeles.

First and foremost: Fisher, nor any of the other leading opponents to bike lanes are engineers or city planners. As to why this document would be considered by any neighborhood council is beyond logic. The map shows his zig-zag route that would take cyclists away from business districts (the opposition thinks people only ride bicycles for recreation, not for shopping or getting anywhere). At one point, his route would force cyclists to ride into oncoming traffic, at another a $350,000 traffic signal would have to be installed. (Remember, this Right-wing-leaning group of opponents are outraged that the cost of re-striping lanes is estimated at $50,000 a mile.) On the map they show schools, the majority of which are not accommodated by this route. Also on the map they identify “Problem Intersections,” the definition of which one can only assume is the one’s where they are forced to yield to other users of the roadway.

The 2010 Los Angeles Bike Plan was crafted by professionals and the public at planning and implementation forums. After hearings by the full City Council it was finally approved years ago. This was totally a public process. Yet, one man draws lines on a map without any expertise or supporting data and is expected to be taken seriously.

Be there tonight to mock this plan, or better yet, speak-out against those who would prefer to keep Figueroa Street an unsafe street where pedestrians and cyclists are at the mercy of drivers who insist on driving as fast as they can without regard to their fellow road user. Be there to remind the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council about Erick Borboa, a pedestrian who was killed by a speeding driver just outside the meeting place in Sycamore Grove Park, exactly six months ago this night.

30 year-old Figueroa Street pedestrian, Erick Borboa, killed on December 12, 2012 by this speeding truck.

30 year-old Figueroa Street pedestrian, Erick Borboa, killed on December 12, 2012 by this speeding truck.

ARROYO SECO NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL (ASNC) SYCAMORE GROVE LOCAL ISSUES COMMITTEE
SPECIAL MEETING
Ramona Hall Community Center
4580 N. Figueroa Street, L.A. 90065
Tuesday June 11, 2013 6-8:15PM
(Metro Gold Line, Southwest Museum Station; Metro Bus Line 81)

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Bike Lanes Are No Problem For LAFD

Cyclists ride by Highland Park's Los Angeles Fire Department No. 12 on Figueroa.

Cyclists ride by Highland Park’s Los Angeles Fire Department No. 12 on Figueroa.

A popular complaint from the Bike Lane Opposition is that First Responders will be hampered by stripes in the roadway used to create bike lanes.  This claim has been championed by Highland Park resident and bike lane opponent, Hart D. Fisher who makes it a point to shout at the Neighborhood Council meetings that, “LAFD No. 12 is opposed to bike lanes on Figueroa Street.”  While such claims always seemed dubious, the Eagle Rock Patch  now confirms that in fact, “The Los Angeles Fire Department has ‘no concerns’ about the transformation of auto traffic lanes to bicycle passageways.”

According to the article, Tim Fremaux, from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, has been in contact with LAFD’s Captain Luke Milick, who oversees LAFD’s Hydrant and Access Unit. Captain Milick is responsible with making sure that fire apparatuses are not impaired with access on roadways due to construction or obstruction. (E.g., Prohibiting parking of cars on narrow Mount Washington roads during Red Flag Alerts.)  To quote directly from Patch:

“’Captain Milick has no concerns associated with re-striping of roadways to include bike lanes, regardless of whether these projects involve removing traffic lanes,’ Fremaux wrote in his e-mail.”

And why would they be concerned?  The well-trained personnel of the Los Angeles Fire Department know how to navigate across road stripes and around traffic.  If anything, the bike lanes will add more space for First Responders to navigate.  In emergencies, cyclists are especially capable of getting off the street and onto the sidewalk, while drivers can pull over into the bike lanes to free up space for emergency vehicles to use.  The important thing is that we all remember to Pull To The Right.