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 The street was unusually quiet, the normal rumble of motor traffic had been replaced by the sound of drums, marching bands, trumpets, announcers, kazoos, circuit-bent electronic toys, amplified holiday music, cheering and bike bells, all curtesy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

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BOOM

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Today it was announced to stakeholders via email from David Somers of the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, that the installation of the bicycle lanes on Colorado Blvd and North Figueroa could begin in early Summer!

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The 50 page Department of City Planning Recommendation Report for Northeast Los Angeles, dated May 24, 2013 is a juicy tome of research and urban planning that focuses on our immediate community. The document covers the Environmental Impact Report, the OFFICIAL Public Hearing held at the LA River Center on February 13, 2013, the responses to each given concern, Traffic and Safety Assessments of the affected streets, Mitigation Measures, data tables, and traffic lane configurations. It is a very thorough document that manages to articulate and examine the plethora of concerns thrown at them by the opposition.

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LADOT Approval from General Manager, Jaime de la Vega.

Today, Los Angeles Department of Transportation General Manager, Jamie de la Vega approved the Los Angeles Department of City Planning’s recommendation. On June 14th, The Determination becomes final.

So what are we getting?

“8.1 miles of new bicycle lanes (including 5.1 miles of a combination of standard and buffered bicycle lanes along N. Figueroa Street from San Fernando Road to Colorado Boulevard and 3 miles of a combination of standard and buffered bicycle lanes along Colorado Boulevard from Glendale City limit (200’ east of Lincoln Avenue) to Avenue 64)”

When are we getting it? As early as next month. (Possibly before District 1 Councilmember, Ed Reyes leaves office on July 1???)

This is victory. This is victory for the women, men and children who want to ride their bikes around their communities of Northeast Los Angeles. This is victory for people of Greater Los Angeles who commute by bicycle and use Colorado Blvd and Figueroa Street nearly every day. A victory for the so-called “Outside Interests” who want to ride to our neighborhoods and see a movie at the Highland Theatre, or buy a coffee at Swork, or a soda pop at Galcos, or a taco at La Estrella. This is a victory for safer streets, where slower speeds will save lives and help prevent collisions between everyone who uses the road. This is a victory for the residents of Figueroa Street north of York Boulevard who will gain parking space, and driveway access with the removal of a southbound lane. This is a victory for Northeast Los Angeles, who all-too-often gets left behind when it comes to infrastructure and services. This time, in this instance, despite those who would have us maintain the status quo and instead implement sub-standard road designs, Northeast LA will be on par with the best neighborhoods of Los Angeles, on par with the cities of Santa Monica, Glendale, South Pasadena, Long Beach, and an ever-growing number of places that understand BIKES BELONG.

UPDATE 5.31.13: Despite all indications otherwise, according to Josef Bray-Ali, who was contacted by LADOT, the bike lanes are not a done deal and yesterday’s notification is merely a formality. Furthermore, public comment is still being accepted. So hold off sending those bouquets of roses to your favorite city officials, and attend the 289th public bike lane forum scheduled for 7PM, Monday at Center For The Arts, Eagle Rock. That said, yesterday’s news is still very good news, and every indication points to the bike lanes becoming a reality, and that reality will not be achieved until the paint hits the ground.