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LOS ANGELES Monday, July 6th 2015 12:58

 OUR 4TH OF JULY DIFFERENCES

The Declaration of Independence Meant Something Different to America’s Not So Independent Slaves

Amy Goodman
WHO WE ARE-“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” asked Frederick Douglass (photo above) of the crowd gathered at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, NY, on July 5, 1852. “I answer,” he continued, “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which lie is the constant victim. To him,…

Trumping Trump: Shun the Donald, Boycott His Palos Verdes Golf Course

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-I believe that it's really Donald Trump's hair. I seem to be unique in this belief. It's nice to be unique in some way, but what bothers me is that I have also been nearly unique, until now, in arguing that Trump should be shunned and boycotted. But times change. It's been a traumatic week both for Donald Trump and for the…

LA’s Sidewalks: Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The City of Los Angeles is expected to spend $1.4 billion over the next 30 years to repair our sidewalks pursuant to a Settlement Agreement involving the Willits class action lawsuit that alleged that the City was not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. While the yet to be disclosed Settlement Agreement appears to…

Is It Really a Golden State or Is It Just One of Those Hollywood Illusions?

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-Is Los Angeles really part of a Golden State or is it a place to remember as you move to greener pastures? I pose this question following my recent visit to Chicago and other cities east of the Rockies. My travels to the east coast were part of my reserve LAPD duty. I was part of the group of LAPD Reserve Officers escorting the…

Want to Save The Bullet Train, Governor … Get Better Bullet Points!

Ken Alpern
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-George W. Bush had Iraq. Barack Obama has ObamaCare. And Jerry Brown has HIS bullet train. Not OUR bullet train, mind you, but HIS bullet train. And like Iraq, and like ObamaCare, the bullet train that was meant to help all of us, and which was promoted with great fanfare and wonderful intentions, has to survive the test of…

LA: Hit-and-Run Capital of the World May Be Getting an Alert System

Damien Newton
LA’S STREETS - After last week’s warning that CA Assemblymember Mike Gatto’s legislation to create a “Yellow Alert” system was imperiled by Senate Transportation and Housing Committee staff and the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) objections, there was a feeling of a looming showdown before today’s committee hearing. Assembly Bill 8 would create…

LA’s Citywide Sign Ordinance: By, For and Of Special Interests

Barbara Broide
IRATE PRIVATE CITIZEN’S OPEN LETTER-I write this letter not as a representative of my local homeowners association or neighborhood council, both of which have come out in support of the sign ordinance that limits new signage to sign districts in specified commercially zoned areas and who seek enforcement of and the issuance of citations to signs…

Now Is the Time For True Courage

Abby Zimet
FURTHER-Britanny 'Bree' Newsome - the filmmaker, organizer, activist and aspiring Super-Woman who memorably, determinedly climbed the flagpole at South Carolina's capitol to remove the Confederate flag - has spoken out for the first time about her feat, which she views "both as an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power…

When Did the American Civil War Really End and … Did Shenandoah Really Save the Whales?

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE - When did the American Civil War end? Could it really have been late June or early November of 1865? April 9, 1865 is the date widely accepted, and for good reason: it marked the surrender of General Lee’s army at Appomattox, Virginia. It was a foregone conclusion that other field commands would quickly follow suit. In fact, they did,…

 

  • Costco: Free Range Liars!

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS POLITICS-Eight years ago grocery retailer Costco (COST) pledged to transition out of using eggs from chickens in small cages to cage free…
  • 10 Things Over-Thinkers Are Tired Of Over-Thinking

    Lindsay Holmes
    WELLNESS-While writing this intro, I deleted the first paragraph approximately six times. My thoughts ranged from "Just get to the point already" to…
  • Can Procrastination Give You a Heart Attack?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-A study posted in the journal of behavioral medicine linked procrastination with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Specifically…



Thu Jul 16, 2015 @12:00AM
LA Equality Awards RSVP
Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth


Fail! Fail! Americans don’t know why we celebrate the 4th of July

Awwww! Tornado separates dog and owner … dog waits!

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Slick Tony’s Bike Share Charade

RETHINKING LA - In the midst of CicLAvia’s bike/ped euphoria, Mayor Villaraigosa stood up and announced his plans to bring a $16 million bike-share program to Los Angeles, prompting LA’s cycling community to swoon like Sally Fields at the Academy Awards.

“You like us, right now, you really like us!”
It’s hard to be critical of municipal transportation programming during CicLAvia, the high holy day of bike/ped activism, but now that the dust has settled, it’s reasonable to take a close look at Villaraigosa’s bike-share gift. It’s also reasonable to ask the tough questions.

Villaraigosa’s bike-share proposal consists of a partnership with Bike Nation that would place 4000 bicycles in 400 stations distributed in areas that include downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Westwood and the Westside. Bike Nation would not seek money from the City of LA and the contract giving them public advertising rights would last for ten years.

Sounds great!

But, why Bike Nation? Is it really necessary to leave the city in order to find qualified bike-share operators?

LA is already host to many bike-share operators and organizations qualified to participate in a bike-share program, if only they were given an opportunity to bid on a contract such as this.

In fact, if the Mayor really wanted to stir the local economy, he could have used this as an opportunity to create a network of businesses and co-ops that could work together to overcome two of the biggest obstacles in bike-share programming, maintenance issues and redistribution of bikes.

At first glance, it appears that the Mayor is completely unaware of the existing bike-share infrastructure in Los Angeles.

LA’s film studios are densely populated villages that are filled with bikes, some of them custom made for the production companies and the shows on the lot. The bikes come with a maintenance contract so that they can be stored, maintained, and accessed when needed.

Golly, it’s just like a Bike-Share program!

LA’s Universities are densely populated villages that are filled with bikes, some of them very inexpensive commuter bikes that students acquire for the duration of the semester. From UCLA’s Bike Library that allows students to rent to the bike shop next to USC that sells used bikes and agrees to buy them back, students and faculty have access to affordable bikes on a temporary to long-term basis.

Large companies with campus style facilities have a tremendous track record for encouraging cyclists, sometimes offering bike safety classes to complement the use of the loaner bikes that are distributed throughout the facility. These programs are often complemented with education and encouragement, resulting in organizations such as the Aerospace Cycling Club.

Again, it’s just like a Bike-Share program.

From Hollywood Blvd. to Griffith Park to the Westside to Topanga, there are bikes for rent, offered by individual companies that eke out an existence as individual operators, sometimes with a concession agreement, typically catering to niche audiences. They maintain the bikes, they offer advice on local destinations and attractions, and they typically carry helmets for cyclists.

From afar, it looks a bit like an informal bike-share program.

LA’s leading jobs generator is tourism and LA’s hotels have been in the bike-share business for a long time. Why? Because it works. Le Montrose in West Hollywood caters to tourists and locals alike with packages wrapped around local events and supported with a bike-share program that allows guests to enjoy the neighborhood on a bike.

For all practical purposes, it’s beginning to look like LA already has a bike-share program.

LA even has real estate set aside for bike-share programming, including two of Hollywood’s Metro stations. There are storefront spaces at the Hollywood & Western station and Hollywood & Vine station, set aside for bike-share programs but they are both still empty, years after the ribbon was cut. Why? Red tape for local operators.

Sounds like LA has the infrastructure for bike-share but no leadership willing to overcome Metro obstacles.

The City of LA entered into a contract with CBSDecaux several years ago, one that offered LA several choices in return for the street furniture contract. One of the choices was a bike-share program like the ones in Lyon and Marseille. LA passed on that opportunity and then went on to demonstrate the difficulty it has in administering oversight of street furniture contracts, prompting the question, “What makes Villaraigosa think LA is in a better oversight position with Bike Nation, a company with no track record of success in bike-share?”

Looks like LA has bike-share options that go back for years.

Bike-share companies have tried to engage local operators and hosts with their products, offering electric assist bikes, bikes with GPS units that prevent theft, and bikes with wayfinding tools that guide tourists. Typically, the greatest obstacle has been attempting a citywide campaign without the blessing of LA’s red-tape factory.

It appears that bike-share has been knockin’ but nobody at City Hall has been answering the door!

Now, with little or no public participation, Villaraigosa announces a deal with a company that has no track record, that has no relationships with local bike-shops, that has no connection to local advocacy organizations, that has no connection to local providers of bike safety education, that has no connection to the cycling community.

Sounds like a bike-share press conference opportunity that comes with little in the way of local benefit and lots in the way of mayoral benefit.

Bike Nation may very well be a great company, one that buys its bikes locally, contracting with local bike shops for maintenance and redistribution, stirring the local economy by partnering with local hotels, and supporting a bike maintenance program at Trade Tech.

But we don’t know much about Bike Nation other than that they are owned by First Pacific Holdings along with Median Nation and Media Nation Outdoor. Oh, yeah. They’ve never done this before.

The City of Los Angeles is the largest city in a county of 88 cities. The Mayor has an opportunity to engage in a bike-share program that brings the county together or he can continue to operate as if LA is an island.

LA’s bike-share programming should be based on a commitment to the local economy and to connecting surrounding communities into a regional bike-share opportunity

It is the pinnacle of arrogance to stick a ribbon on a contract and then present it to the people of LA as if it is a gift, expecting the public to fawn over the hastily contrived public-private partnership as if it is evidence of a commitment to the pursuit of effective transportation solutions.

(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net. You can also find him on Twitter and on Facebook.) –cw

Tags: Stephen Box, RethinkingLA, bike-share, Bike Nation, Los Angeles, CicLAvia





CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 32
Pub: Apr 20, 2012


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