Tue, Jun

They Love Us This Much


LA’S NEIGHBORHOODS--Yes, the photo is of a hole. Specifically, an incipient sinkhole on Hauser Boulevard where it runs through Park La Brea. It is about eight inches deep. It has been guarded for over a year by its faithful traffic cone. A companion pit behind it suffered the usual indignity of a half-baked cold-patch repair, and is now itself sinking back into pithood. 

I've called this pothole in twice over the last year, using the city's 311 phone app. Usually this brings quick results, but not this time. I am guessing that this particular pothole results from some water leak that's undermining the asphalt, given that there are numerous DWP access covers immediately next to it. In any case, I saw a DWP truck parked by it not two weeks ago, and so I thought, "At last!" 

But apparently I was too optimistic. Nothing has happened since. Maybe the DWP driver was just parking there to make a phone call during lunch. 

And so the hole remains…smack in the middle of a busy bikelane, waiting to tumble someone onto their head or into traffic. 

That's how much they love us, kids…. 

Oh, and that bike lane? It runs three whole blocks, from Sixth to Third, and that's it. LADOT put it in because Hauser is extra-wide there, and it was an easy way to add a mile to their list of "accomplishments." 

But it's really just another trophy in LA's vast collection of orphan bike lanes, those that don't connect to other bike lanes. Since you have to pedal along rather nasty streets to find them, these don't serve to entice the less-bold majority into riding bikes to actual destinations (of which there are many in the area: LACMA, the Farmers Market, the Grove, two large parks, numerous galleries, eateries, bars, markets, and shops, and on and on.)

Yes, that's how much they love us, kids…. 

To be fair, these lanes were meant to connect to the bike lanes Sixth Street would have gained had its planned road die ever been implemented. But the City Council's obstructor-in-chief, Tom LaBonge (now termed out, for which we thank all the earthly and heavenly powers responsible) blocked the plan. (Photo left: Former councilman Tom LaBonge.) 

LaBonge wanted to reserve the street for car traffic, even though it is heavily used by walkers and cyclists as well, and has a horrendous safety record. And even though road diets often improve the flow of motor traffic, while making it harder for scofflaw motorists to kill us. 

Ah, yes. That's how much they love us, kids…. 

I don't think I can take much more of LA's kind of love…it's beginning to look like an abusive relationship.


(Richard Risemberg is a writer. His current professional activities are centered on sustainable development and lifestyle. This guest column was posted first at Flying Pigeon)





Vol 13 Issue 63

Pub: Aug 4, 2015

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