Sun, Jun

An Innovative and Responsible Bicycle Network


ADULTS CAN DO THAT--Yes, folks, adults can compromise and come up with a plan that meets the needs of all parties (well, most of them--some folks refuse to compromise).  Unfortunately, we don't do things the "adult" way in LA--whereas before the NIMBY's held sway, now the Big Government folks run the show.  You know, those few who believe they have a monopoly on "smart" and "right"... except that they're neither of the above. 

Those of us who fought for the Expo Line had to fight two battles (a sort of Scylla and Charybdis, for those who understand that paradigm from Homer's Odyssey): 

1) The NIMBY's who kept ignoring what the term "publicly-held right of way" meant, and decided to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars from misinformed and panicked locals in the Mid-City and Westside to first stop the Expo Line, and then push for a Never-Never-Land subway tunnel for a light rail line when the option of key-located rail bridges was always a more cost-effective and realistic option. 

So instead of mitigations and a $30 million rail bridge over the key road/freeway intersection on Overland Avenue (to match the excellent bridge that's being built on Sepulveda Blvd.), and with lots of sidewalk repairs and tree/greening efforts for the community, we have a barebones at-grade setup at Overland Avenue.  You see, that mitigation money was instead spent on years of pointless legal efforts against the Expo Authority. 

Good job, NIMBY "leaders"--I saw the plan for the Overland bridge, and maybe YOU can explain to your constituents why the $300+ million tunnel plan wasn't ignored when a $30 million rail bridge over Overland (favored by the LADOT, by the way) could have been pushed for instead.  And why YOU pretty much told those of us who kept reminding everyone about the bridge option to "talk to the hand".   

Yes, you did.  You really, really did. 

2) And then there was the Expo Line Authority and the City of Los Angeles, who patted many of us Expo Line supporters on the head, thanked us in a belittling and condescending fashion, and then chose to ignore environmentally-superior tree planting and station design, came up with a myriad of excuses as to why the Expo Greenway couldn't occur (after promising us it would happen in one way or form), and then shoved a critical Expo Bikeway connection off to the side. 

Who knows?  Maybe the NIMBY's were right!  Although (speaking ONLY for myself) arguably a CD5 City Councilmember (supported by the rest of the City Council) who made some firm decisions could have created a proper compromise was rather than to publicly try to please everyone and throw his hands up in the air and blame other people for not having an ironclad plan for Palms, Cheviot Hills and Rancho Park.  

Yes, you did.  You really, really did. 

After all, telling everyone decision making is at times HARD and painful, and then declaring a thought-out position is usually the best way to command everyone's respect.  But if the NIMBY's feel any better, those of us who wanted a park-like Greenway for the Rancho Park/Cheviot Hills region ("Palms Park West" we called it at times) and a smart Bikeway now feel backstabbed and duped by the Expo Authority and City of Los Angeles

Happy, everyone? 

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Wonder why many transit/transportation advocates are seriously wondering whether or not to vote for a Measure R-2, whatever the heck that is (not sure why we're still in the dark about so many things at this time)? 

But we DO have public land set up for an Expo Bikeway that's properly located, if the City of Los Angeles has the courage to emphasize what "public land" means and go to court to defend that.  

We also have a series of river tributaries that allow us to have bikeways that allow bicyclists, pedestrians, roller skaters and others to travel long distances that don't force them to compete with cars for mobility. 

Because bicyclists' rights are vital...but so is the need to avoid bicyclists getting killed when car commuters are supposed to bend themselves into pretzels looking out for the black-spandex-pants adrenalin-junkies who think "they have the same rights as cars". 

Maybe we can put that on their tombstone:  "He had the right of way!" 

Yes, responsible adults favor bike lanes when there's room, and favor diversions/parallel paths on residential streets for long-distance bicycling when there isn't room. 

And responsible adults favor ensuring mobility of cars, trains, buses, and pedestrians. 

All it takes is innovation, compromise, and a willingness of both the NIMBY's and Big Government to let people in a community talk and achieve a majority-rule consensus...instead of NIMBY lawsuits and a City of LA Mobility Element 2035 rammed down our collective throats without sufficient public input. 

Adults do that.  But we don't do that around these parts, I'm afraid.


(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee.  He is co-chair of the CD11Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at  [email protected]   He also does regular commentary on the Mark Isler Radio Show on AM 870, and co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.) 





Vol 13 Issue 81

Pub: Oct 6, 2015

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