Purpose

To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Monday, September 15, 2014

Metro 710 Meeting

From Sylvia Plummer, September 15, 2014


Metro has scheduled a 710 meeting at the El Sereno Senior Citizens Center for this Thursday, September 18th at 11:00AM. 
 

4818 Klamath Place 
  • Los Angeles, California 90032
  •  
This meeting was not advertised, just a notice on the door of the Senior Center. 
 
We hope to get as many people as possible to this event to ask important questions. 

 Facebook comment: 

 Metro is at it again. This time the SR710 PR machine is dealing with El Sereno in the lowest, most underhanded & deceptive manner. No logo to identify themselves, just a plain white sheet of paper on a bulletin board that you would easily miss & walk right past. They will report back to their superiors that they informed the people of El Sereno & we were in favor of the tunnel. This is the insulting treatment of our community. We don't even get colors past B&W.


Poll: 68 percent want more transit spending

http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/217708-poll-68-percent-want-more-transit-spending#.VBccbN1xwCt.twitter

By Keith Laing, September 15, 2014




Sixty-eight percent of U.S. residents want more federal spending on public transportation systems, according to a polled released on Monday by a Washington, D.C.-based transit advocacy group.

The survey, which was conducted by the Mineta Transportation Institute for American Public Transportation Association (APTA), showed a two point increase in support increased transit funding than a similar poll that was conducted last year according to the groups.

APTA President Michael Melaniphy said the findings showed Congress should including more money for public transit systems in the next round of transportation bill it is scheduled to consider next spring.

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“We believe Congress should move swiftly on a robust long-term funding plan for the next surface transportation bill, and not wait until the extension deadline of May 31,” Melaniphy said in a statement.  “Americans understand the importance of investing in public transportation because it  is a catalyst to transforming their community.”

The transit groups said their poll found that 74 percent of U.S. residents "support the use of tax dollars for creating, expanding, and improving public transportation options in their communities."

They groups added that 88 percent of their poll's respondents "agreed that public transit expands opportunities and provides access to new jobs and careers as well as to medical care, schools, and colleges."

APTA's Michael Melaniphy said the findings made clear that Congress should spend more to boost transit systems in the U.S. 

“Research data shows support for increased revenues for public transportation," he said. "This support continues to increase because Americans realize that everyone benefits from public transit investments through the economic growth in their community, even if they do not ride it."

The last transportation funding bill that was approved by Congress, which is a nearly $11 billion measure, is scheduled to expire in May 2015.

Coming to the Rescue for Riders Who Drop Treasures on the Tracks

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/15/nyregion/subway-heroes-come-to-the-rescue-of-fallen-treasures.html?_r=1

By Matt Flegenheimer, September 14, 2014


 

 Bob Devine uses a mechanical claw to grab a book lost at 34th Street.

The requests trickle through the bowels of the New York City subway system, funneled to workers more accustomed to calls about tunnel fires or ceiling leaks.

A problem is reported at Columbus Circle one recent afternoon. A passenger could be in great distress. Delays are minimal, but movement on the tracks has perhaps never been slower.

So would a crew mind collecting its helmets and hauling its mechanical claw to rescue the turtle — fumbled by a rider — currently plotting its very methodical getaway from Midtown train traffic?

“It’s a big city,” a transit worker, Vinny Mangia, had said a day earlier, reciting a mantra of his office. “Somebody’s going to drop something.”

And somebody, if the item is sufficiently treasured, is going to try to pick it up. These are the fishermen of the subway system, cobbling together homemade instruments to pluck items from the tracks and release them to a grateful city.

Workers have returned a bag of hospital-bound blood and corralled a collection of artificial body parts, scooped engagement rings from the rails and reunited children with stuffed animals.

Leonard Geraghty, center, and Mr. Devine ride an A train en route to 168th Street to retrieve an item from the tracks. 
They have lifted bikes and basketballs.

One worker, Bob Devine, recently recovered the detritus of a lover’s quarrel: a bag of clothes hurled beside a third rail in the Bronx during an argument.

“We’re O.K. now,” the man told Mr. Devine, repacking his jeans.

For as long as there have been subway tracks, New Yorkers — haggard, perpetually busy and forever jostling for space — have been dropping things on them.

But in recent years, the workers say, the rigors of the job have multiplied, with smartphone proliferation and in-station Wi-Fi producing a more distracted ridership and sending more phones tumbling to the tracks.

“That’s job security,” said Mr. Devine, a 30-year veteran of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Indeed, the pickup crews, which also perform track work and respond to emergencies when necessary, are afforded a unique window on consumer behavior.

Workers can trace trends in accessories — changes in the price of gold have coincided with a decrease in calls about jewelry, they say — and gauge the relative popularity of new authors.

They can pinpoint the moment the iPhone surpassed the BlackBerry, and they predict, by now with near certainty, that travelers are most likely to drop either device on a Monday. “People are going back to work, they’re annoyed, they’re fumbling around,” Mr. Mangia said, by way of explanation.

Other transit agencies appear less zealous in their approach. In Boston’s transit system, there is no team dedicated to retrieving dropped objects, though crews who walk the tracks overnight often pick up items on their own. In Chicago — where workers “do not use any device” like the mechanical claw, a spokeswoman said — operators on stopped trains occasionally descend from their posts to retrieve wallets or phones.

Most New York travelers appear pleased with the vigilance and, often, enthralled by the claw: the long-limbed fusion of an extendable paint stick, a grocery grabber and, in Mr. Devine’s case, an old token bag to protect the gadget from the elements.

On a recent weekday at the West Fourth Street station, Mr. Devine and his team partner for the day, Leonard Geraghty, tracked down the wheel of a sliding door, which Bart Platteau, from Harlem, had fumbled on the way to a hardware store for repairs.

Mr. Geraghty checks where an object was lost. 
“Yes!” the rider shouted, as Mr. Devine lifted his tool from the tracks.

Mr. Platteau inspected the wheel for a moment. “Great service,” he said before leaving.

Next, the team traveled to 34th Street, where a book was propped against a rail.

“ ‘War and Peace,’ ” Mr. Geraghty guessed, training his flashlight below. In fact, it was a novel called “Gunz and Roses.”

In some cases, including the turtle rescue, other transit personnel help recover items before workers like Mr. Devine and Mr. Geraghty arrive. (The transportation authority described the reptile as “large,” reporting that it fell out of a brown paper bag. The woman carrying the bag stayed behind until the turtle was lifted to safety.)

A recent change by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, charging $1 for new MetroCards, has made the workers’ searches more manageable, coaxing many riders to refill their cards rather than piling them on the tracks.

But scheming travelers, spotting a pickup crew, occasionally claim cards or other items that are not theirs.

“I have a game I play with them,” Mr. Geraghty said. “I tell them, ‘You drop a watch or something?’ They say, ‘No, it’s a phone.’ It’s just a test.”

Sometimes, ownership is more obvious. Travelers balancing on one leg, for instance, tend to be responsible for reports about lost shoes. Then there was the No. 6 rider who lost both at East 59th Street, Mr. Devine recalled, and $40, too.

When the bills landed on the tracks, she tossed a flip-flop in their direction, hoping to pin them down. She missed. But her second attempt landed.

“I thought it was pretty smart,” Mr. Devine said.

Mr. Geraghty cited a run-in at Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, about four years ago, as his most memorable. He recovered a glass eye — “brown,” he said — and returned it to its owner. The man wiped it off and pressed it back into place. Upon hearing this tale, Mr. Devine countered with a memory about a set of false teeth.

There is the occasional aggrieved passenger, chafing at the response time if a crew is traveling from another call at a far-off station. But almost universally, riders are appreciative. A few have tried to tip the workers, though they say they have never accepted.

“A little hug, we take,” Mr. Geraghty said. “I usually tell them, if it’s a man: ‘Take your wife out. Have a good time on us.’ ”

Meet Seleta Reynolds, the Safe Streets Advocate Running LADOT

http://la.streetsblog.org/2014/09/15/meet-seleta-reynolds-the-safe-streets-advocate-running-ladot/

By Damien Newton, September 15, 2014



 Seleta Reynolds speaks at the ribbon cutting for the "Dressed Rehearsal" on Broadway. Photo: LADOT
 Seleta Reynolds speaks at the ribbon cutting for the “Dress Rehearsal” on Broadway.

(If you want to skip the article and the editing and just listen to our half-hour conversation, click here. – DN)

If you spend some time with the newly minted General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, you would think she was an LADOT lifer not a recent transplant from the San Francisco MTA.

She can speak eloquently of the “great heart” that Los Angeles’ people have, belying the image projected by Hollywood.

Dressed in a suit and bike helmet, she points out road hazards on her bike commute to work.  Weaves around every pothole, manhole, and cracked street with the knowledge of a regular.

She can even recite DOT history going back years, thanks in part to her avid interest in reading Streetsblog.

It’s not until you visit her office that you remember Seleta Reynolds has been on the job at LADOT for roughly a month. The walls are nearly barren. A map of her first project at Fehr and Peers, the Morro Street Bicycle Boulevard in San Luis Obispo, had arrived the day before our interview.

But you don’t need blank walls to tell you that Reynolds is a true breath of fresh air to a department that, in the past, has primarily prioritized a perceived need to drive quickly. Reynolds talked about community and community building in response to questions about the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge, equity in transportation funding, relationships with the City Council, and building a bicycle share system that will work in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Region.

And it’s these new ideas, and a new commitment to an LADOT that is people-focused, that has advocates, and our political leadership, so excited. When announcing her nomination to head LADOT, Mayor Eric Garcetti referred to her as “ideal field marshal in our war against traffic.” City Council Transportation Committee Chair Mike Bonin was just as illustrative in an email responding to this story, “Seleta is a rock star – a game-changer – who will lead the charge to get Los Angeles moving again.”

I could write a full story on each of the eight topics we covered last Tuesday, but instead I’ve broken up the audio into more manageable three or four minute segments with a short summary. This can all be found after the jump.

 We begin the interview with a discussion of some of her previous work, spring boarding off the only decoration in her office: a framed poster from the Morro Street Bike Boulevard project in San Luis Obispo. Streetsblog Los Angeles actually profiled Morro Street in a freelance piece by Drew Reed in 2010. But as you would expect, the projects in San Francisco are nearest and dearest to her heart.

She brought up two projects as favorites, bike share, which we’ll discuss in a moment, and protected bike lanes. Reynolds takes pride in San Francisco’s first parking-protected bike lane on JFK Parkway in Golden Gate Park, and the Fell and Oak Street protected bike lane which removed 105 parking spaces to create a protected bikeway. Most of the parking was moved to an adjacent street. The character of Fell and Oak is forever changed.

“It’s really satisfying to see a design like that in action,” she said of the bikeway on JFK. “In hindsight, what made New York City’s parking-protected bikeways so powerful was that they took these heavily used traffic sewers and made them into beautiful streets. On JFK Drive that wasn’t the case. We had a wide street in the middle of the park and we changed it. It was really useful from a design perspective, but it wasn’t as transformative as what we did next on Fell and Oak Street.”

Next, we discuss the status of bike share in Los Angeles, and how her experience with Bay Area Bike Share can inform Los Angeles bike share implementation.
On one hand, the Bay Area Bike Share program shows that bike share works best where there is a concentration of different land uses, density, and a strong bike network. On the other hand, those conditions don’t exist in enough places in Los Angeles to create a true region-wide system similar to Citi Bike in New York.
“Half the bikes are in San Francisco, as are 90% of the trips,” she explained of Bay Are Bike Share. “It’s OK if we have several pockets of successful bike share systems because I imagine that the recipe to have a successful bike share system only exists in pockets.”
For Reynolds, a successful bike share program is dependent on a well-explained and attainable goal. For example, many of the bikes outside of San Francisco are used to address a “first-mile, last-mile” problem for Caltrain commuters. By design, these bicycles won’t have as many trips as a bike in Downtown San Francisco where a bike can be used many times over the course of a day. Given that thus far Metro has been the largest source of funds for bike share in L.A. County, a similar program could be coming to Los Angeles at some point.
Seleta Reynolds is front and center at an LADOT officer roll call in August. Photo: LADOT
Seleta Reynolds is front and center at an LADOT officer roll call in August.

Commute

As mentioned, Reynolds and I rode our bikes from her Silver Lake neighborhood to her office in Downtown Los Angeles. Our commute started on Sunset Boulevard where we rode the bike lanes to Figueroa Street. From there we headed through the 2nd Street Tunnel and took a detour into the Caltrans building’s underground parking lot where we chained up at the bike area before heading upstairs.

Yes, there’s a place in the Caltrans building to lock-up besides the bike-shaped bike racks out front.
During the commute, I observed the General Manager ride competently and knowingly. This wasn’t a promotional ride to appeal to Streetsblog users, Reynolds actually bikes to work on occasion. Not an aggressive cyclist, she rides as someone who is familiar and comfortable on the street, waiting for drivers to provide an opening when we needed to make a left, pointing out cracks and other obstacles and doing the little things that make for a smooth group bike ride.

During the interview, when I asked about lessons we could learn from the commute, I expected a discussion of the 2nd Street Tunnel protected bike lane, which actually had all of its plastic pylons in-place Tuesday morning. Instead, we had a discussion of what can be done to make Sunset and Figueroa better streets in the long and short term.emand for a different kind of street,” she began.
“It’s the gaps. Sunset itself could be a good place to start talking about what we want our streets to do and be for us in the long term. In the short term, it’s tightening up the gaps. Leaving bread-crumbs of green for people to get across those really hairy scary connections, or put in two-stage left-turns to cross major intersections like Figueroa and 2nd.”

 “The City has a lot of heart,” Reynolds said deep in an answer to a question on what’s surprised her. But what surprised me was a candid answer about the state of an agency that has taken its share of hits and more than a handful of leadership changes in the last couple of years.

“The thing that has surprised me about LADOT is how committed a lot of folks here are to change and how open they are to change,” she began. “I think that the depth of the cuts that have happened at this department and the constant change over in leadership at the General Manager position…the depth of what that’s done to moral has surprised me in a not-so-positive way.”

There are still folks here, a lot of them, that are ready to move on to the next thing and do something new.

Outreach to Disadvantaged Communities

One thing that is shaping the debate on transportation projects in Los Angeles’ less-affluent communities is the idea that while the proposed street improvement is better than the status quo, the city is not addressing larger issues that plague these areas. While this is a more-than-valid point from a big-picture perspective, with the way budgeting works it is not as though canceling a bike lane project would lead to more money to provide better healthcare.

However, Reynolds both accepted the premise of the question and conceded that it was not one with an easy answer. She first provides an illustration about how proper community-based transportation projects could lead to improvements in areas of greater concern to a community than whether or not the crosswalks are visible and the bike lanes are the proper width.

“We have a public health crisis in these neighborhoods, and it starts on the streets,” she started. ”That’s where I would start the conversation. The biggest predictor of fatalities on a street is speed, and the biggest factor in speed on your street is design.”

After pressing for better public outreach to reach people in times and places where it is most convenient, Reynolds picked back on the theme that street improvements have a ripple effect on other parts of the community.

“There’s that famous work from the 1970′s that the width of the street actually contributes to crime. The wider and faster a street is, the more crime you’ll see in that neighborhood because our streets contribute to social isolation. Or…they can contribute to bringing people together in strong communities. That helps get at the other problems on the list.”

 City Council Relationship

Our question was two-pronged on relations between LADOT and the City Council. How should the Transportation Department interact with the Council on policy, and then with individual Councilmembers on politics? Reynolds didn’t take the bait and comment on specific Councilmembers, but did make clear that she understands the Council’s role, as a legislative body.
“The Council clearly sets policy.”

However, when it came to the department’s role on policy delivery, Reynolds went into detail about building community consensus for projects.

“When it comes time to redesign a street, first of all the Department of Transportation needs to change the way it engages communities. We need to start the conversation in a different way than we are now. We need to get more constituents to the table, specifically those that we don’t usually engage,” she explains.

“What happens when you have neighborhoods that do their own transportation planning without experts in the room…what you get is plans that LADOT has to be in the position to say, ‘we can’t legally do that…’ or ‘that doesn’t solve the problem we’re trying to solve.’”

Glendale-Hyperion Bridge Redesign

Later this month, LADOT is expected to weigh-in on its preferred alternative road alignment for the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge redesign. Rejecting the matrix that led to a highway-style original design, Reynolds gave three criteria for picking among the three alternatives: safety, community development, and the results of the ongoing community process.

“Streets that are safest for the most vulnerable users are safest for everyone. When I think about design, when I think about that bridge, that is the issue that is in the front of my mind.”
“If it were a great place, people could be proposed to on that bridge. It’s the gateway to the L.A. River. It’s a gateway to Atwater Village.”

Currently, there are three proposed designs for the bridge. Safety advocates want to see a road diet with bike lanes that maintains the sidewalks. Speeding traffic advocates have accepted the bike lanes, but want to see the traffic lanes maintained.

Magic Wand

And now for the sad news: our new friend will not be at next month’s CicLAvia. Apparently a high-school reunion was scheduled, tickets were bought, and our General Manager was once class president and helped set the whole thing up. Sad.

However, the answer to our “magic wand” question was something of a surprise. Traditionally, the last questions I ask in interviews is what the interviewee would do if they could change anything about Greater Los Angeles with the wave of a magic wand. Reynolds focus wasn’t on bikes or crosswalks, but on changing the car culture.

“If you look at the west coast as a spectrum, and you start in Vancouver and Seattle and you come down to Los Angeles the difference in driving culture is pronounced,” Reynolds stated.

“The neighborhood I lived in, (in Seattle) had no stop signs, and they (the streets) were extremely narrow. You could just get one car through at a time. So you had to make eye contact with the other driver and someone would have to pull over to make someone pass. Then you would wave and be on your way. You had to work collaboratively to make a common goal. It was amazing.”

In the end, that may be Reynolds’ biggest challenge: getting L.A.’s road users to see us all working together towards a common goal.

The Best Bike Network in LA is Somehow in Wilmington

http://la.curbed.com/archives/2014/09/the_best_bike_network_in_la_is_somehow_in_wilmington.php#more

By Neal Broverman, September 12, 2014

 

 

 2014_09_wilmington.jpg

 

A non-scientific investigation by Streetsblog LA finds that Wilmington—that pollution-choked neighborhood sandwiched between the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach—has the most extensive bike lane network in Southern California, and possibly the state. The numbers don't lie: the area's 9.1 square miles have 21.6 miles of bike lanes on 20 different streets. On top of that, many streets have been placed on road diets and now have fewer lanes for cars and more rooms for bikes. Many of the improvements were made in the last two years, with the LADOT taking advantage of Wilmington's wide, and often quiet, streets to fill promised quotas. (LADOT "searched the city to find ... low-hanging fruit — places where bike lanes could be added without impacting car traffic.")

While the low-income community could certainly use car alternatives, anecdotal evidence seems to show that Wilmington's transit-dependent residents are not necessarily flocking to the bike lanes, possibly because they're still viewed as dangerous (no buffers from cars) and because residents fear both gang activity and the LAPD. (One resident "tells stories about the LAPD stopping her on her own street to tell her she shouldn't be biking at night.") Regardless, some locals report the lanes are leading to at least a few more bikes on the road.

· Wilmington's New Bike Lane Network, and What It Does and Doesn't Do [Streetsblog LA]

· Here Are The 40 Miles Of Bike Lanes LA Is Getting This Year [Curbed LA]

 

Want to Be Happier? Try Walking Even Part of the Way to Work

New research concludes that an active commute may be as important to well-being as marriage or a pay raise.

http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/09/want-to-be-happier-try-walking-even-part-of-the-way-to-work/380158/

By Sam Sturgis, September 14, 2014


 Image



Our daily commutes to work can significantly influence our mental state. Taking public transportation may be more beneficial than driving, researchers find. But ultimately an active commute—especially walking or bicycling—is the most beneficial for our emotional well-being, according to an expansive new study on the topic.

“Our study shows that the longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse their psychological well-being,” says Adam Martin from the University of East Anglia. The study, just published in the journal Preventative Medicine, concludes that commuters with “active travel modes” are associated with higher rates of well-being than those who drive or use public transportation. Over an 18-year span, 18,000 British commuters were asked a number of questions to gauge their various levels of “well-being.” The questions ranged from, Have you been feeling unhappy and depressed? to Have you been able to enjoy your day-to-day activities?  Responses were then correlated with the type of transportation used to arrive at work. The findings offer additional evidence that active commuters are thought to be happier, more focused workers.

Simply adding ten minutes of walking time to your commute, the study concludes, is associated with a boost in well-being. Importantly, the scientific definition of "well-being" is influenced by work-related traits like problem solving and completing tasks. Therefore, the researchers believe improved well-being also correlates to a more productive worker. The psychological benefits of an active commute appear so significant that driving should be a last resort. Even if you can drive to work in 10 minutes, the study suggests, an hour-long walk may be better for your well-being.

“We conclude that the potential benefits available to car drivers if they switched to active travel, and walking in particular, exceed any potential benefits associated with reducing commuting time,” write the team of researchers.

These findings contrast with previous research in the field of commuter happiness. A study conducted by the UK government earlier this year found that shorter commutes—of any mode—were generally better for British citizens. “Life satisfaction … and happiness all decreased with each successive minute of travel,” the government report finds. Moreover, those who walked or rode a bicycle between 16 and 30 minutes each day to work were associated with lower life satisfaction (though active commutes over 30 minutes were not found to have a negative effect on personal well-being).

Martin, lead author of the new research, notes that his work focuses on commuters who switched modes of travel, possibly explaining the divergent results. A person who has consistently driven to work may very well maintain a higher level of well-being than someone who has consistently walked. But when suddenly that driver decided to start walking to work, they tended to experience a significant boost in morale.

Obviously commuting plays just a small part in overall well-being. Family support, income, friendship, neighborhood comfort, among other things, are all believed to influence our happiness. Nonetheless, the psychological benefits of an active commute to work held constant in this latest research, regardless of socio-economic status. Even though some study participants became wealthier or got married, for example, they didn't become impervious to the benefits of walking to work. Whether single, married, poor or rich, driving to work was associated with a comparatively unhappy worker.

“What’s unique with this study is that it looks at the same people over time,” Adam Martin says. “A more active commute to work can be associated with the same psychological benefits as things like a raise in income or starting a new relationship,” he says.

The day you get married; your first child’s birth; when you finally receive your dream job. These are all big moments that can make life feel better than ever. It may be time to add switching to a more active commute to this list of major milestones. If the findings from this newest study hold true, a brisk walk to work could be equally good for our well-being.

This 3-foot law peddles pipe dream

http://www.sbsun.com/government-and-politics/20140913/this-3-foot-law-peddles-pipe-dream

By Doug McIntyre, September 13, 2014

On Tuesday, September 16th, as in this coming Tuesday, a new law joins the endless catalogue of laws in California; Motorists will be required to allow 3 feet between their vehicles and bicyclists when passing on California’s roads.

Leave it to the geniuses in Sacramento to figure out a way to make traffic even worse.

The State Legislature claims the 3-foot law is a matter of public safety and there’s no question riding a bicycle around here is a dangerous proposition. Nearly every bike rider has had a harrowing brush with a psycho-driver who’s driven them off the road or even deliberately plowed into them. There’s a word for drivers who use their cars as weapons — criminals. We already have laws against reckless driving.

And every motorist has had a near fatal encounter with a bike rider who believes they have a right to run stops signs and red lights with impunity.

The new 3-foot law won’t make our roads safer, just narrower.

Take Topanga Canyon Boulevard as an example.

For most of its north/south path, Topanga features a series of “S” turns, steep inclines and blind curves. On one side drivers face sheer rock walls, on the other a 100-foot plunge into a snake-filled ravine.

It’s also a favorite of bicyclists riding to the ocean and back.

On Tuesday Topanga Canyon will become 6 feet narrower with north- and southbound cars obligated to move in 3 feet while passing bicyclists.

And assuming everyone survives the trip to the Valley floor where Topanga widens; Motorists will still be required to provide 3 feet of space for bicycles even though bike riders are already encroaching into traffic lanes because of broken glass and other debris along the curb and parked cars from Mulholland to the 118.

The same goes for Benedict, Coldwater and Laurel canyons.
 
Like it or not, the car is king in California. In Los Angeles, politicians unable to solve our perpetual gridlock problem continue to peddle the chimerical notion if we build more bike lanes more folks will bike to work and gridlock will lessen. 

That’s like telling a fat man he’ll lose weight if he’d just buy tighter pants.

In L.A. we’re on our third pro-bike mayor in a row. Former Mayor Dick Riordan remains a prolific pedaler at 80. Antonio Villarigosa never missed a chance to be photographed on a bike or on anything else. Our current mayor regularly posts pictures of himself in Spandex purportedly riding his bike to City Hall. Personally, I suspect Eric Garcetti just likes the way he looks in tight clothes. But as crazy as that might be, it’s even nuttier to believe L.A.’s traffic will improve with tighter roads.

But the dream of Los Angeles becoming an American Beijing with millions of us biking to work is fantasy. Less than 1 percent of L.A.’s workforce bikes to work and half of those people own bike shops.

All right, I made up the part about bike shops. But who are these people politicians claim are biking to work?

It’s a thousand degrees in the Valley. Can you imagine having to spend eight hours working next to some guy who pedaled to work in 100-degree heat? Unless your boss has a shower and towel service this idea stinks. Literally, stinks.

But that didn’t stop the L.A. City Council (all of whom have city owned vehicles and staffers to drive them) from approving a master bike plan in 2011 that calls for 719 miles of bike lanes in L.A., including lanes on major thoroughfares like Lankershim Boulvard, Westwood Boulevard, North Figueroa in Highland Park and the 2nd Street Tunnel in downtown where two of four traffic lanes have been taken away from motorists.

Bike advocates continue to insist dedicated bike lanes will help the environment and encourage more people to take up cycling. So why not let skateboarders use the streets? How about scooters?
Soapbox Derby racers? Pogosticks could make a comeback.

The truth is riding a bike is wonderful exercise and a fun hobby but it’s not a practical solution to L.A.’s hideous traffic problems. Only a comprehensive light rail system will take enough cars off the road to make a significant difference.

Adding more bike lanes onto busy L.A. streets and mandating 3 feet of additional space onto already narrow and crowded roads is using the force of law to support someone’s hobby.

Anybody who tells you differently is peddling a pipedream.