By Allison B. Cohen and Sheila Lane, August 11, 2015
Red lines show the most aggressive approach including lane designations
for evening and morning commutes; purple shows streets such as Santa
Monica Boulevard and Western and Vermont avenues that would have lanes
reduced for bicycle lanes and curb extensions; dark blue (streets like
Hillhurst Avenue, parts of 3rd Street and Cahuegna) would have lanes
reduced for bikes, bike “share” stations and “cycle tracks.”
A community activist group said today they will sue the city over the
Los Angeles City Council’s adoption today of a sweeping, 20-year
mobility plan that encourages a move away from car-centric
infrastructure toward more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly
transportation options in the city.
The council voted 12-2 to approve the Mobility 2035 plan, an historic
piece of legislation with a goal of adding about 300 miles of protected
bike lanes and increasing housing density, over complaints from some
residents that the plan could worsen traffic congestion and hinder
emergency response times.
Voting against the plan were council members Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz. Councilmember Curren Price was absent.
Some, council members asked for amendments to the plan before voting
on it, including that a bike lane for Westwood Boulevard be
eliminated and that other bike lanes in Cedillo’s district be
removed. But those requests were dismissed and instead will be hashed
out in a sub committee of the council.
Newly elected council member David Ryu, however, was allowed to put
his stamp on today’s now passed motion, adding language that the
community’s input would need to be considered regarding portions before
changes to streets are made and “to consider the need of public safety”
when evaluating changes for some streets.
For his part, Cedillo, expressed concern that not enough public input
was gathered before the plan was presented to the City Council. He
stated that such created an inequity for poorer neighborhoods who did
not know such a plan was in the works.
Requests for comment from Cedillo and Koretz were not returned.
The plan takes existing Los Angeles streets and changes them in a
variety of ways. For instance, parts or all of Highland Avenue, Wilshire
Boulevard, Los Feliz Boulevard, Western Avenue, La Brea Avenue and
Santa Monica Boulevard would be redesigned to add bike lanes, curb
extensions, bus stop amenities and other enhancements.
Other streets, such as Hillhurst Avenue, Virgil Avenue, parts of
Hyperion Avenue, Silver Lake Boulevard, Rowena Avenue, 3rd Street and
Cahuenga Boulevard would receive “bicycle tracks,” bike signals, bike
share stations, peak hour bus lanes, curb extensions and other
enhancements. In some cases, streets may be reworked to add a separate
equestrian trail and bike lanes with buffers that separate cyclists from
The biggest changes would occur to such streets as Sunset, Beverly
and Glendale boulevards, which could see the addition of center turn
lanes and lanes designated as one way only during morning and evening
“The Los Angeles City Council drank the Kool-aid and voted for
slogans instead of facts,” said Laura Lake, who lives on the Westside.
“Mr. Cedillo is my hero.”
Lake is a member of the community organization called “Fix the City,”
a thorn in the side of the city having successfully sued it in 2013 to
stop the Hollywood Community Plan that proposed high density development
and high rise buildings. More recently, the group has threatened a
lawsuit regarding the city’s recent approval of the Academy Museum in
the Miracle Mile area for a variety of reasons including increased
In this instance, the organization, according to Lake, is concerned
the mobility plan will hinder emergency vehicles, create more traffic in
residential areas and do the reverse of what is intended to fix: create
more air pollution through more consumption of gasoline. In their view,
since many of Los Angeles’ major thoroughfares will be reduced in car
lanes–the so-called “road diet”–the effect will be gridlock and lots of
“This is not a mobility plan,” Lake said. “This is an immobility plan.”
Councilman Mike Bonin, who championed the plan, called it a
“groundbreaking” document that updates the city’s planning guidelines
from a “1950s mentality” to a more modern approach to transportation
that includes more options for bicyclists, public transportation and
pedestrians. He, along with council member Jose Huizar, extolled the
virtues of the plan and said that in passing the motion, the city would
receive transportation funds from the state.
“This is a smart thing to be doing,” Bonin said.
Input from neighborhood councils has been mixed. A coalition of such
councils on the Westside of Los Angeles have opposed the plan. Locally,
the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council (LFNC) supports it.
According to the LFNC’s Luke Klipp, who is the chair of the
organization’s transportation committee, the now passed plan is
aspirational in nature and only a blue print for the city. In fact, he
said, he doubted much would come of the plan, at least for now.
For Klipp, the city’s decision to approve the plan was more pragmatic
as, he said, it had to do so to be in compliance with recent state law
requiring cities statewide have a plan for reducing greenhouse
“The city was just doing what it had to do,” he said.
According to Klipp, locals had little opportunity to weigh in on the
plan, although it was announced days in advance it would be discussed at
the LFNC’s June meeting.
For his part, Klipp, who supports the plan in concept, said he had
spoken with a few members of the community he represents about the plan
and its possible impacts. Some agreed with the plan, he said, while
others opposed it.
“I would not be surprised if people have issues with this plan,” he said.
Klipp said while many of the plan’s components were indeed positives
for the city, the most important, he said, was removing the notion that
the city’s bounty of wide streets usually makes way for fast cars and
that in turn creates accidents.
“This [plan] will be safer for everyone period,” he said.