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

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lawsuit Planned Over City’s New “Mobility Plan”

http://www.losfelizledger.com/article/activists-say-theyll-sue-over-l-a-s-new-mobility-plan/

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 a "cycle track."

 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 vehicular traffic.

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 commutes.

“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 traffic.

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 idling cars.

“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 emissions.

“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.