A report (really, an atlas of sorts) revealed that residents in certain neighborhoods are more likely to die at a younger age than those who live in other parts of town. The report cites, among other things, the lack of good sidewalks or any sidewalks, scant access to parks and high motor vehicle crashes with pedestrians and cyclists as contributors to the decreased life expectancy. The city plans to use the findings in preparing the city general plan, with officials hoping that the discovery can lead to a greater impetus in improving street spaces. The CSUN Transportation Tiger Team has been working on just such improvements for the northeast San Fernando Valley, which the report included as one of the neighborhoods with residents attaining a lower life expectancy.
Smart Growth America just released a new report ranking the strength of new Complete Streets policies passed by local communities in 2012. Three of the top 10 cities that conform to Complete Streets policies are in California: Hermosa Beach, Huntington Park, and Rancho Cucamonga. See the full list here.
Up north in Seattle, a group of “polite” bicycle advocates performed a do-it-yourself fix for a bike lane: Adding reflective pylons onto the line separating cars from bikes. Advocates politely claim that the fix is relatively inexpensive but can immeasurably enhance safety. Sadly, the Seattle DOT took down the pylons the very next day and politely explained that the pylons themselves pose a hazard to bicyclists. However, the DOT offered to politely return the pylons to the advocates if the latter so wish.
With a $6 billion bond proposal to repair LA streets resurfacing, Councilmembers Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino are doing the smart thing by announcing a series of meetings to collect public input. This could make for a great opportunity to advocate for complete streets and the implementation of the LA Bike Plan as part of street repaving. In any case, there is no denying that something must be done to bring our streets into a state of good repair, despite the fact that repaving them as scheduled would cost the city about $300 million a year.
We’ve all heard about bike boulevards, but bike freeways? That’s what bike infrastructure opponents in San Francisco are calling the latest proposal to install bike lanes on Polk Street. Specifically, proponents are fighting for the removal of curbside parking and replacing it with bike lanes and parklets. Proponents also cite the high number of bike crashes along the street, obviating the need for safety improvements. Opponents fear that removing parking would jeopardize businesses along the street.
After a brief hiatus, LA City Councilmembers revived a bond proposal that would fund street repairs. The previous call made earlier in the year was aborted since the neighborhood councils expressed concern that the proposal was hastily prepared with no public input. This time, however, Councilmembers Joe Buscaino and Mitch Englander are also adding public meetings so that the 95 neighborhood councils can weigh in on the issue. The public is also invited to give their two cents on the matter. Could this proposal serve as a Trojan horse to bring complete streets as well as repaved streets?