The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need!b Keep 'em coming... you all do such a great job at such Concepts... can't tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do! Business Loan
By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
For Stephen Box, it all began in the summer of 2005, when he was almost killed by a bus.
It was Bike Summer, a series of bicycle-related events all over Los Angeles, and Box and his wife, Enci, were riding their bikes home from a screening at the Echo Park Film Center. A bus passed Box, a little too close for comfort. When it pulled up to a stop, Box went around it. A few blocks later, the bus shot by him, and again Box overtook it.
Then he heard Enci scream. He looked to his left in time to see the bus bearing down on him. Panicking, he swerved, hopped the curb and crashed into some bushes.
OK, that's just wrong, Box thought to himself.
So he called the police. They referred him to the Sheriff's Department. The sheriffs told him to call the LAPD. He called them all, and then called Metro, which led nowhere. Then he called the region's biggest group of bicycle activists, the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, and even they didn't seem interested. It was as if the city as a whole genuinely didn't mind that a Metro bus driver had run a cyclist off the road.
"I'm not happy with the department of No," Box says.
That's when he became an activist.
After decades of neglect, L.A. is finally taking bike riders seriously, thanks in part to a mayor and City Council members who ride bicycles, but more because of activists like Box, who approach the issue with all the fervor and righteousness of civil rights marchers in the 1960s. They're challenging the car-centric culture that all but defines Los Angeles, and demanding a new vision.
"Clearly they've turned the corner from being the bad guy, disrupting traffic, being abused by cops, being run over by motorists without anything being done about it, to a movement that's being embraced by everyone from the mayor and council, to winning major concessions to policies they've advocated," says Ron Kaye, former editor of the Los Angeles Daily News, now a blogger and activist known for his vitriolic posts against city overspending.
In the process of complaining about poor treatment by motorists and policymakers, cyclists have learned how to navigate the ins and outs of city government. They've learned who and how to ask for what they want. They've learned how to get people to listen. And they could be the next big political force in a city government as dysfunctional as any out there.
On March 8, Box faces City Councilman Tom LaBonge in the Council District 4 race. If he forces LaBonge into a runoff in the three-way match, which also includes small businessman Tomas O'Grady, that would be a major upset. In Los Angeles City Hall, the last time an outsider beat a City Council incumbent was when slow-growther Ruth Galanter ousted pro-growther Pat Russell. That was in 1987.
But the bikeroots crowd has been producing a lot of surprises lately.
Despite L.A.'s climate and relatively flat topography, less than 1 percent of commuters bike to work in this city. The reasons: the roads, which aren't built to accommodate cyclists, and the culture, which revolves around the automobile.
Before the Model T, even before the Pacific Electric Railway, there was the California Cycleway, a 1.25-mile wooden turnpike lined with electric lights, that its creator hoped would one day connect Pasadena and Los Angeles — for bicycles only. The round-trip toll was 15 cents. But it didn't attract enough users to turn a profit, so the bike turnpike was torn down, making way for the northernmost part of the Arroyo Seco Parkway, California's first freeway (now the Pasadena Freeway or 110).
"If we could turn back the clock," LaBonge says, "there could have been bikeways down San Vicente, instead of coral trees. Mass transit, as well as bicycle routes. Shared space. A little like Europe. After World War II, during the reconstruction of Germany, they really thought about land use. They know how to deal with traffic and bicycles and pedestrians."
Instead, we got freeways, long, fat and monolithic, perhaps the most iconic structures in L.A. And we got streets, wide and gridlike. The city's streets and freeways are, by most accounts (studies by IBM and the Texas Transportation Institute, among others), the most congested in the nation. That congestion has set off a conflict among drivers, transit riders and cyclists over L.A.'s most fought-over resource: its hundreds of miles of pavement.
In the 1990s, everyone knew everyone else among L.A.'s small population of serious bicyclists. One of them was Joe Linton, a Zeligesque figure in the bike community who seemed to know every other person riding a bicycle and, like the movie character, kept popping up at key moments. "There were a lot of lone-wolf activists in L.A.," Linton recalls.
L.A. resident Ron Milam was 22 and just out of college, with a degree in urban planning when the California Bike Coalition, a Sacramento-based lobbying group, approached him about starting a similar group in Los Angeles. Milam turned to Linton, 13 years his senior, for help. They met for sandwiches at Doughboys in Mid-City.
"Do you think there's gonna be enough to do?" Milam asked Linton.
"Oh yeah," Linton said. "There'll be plenty."
And so Milam and Linton founded the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition and, over the next five years, the group scored a number of victories: new bike lanes on Silver Lake Boulevard, the protection of threatened bike lanes on Venice Boulevard, the adding of bike racks to the fronts of Metro buses. More than anything, the active bicyclists voiced their opinions at all kinds of public meetings. There weren't many in attendance — but then again, there weren't many cyclists.
In 2002, a bike messenger named Jimmy Lizama installed a dozen or so bike racks in an empty room at L.A. Eco Village, a housing co-op where he lived near Vermont Avenue and First Street in Koreatown. People from the co-op started using the kitchen to fix their bicycles.
"It quickly spilled out into the hallway and into the street, in the lobby," recalls Linton, who has lived in Eco Village for years. "It was like a cross between a bar and a bike shop."
Thus the Bicycle Kitchen was born: a nonprofit collective for building and maintaining bicycles. "It went from this one guy to a lot of people in two or three months," Linton says.
In 2005, shortly before Bike Summer, the Kitchen moved to a storefront on Heliotrope Drive, near Los Angeles Community College. Hipsters in rolled-up, skintight jeans waited to work on their brightly colored fixed-gear bicycles. What had begun as a DIY, anticapitalist hobby was becoming a fashion statement.
Some of the old guard embraced the youth culture. After all, they were cyclists, too.
"I thought it was the coolest thing on the planet," Linton says.
Alex Thompson went on his first group ride in 2004. He borrowed his roommate's rusted Italian 10-speed, which had been sitting in the grass for God knows how long, and met about 15 people at Santa Monica Pier.
"They were all pretty friendly," says Thompson, who'd just moved to Los Angeles to study for his Ph.D. in math. "I'd been hanging out at the bar scene, and with mathematicians. And this was, like — mathematicians are weird, but this was another kind of weird."
Every ride seemed bigger than the last. In February 2005, Thompson went on a Critical Mass ride with 60 people. Then one Friday night, he met a couple hundred cyclists at the Pioneer Chicken in Silver Lake for a ride called Midnight Ridazz.
"The hipster scene took note of Midnight Ridazz — and that was what built it to its first crescendo," Thompson says.
The group rides proved to be a galvanizing force. Box calls it a party on wheels. "There's a shift from, like, 60 people to 200 people. There's a shift in what it feels like," Thompson says. "People call it the mob mentality, but there's a different feeling when you're in a group. Like, the human brain is just different."
Midnight Ridazz became a behemoth. Because the point was to stay together, organizers began the controversial practice of "corking" at intersections. In corking, cyclists block all cars from crossing their path while the bike swarm passes.
As the rides swelled to more than 1,000 people in the summer of 2006, L.A. motorists could find themselves stopped for many minutes at a time, watching traffic lights turn from green to red over and over while bicyclists streamed by.
The LAPD started ticketing, and even handcuffing and detaining, cyclists. Some had run red lights and been drinking alcohol, while others seemed to have been deemed guilty by association. Drivers started hitting bikers. Bikers started protesting what they saw as their shabby treatment. Why were streets presumed to be owned by cars?
"Everybody is a pacifist until they get run over," Box says.
They ran into red tape — the same red tape Box had encountered when he was run off the road. And many bikers responded just as Box had, by organizing. What started as a party on wheels was becoming a movement.
You wouldn't think Stephen Box is 53. Until a recent makeover, he could be spotted in his trademark Dickies shirt, which, he claims, he got for free while working on a Fred Durst video. Or you'd see him at City Hall in his brown suede jacket, flat cap, white iPhone earbuds draped around his neck, thick Fu Manchu goatee and thin gold-hoop earring. He looked like some beatnik refugee or coffee-shop vagrant.
And then there's his energy. He talks so fast it often sounds as if he's saying more than one word at the same time. He's on the boards of Sustainable Streets, Bikeside (Thompson's nonprofit), the Bike Writers collective, the L.A. Bike Working Group and the Transit Coalition. He's also a part of the Cyclists/LAPD task force and Budget L.A. He's a volunteer firefighter — his unit was the first to respond to the 2007 Griffith Park fire. The volunteers got there before the city trucks could because they biked.
"Along the way we realized we need to replace the word no with more affirmative action," he says.
Box was born in Mackay, Queensland, Australia. His parents are pastors of the Church of the Nazarene, an evangelical Christian denomination. In 1965, when Box was 7, he, his parents and his sister moved to Nampa, Idaho, so his parents could attend Northwest Nazarene College.
When his mother and father graduated, the family moved to Kansas City, then to California. They drove west on the 10 freeway, just as L.A. smog was at its eye-watering, thick, brown peak in the 1970s, before the Los Angeles Basin's air was dramatically improved by catalytic converters and smog controls. As he looked out the window at the suburban morass and the murky air, Box couldn't help but think, This is California? Where are all the palm trees?
"Two weeks after we moved to Glendora," he recalls, "we hear my mother scream. She was at the kitchen, at the sink, and she screams, and we run in there, thinking she cut herself. And she had just seen the foothills for the first time. They're so big, because they're right there at Glendora, but we hadn't seen them for two weeks because of the smog."
It took Box 46 years to become a U.S. citizen, which he did in 2010 for a specific purpose: to run for Los Angeles City Council.
One of the most damning criticisms of the 15 council members, the highest paid in the U.S. at $178,789 a year — 400 percent of the average L.A. household income — is that they oversee their districts like feudal lords, with more than 300 personal staffers, while their time is largely occupied by parochial minutiae instead of, say, developing citywide policy or planning new infrastructure.
If you have a pothole on your street, why wait for Street Services? Jump ahead of others by seeking a favor from your council member. And if the council member thinks you can help — say he or she faces a development battle and needs to fill seats with "stakeholders" — your potholes stand a good chance of being filled in a city that admits it's about 50 years behind on road repairs.
"I don't think we should be running 15 gatekeepers who deliver buckets of asphalt to people who know how to ask for it," Box says. "This'll be a great city when we stop reacting to complaints and start addressing standards."
Addressing standards would be a radical new way of thinking by the City Council. Box says, "When that happens, life as you know it will change."
Box is running against LaBonge, 57, who is widely seen as an energetic, likable booster for L.A. — and, like many of the 14 other council members, an intellectual lightweight.
"His lack of understanding, having any clue about the policies he votes for ... " Ron Kaye says. "His competence as a legislator is nonexistent."
Seven incumbents running for City Council on March 8 enjoy countless advantages, not least of which is delivering these special personal favors to constituents, including cash gifts drawn from a $90,000 annual slush fund controlled by each council member. A new candidate like Box could never tap such riches.
In L.A., such gifts and fast-tracking of requests that move certain residents and neighborhoods to the front of the line are called "constituent services." On the East Coast, it's called "patronage." But it's paid for by taxpayers, just the same. Outsiders like Box and Tomas O'Grady can't funnel such cash and favors to residents. LaBonge and the other six incumbents up for re-election can.
Another big advantage for L.A. incumbents: Though no candidate can accept more than $500 per donor, big unions and other groups can spend without limit. They pour vast sums into campaigns to protect incumbents via "independent expenditures" that pay for mailers, phone banks, billboards, door-to-door campaigning — even vans to ferry voters to the polls.
So far, Box has raised $34,170, O'Grady $48,242 and LaBonge more than $150,000. O'Grady and Box have done better than most of the other 14 challengers taking on seven incumbents citywide on March 8. (The race for Council District 12 in the Valley is wide open because incumbent Greig Smith is voluntarily — and unusually — leaving before term limits are up.)
The only March 8 candidate spending serious money to take on an incumbent is Rudy Martinez, a cast member of A&E's Flip This House. Martinez is challenging Jose Huizar in the Eastside's Council District 14, where he's scaring the bejesus out of Huizar, having poured $150,000 of his own money into his race. (See L.A .Weekly's Dec. 2 story, "Rudy Martinez vs. Los Angeles City Hall.")
"When you go to City Hall — we use the back door," Box says, referring to the public entryway in the back of the building, used since City Hall's grand, white-stepped entrance was closed in the wake of 9/11. "I want a fucking concierge."
Not long after he got run off the road by Metro, Box decided to run for a seat on the board of the countywide L.A. Bicycle Coalition. It wasn't a good fit.
The first thing Box did was criticize the L.A. Department of Transportation's remake of Santa Monica Boulevard — a stretch of landscaping, high walls and additional traffic signals between Beverly Glen and Westwood Boulevard.
Ever since LADOT completed those pricey "improvements," which it labeled a transit parkway, traffic on those blocks of Santa Monica Boulevard has nearly ground to a halt for hours each weekday.
Box was told by other cyclists that by criticizing the design for Santa Monica Boulevard, he could jeopardize the Bicycle Coalition's grant from LADOT. Box wanted to know: "Do we work for the [city]? Or the cycling community?"
Many activists also felt the L.A. Bicycle Coalition was too satisfied with the status quo. Dan Gutierrez, who left the countywide group in 1999, says, "I don't want to be involved in an organization if they're taking money from some of the organizations they're supposed to be influencing."
Jennifer Klausner, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition, responds, "It's very typical for groups that take on social change to not agree on everything. Maybe they should sit down and talk to me about budgeting. I'm trying to run a nonprofit here."
But Thompson complains that Klausner's organization does more harm than good: "I'm working for free, and I'm spending my time cleaning up work that [the coalition] do while they're on the clock."
In 2006, new, more radical organizations popped up in L.A. Bikeside, started by Thompson, does not accept tax-deductible donations, so unlike the L.A. Bicycle Coalition, his group is free to lobby and participate in politics.
Its slogan is "Resistance is futile."
"We're not afraid of uncompromising rhetoric," Thompson says.
On Bikeside's blog, he has devoted energy to attacking Michelle Mowery, LADOT's project coordinator for bicycles. Despite being an avid cyclist, Mowery is pilloried by activists, who call her Dr. No.
"It's been very difficult for her," says Chris Kidd, an assistant of Mowery's. "For me personally, there's been no greater advocate for bicycles than Michelle, but she's working under a lot of constraints by the city."
Linton, meanwhile, offers some backhanded sympathy on Mowery: "I think of her like a battered wife — pitiful, apologetic, not able to get traction. She's been neutered by the huge forces bearing down on her."
Box, who calls the LADOT "a fortress of status quo, a culture of obstacle, the land of no," started blogging on SoapBoxLA at around the same time that Thompson started writing for Bikeside's blog. At the time, Box suggested creating an organization of bike bloggers.
"We thought, 'Well, we're all writing about the same pothole. What if we put our efforts together?' " he says.
The Bike Writers Collective was founded by about a dozen people, including Enci and Box, Thompson and blogdowntown founder Eric Richardson.
"No one gives you respect at first in politics," Thompson says. "You have to prove you have clout. I think that group got really effective really fast because we were very well-spoken on the issues, and I think that comes from writing."
In 2008, the friends drafted the Cyclist's Bill of Rights, a list of 12 rights, including:
Cyclists have the right to travel safely and free of fear.
Cyclists have the right to equal access to our public streets and to sufficient and significant road space.
Cyclists have the right to the full support of educated law enforcement.
"The Cyclist's Bill of Rights was the first shot over the bow that said, 'We're here, we're pissed off, and we need to fix things,' " says Ted Rogers, who blogs for BikingInLA.
But the list of rights might never have gone further if not for a horrifying incident later that year, on July 4, 2008, in the exclusive Westside neighborhood of Mandeville Canyon.
Mandeville Canyon Road is a five-mile street in Brentwood that begins at Sunset Boulevard and climbs north to a dead end. For years, there's been a division between those who live at the top and the bottom, formalized by the Mandeville Canyon Association and the Upper Mandeville Canyon Association.
"The Upper Mandevillians hated the lower Mandevillians," Box says.
Residents at the top sped in their cars down the long, unbroken street. So residents toward the bottom got somebody at City Hall to install speed bumps. In protest against this action by their neighbors, cars heading uphill honked as they passed over the bumps.
The canyon road is favored by cyclists for its arduous uphill climb, followed by an exhilarating shot down without stop signs. But the growing number of cyclists irked the Mandevillians, who were already irked by each other.
Ron Peterson and Christian Stoehr were among the 300 riders who comprised a July Fourth group ride along Mandeville Canyon in 2008. They were just starting their descent, riding side by side downhill at 30 mph, when an Infiniti sedan pulled up behind them, honked and sped up to pass them.
According to Peterson, the driver shouted profanity and ordered them to ride single-file. Peterson cursed back. Then, without warning, the driver cut in front of the bicyclists and slammed on his brakes. Peterson's bicycle slammed into the back of the Infiniti at full speed and Peterson was severely injured when his head crashed through the rear window. Stoehr tried to swerve but clipped the car, sending him flying to the pavement.
Box broke the story the following Monday morning in a guest post for the widely read LAist.com. It was picked up by LA.streetsblog.org, SoCalCycling.com and the L.A. Times' Bottleneck blog. A cell phone photo of a bloody Peterson lying on a gurney added weight to the story.
His nose had been broken so badly, it was almost detached from his face, and some of his broken teeth were found in the Infiniti's backseat.
The story spread, and when the L.A. Times printed it, it quoted City Councilman Bill Rosendahl as saying, "Cyclists have the right to travel safely and free of fear."
It was a direct quote from the Cyclist's Bill of Rights.
"Cyclists were relentless," Box recalls. "We went to the courthouse. We pummeled [people with] the bill of rights, the photos. All of a sudden you've got a council member holding it up."
The driver, Dr. Christopher Thompson, was charged with mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon and, in January 2010, sentenced to five years in prison.
The Bike Writers now had a new goal: Get the City Council to adopt the Cyclist's Bill of Rights. They spread out to various neighborhood councils, seeking their endorsement — and that led to a surprising new power platform for bicyclists. Alex Thompson began regularly attending Mar Vista Community Council meetings, and eventually ran for a seat. He won.
By 2009, Los Angeles neighborhood councils were peppered with bike activists: Thompson in Mar Vista, Glenn Bailey in Encino, Joe Linton in Rampart, Jeff Jacobburger in Mid-City. Box was hired by the city as a contractor to oversee a number of neighborhood council elections.
This job led Box to play a featured role in the grassroots citywide campaign against 2009's Measure B, the controversial bid by the Department of Water and Power to control much of the solar power–installation industry in L.A.
Remarkably, bloggers, activists and neighborhood council leaders convinced normally disinterested L.A. municipal voters to reject the DWP power play. The little-guy opponents stopped Measure B, while being outspent by $1.5 million to just $65,000.
The victory cemented an alliance between Box and a group of budget-restraint advocates and City Hall watchdogs, such as Jack Humphreville, who blogs at CityWatchLA.com, and former newspaperman Kaye, who blogs at RonKayeLA.com.
Humphreville and Kaye are far different from bicycle advocates — they're older, less liberal and, for the most part, skeptical of a vision of Los Angeles that isn't car-centric. But Box has won them over on the issue of making allowances for bicycles by finding common ground.
Five years after Box got run off the road, 2010 was a watershed. In August, the city launched new bicycle-awareness posters aimed at motorists: "Give Me 3" — as in three feet of space.
But at about the same time, without public notice, the city's Department of Transportation turned four-lane-wide Wilbur Avenue in the San Fernando Valley into a two-lane street with bike lanes.
Northridge residents erupted in anger over the immediate congestion caused by removing a car lane in each direction. Initially, the LADOT denied it was behind the Wilbur Avenue project.
As anger grew, LADOT admitted it purposely reconfigured Wilbur Avenue without telling residents. Known as a "road diet," the removal of traffic lanes was intended to slow cars passing a middle school in the area, regardless of the congestion it can create. LADOT assistant general manager John Fisher explained to Box on CityWatch that its large city staff "had no time for outreach" to let Northridge residents know what was going on.
LADOT's screw-you attitude to Northridge locals was so distressing to bicycle activists that a rumor swept the blogs that City Hall, by not explaining the road diet's purpose, was trying to turn Valley residents against more bike lanes in L.A.
But on Sunday, Oct. 10, something amazing happened: Tens of thousands of people turned out for CicLAvia, during which seven and a half miles of L.A. surface streets were closed to cars and a pleasing, yet odd, silence descended in which no engines or car tire noise could be heard — only cyclists laughing and calling out to each other.
"There was a feeling of euphoria," says Adonia Lugo, the organizer of CicLAvia, who got the idea for the event while at a Bogota, Colombia, bicycling event known as Ciclovia. When she came home to L.A., she worked to re-create it here, as did members of the Bicycle Coalition, Green L.A. and Linton.
"We'd say 'San Francisco' and 'Bogota,' and people would look at us and say, 'Oh, this is L.A. and we're different,' " Linton recalls. "Police and LADOT looked at us like they expected the event to be small. We expected 10,000."
Instead, they drew multiples of that figure. "It argues that there's a kind of 'If you build it they will come' that's missing in L.A. urbanism," Linton says.
Another victory came when the Los Angeles City Planning Commission rejected the Draft Bike Plan, a 433-page blueprint for City Hall's accommodation of bicycles.
Activists like Thompson, Linton and Box were outraged by what seemed like lip service: frequent mention of "bicycle-friendly streets" in the blueprint, meaning nothing more than a few signs with bicycles on them. And the plan did not mention the Cyclist's Bill of Rights.
At the City Planning meeting on Nov. 4, bike activists presented a united front: Bikeside, Midnight Ridazz, the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, the Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Bicycle Kitchen were all in rare agreement.
The plan was reworked by activists working side by side with city officials. It adopts the Backbone Bikeway network, a Bike Writers hobbyhorse for some time, which designates several heavily congested commuter routes such as Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard as bike-friendly.
"I think we found a way to get along," says Thompson. "For the time being."
Four months ago, in room 1313, high in the space age–looking Caltrans building built across from City Hall, a rather odd meeting is taking place. Spread on a long, wooden table are architectural blueprints that contain proposed changes to the 405 freeway and other roads in the Sepulveda Pass.
The 405 is getting new carpool lanes, and Caltrans is adding a three-and-a-half-mile reversible lane down the center of commuter-crammed Sepulveda Boulevard.
Gathered around the table are transportation bureaucrats from the city and state, as well as members of the 405 design team, each with their leather-bound notebooks.
The odd part is the three others present: Alex Thompson, Dan Gutierrez and Stephen Box. And the three don't like what they see.
"If you're coming from the west and approaching this area," Box says, hunched over a blueprint of Sunset where it crosses Sepulveda via a bridge, "you're not gonna see things as we're looking at now."
"You're gonna need to make two anticipatory merges," Gutierrez says.
"Why do you have to turn right here?" Thompson asks. "Why isn't it right and possibly through?"
"We can look at it ... " says a reluctant Jose Valle, a contractor. He looks as if he'd rather be anywhere but here.
"It's a bit late to be having this conversation," says one member of the design team.
"It's never too late," says Box, smiling brightly.
Here, in this room, after years of indifference if not outright hostility toward bicyclists, city officials are asking for their input. They may not be buying the advice, but they're asking.
"It is a sign," Thompson says later, "that we're able to pull the 405 contractors to the table. That's a sign of growth. We wouldn't have gotten that meeting a year ago."
Then, on the first Thursday of 2011, Box officially launched his campaign for City Council. His wife and campaign manager, Enci, and more than two dozen volunteers and friends packed into a lime–green room at Hollywood Rent-a-Car, which serves as Box's campaign headquarters.
Some guests couldn't help but do a double take as Box walked in. Gone was his trademark thick goatee and earring. He was clean-shaven, wearing a gray suit and a silver tie. He looked like a kid showing up for his first job interview at a law office.
Box's campaign is a long shot. But if he does well, coming in second and forcing LaBonge into a runoff if the longtime pol gets less than 50 percent of the vote — or simply gaining enough votes to garner press for the power of bicycling — it will herald the arrival of a new grassroots movement, capable of upsetting a historically inert City Hall.
Correction: The original posting said the California Cycleway was 9 miles long. In fact, it wasn't completed between Pasadena and Los Angeles, and was 1.25 miles long.
The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need!b Keep 'em coming... you all do such a great job at such Concepts... can't tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do! Business Loan
In the mean time:
We have an update Bicycle Advocate Stephen Box:
Mr. Box failed to disclose the multiple judgments recorded against him that belie this characterization
: SIX liens in the past ten years, including at least two state and one federal tax lien.
This is the man to lead our city out of it's fiscal crisis???
Box also promises a "rose garden" of sorts on private property of Hollywood and Garfield as an Armenian Genocide Memorial Park is like planting weeds and false promises! We are not stupid
Thank You Mayor Antonio Villaragossa for approving 1680 miles of bicycle trails in LA. You are the MAYOR of vision, sensibility and practicle a mayor with a vision for what this growing community needs. Personally I take the blue line to LA just to enjoy the city more than being in a car
Thank you MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAGOSSA for you genreous consideration to ceate 1600+ miles of Bicycle roots You are the MAN!!! A man of vision, sensibility and practicle
Wow sorry, but you understand,most car trips occur in five miles of home. And i think that if you are a typical driver your average speed is 19 miles an hour. Cars were a good idea a hundred years ago when there weren't any. But today we spent hours looking for parking and waiting in traffic.
For a large portion of your personal transportation needs a bicycle your best choice. I am not saying never drive just to sell one of the family cars and buy new bikes. Spend between $700 and $1500 apiece. Get something with commuting in mind, fenders, baskets, comfortable upright handle bars and fat smooth tyres with a wide range of gears. get a bike for every one in your family. Kids ride to school!!The groceries for the days meals go in the basket on your new bike.
Bicycles get the caloric equivalent of 1000 miles per gallon of gas. They run on food, make people smile, and help us meet our neighbors. Right now most of the streets in Los Angles are empty and the roads we know the names of are full of cars, even if you are reading this at midnight the streets are like that. So we ride the bikes in the empty streets we don't know the names of. Yes we run stop signs but very rarely harm any thing.
The reason for stop signs is cars. Cars are dangerous. The many ton and monstrously powerful automobile will kill you. Respectful and Responsible cyclist treat stop signs as yields. lights for cyclists are stop signs. That is the law in the enlightened state of Idaho!
The first paved roads were paved for and buy cyclists this was in the 1890's. Every cyclist is one less car. Gas is going over $4.00 and the people in the middle east may well decide not to send us anymore.
Your car is not freedom. It is a trap. Your car robs you of money and time. Add up the cost; car-payments, insurance, maintenance, gas, parking, social isolation, emotional tax, rage.
Bicycles make people happy
Hope to see you smiling soon
wow Jim.. too many untrue "facts" in your post. Maybe in YOUR neighborhood the average trip is 5 miles @ 19 mph, but not in mine or I dare say many others in LA. Most people commute well in excess of 5 miles just to work. btw.. you got any sources for all these stats you seem to pull out of your keister?What do you think settled this country? Bicyclists? heh sure. Very few businesses/industries could function on just bicycle power.Bikes were barely around the US in the 1800s and certainly not in any kind of mass production. Horse & buggy were the primary mode of transportation in those days. FACT!Roads and highways were built to serve their needs and later those of the motoring public, not to accommodate any massive bicycle traffic of the time.
In a prefect utopian world, bicycles would be a mode of choice for many people, but then they would be limited by range, weather, number of passengers and small details like the ability to carry loads & equipment.
And make no mistake bicycles do cost money to operate and maintain just like cars. There is a cost/benefit analysis for both. Like I said in my prior post, BOTH have their application & place.
As far as "a car being a trap", a bike also traps you in other ways by limiting your range and conditions when you can use one.Just try biking to Mammoth this weekend for some good skiing if you doubt my point. Or maybe you feel you should be able to bike on ski slopes too.
As for your statement ==> "Yes we run stop signs but very rarely harm any thing". <==Thats just plain stupid. And goes a long way towards destroying any credibility you had. And YES a bike running a stop sign can cause injury, property damage and maybe even deaths just like cars running stop signs would.
The rules of the road are in place for EVERYONE that uses the public roads so that very rarely are things harmed, not the other way around. You want to be treated with the same respect as those (evil) cars and buses, yet freely admit you don't obey the most basic rules of the road. Geez, who would have seen that coming?
DinahThe first of March is coming,when it gets here wright down your odometer reading keep track of the time you spend in your car and at the end of the month see how fast you went. When i did that my speed was 19 miles an hour. You need to include sitting in traffic and driving around the block looking for parking. As for distance my 5 mile figure is a radius and therefore round trips avarage 6 to 10 miles just google it or better yet while keeping tract of time spent in your car see how far from home are. Why do most accidents happen within five miles of home??I never said to stop driving just to use a bicycle when it is the best choice. We do not live in a black and white world. Stop signs and traffic lights were invented for and because of cars. Bicycles are not cars and are empirically different. No harm no foulBy the way if you are fit enough to ski you can use a bike.
Still waiting to see you smile
"Horse & buggy were the primary mode of transportation in those days. FACT!Roads and highways were built to serve their needs and later those of the motoring public, not to accommodate any massive bicycle traffic of the time."
Roads yes, but not PAVED roads, big distinction. The League of American Bicyclists was instrumental in getting roads paved. You really need to read up on this.
"As for your statement ==> "Yes we run stop signs but very rarely harm any thing". <== Thats just plain stupid. And goes a long way towards destroying any credibility you had. And YES a bike running a stop sign can cause injury, property damage and maybe even deaths just like cars running stop signs would."
False equivalency. Common sense wins here.The degree of harm potential is WAY lower for a bike rolling a stop sign. In many places bikes are allowed to treat stop signs like yield signs. Certainly the cops recognize this and enforce accordingly. There's many legitimate reasons to expect a big car to come to a complete stop: They are heavy and can accelerate fast and their view is blocked by pillars.
The larger issue here is that the "scofflaw cyclists" argument is a sure loser and it's never brought up in good faith. You're clearly not interested in bikes being on the streets, so you bring it up as if it were a reason. I've never heard anyone throwing a fit about the stop signs drivers roll all the time while cyclists apparently have to answer for the sins of any fool who throws his leg over a bike!
"Just try biking to Mammoth this weekend for some good skiing if you doubt my point. Or maybe you feel you should be able to bike on ski slopes too."
I have a car, yes, and I like using it for road trips. But I like getting around the city on bike and transit and I think it should be encouraged. It's not an all or nothing proposition, as I keep stating.
(Funny you should mention slopes, because a lot of ski resorts are turned into downhill mountain biking sites during the summer.)
and one other thing. traffic lights were IVENTED to regulate car traffic. if we didnt have cars we could save BILLIONS on energy and infrastructure just to support you lazy fucks who need socialized subsidies just so your soft creempuff butts can mosey around to the box store to by more candy and junk food.
he's not talking about trips to work dumbo. he's talking about ALL car trips some 50% of which are shorter than 5 miles which could, easily, be done by bicycle. Like they do in the Netherlands where 50% of ALL trips are by bicycle. LA is flat and has umpteen times better weather than the Netherlands. people here would easily switch if there were safer streets to roll on. that would free up A LOT of space for the long distance commuters who pour into town from 10-30 miles out. eventually there should be subways and light rail along all the freeways to encourage even more commuters out of the dead end car cycle. It would also help curb the OBESITY rate amongs our population. These fatso roll everywhere in their lounge chair vehicles blabbing on their phones sipping mocha frapuccinos with extra pumps of syrup for that ass and 20 years from now will need walmart scooters to hall them from the driveway to the sofa with a bag of chips! america! fuck yeah! bunch of creempuffs! meet my thighs bitches!
First of all, it's not just a car, it's your freedom. Try commuting 50 or 100 miles a day on a bicycle, regularly with kids, groceries & whatnot.Bikes can only be ridden by a small percentage of the general public and is conditional upon loads, health & weather issues. Public transportation (albeit slow) and (shudder) cars are the preferred mode of transportation for an overwhelming percentage of peoples living in the LA area. Bicycle riding while fun, is in no way practical or feasible for most persons. So why should bicycles be afforded the exact same transportation preferences as cars and buses? Should 1000 cars and 20 bikers be equal in their access to city streets?ESPECIALLY since virtually ALL bicycle riders refuse to obey even the most basic rules of the road, like stopping for stop signs (THIS), signaling turns, yielding the road and obeying speed limits. Bicycle activists seem to feel that they are an entitled class not subject to the established rules of the road, especially those that bike in the 'trendy' areas of town. Interrupting traffic and other fascist power plays do not endure their cause one bit to the general public. Bicyclists complain when they come out on the losing end of a collision with a bus or car, yet they are the ones in most instances that are forcing these altercations. Any bicyclist colliding with a large predictable city bus elicits no sympathy from me.There needs to be a common sense balanced approach to transportation access. Roads and streets weren't invented for bicycling, but rather for the automobiles and buses. There are plenty of bike paths and parks for bicycling enthusiasts to enjoy all over LA. Would you want cars & buses driving around in city parks, on the mountain trails or along the beach? Of course not. There is a place for everything and everything in it's place. Common sense tells you this. But if you disagree with the bike activists, off with your head.
"First of all, it's not just a car, it's your freedom."
Did you pick that up from a car commercial? Private cars are the most socialized and subsidized form of transit there is. Those license and gas taxes don't begin to cover all the maintenance that's needed for roads. That comes out of the general fund. Gas prices are kept artificially low through oil wars and massive subsidies. Socialized transportation, get it?
"But if you disagree with the bike activists, off with your head."
STRAW MAN ALERT. Most bike advocates aren't the all-or-nothing types you want to portray.
"Try commuting 50 or 100 miles a day on a bicycle, regularly with kids, groceries & whatnot."
Guess what: Most people don't have that ridiculous kind of commute, even in sprawling L.A.! And if you do than no one is suggesting that you ride a bike all the way except your straw man.
"Roads and streets weren't invented for bicycling."
Nope, roads in this country were first paved for bikes. Cars came after. See any history book.
"Bicycle riding while fun, is in no way practical or feasible for most persons."
Partly due to bad urban planning that assumes that only private cars should be used to travel in a city. If you have that typical "bikes are sporting equipment, nothing more" attitude and shunt yourself from that possibility, it won't be. But plenty of people make it work just fine and it's convenient for them. Again, it's not all or nothing. Most car trips are under five miles. Many commutes are as well. Nobody is asking you to give up your car tomorrow, just realize that bikes can be practical for many circumstances.
"Interrupting traffic and other fascist power plays do not endure their cause one bit to the general public."
Bikes ARE traffic, they don't "interrupt" it. The only "fascist power plays" are the ones in your head.
"ESPECIALLY since virtually ALL bicycle riders refuse to obey even the most basic rules of the road, like stopping for stop signs (THIS), signaling turns, yielding the road and obeying speed limits."
Ah, the classic "scofflaw cyclists" fallacy. It's easy to cherry-pick and concentrate on the bad apples on bikes. After all, motorists never break laws. The reason why motorists are held to a higher standard and regulations is simple: CARS ARE DANGEROUS. Run a stop sign in a car or lose control while going too fast and you can kill someone to wreck another car. A cyclist breaking a law simply doesn't have the same potential for harm.
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Reading through the article and various comments, it's astounding that the argument that really should be at the core of the issue is almost entirely missing. The single largest and most significant issue of our generation - global overheating (along with our outsized contribution to it as US residents) - should be the first thing that comes to mind when discussing alternatives to the internal combustion engine running of carbon emitting fossil fuels. We need to put aside the irrelevant differences in lifestyle choices - in the guise of rights for those who prefer to cycle instead of drive (and I'm one)- and our national fascination with convenience - in the guise of commentary on congestion and travel time - and face up the the fact that we all need to drastically reduce our carbon emissions, and we need to start now. That's the real and most compelling reason to move away from reliance on the private automobile, and it trumps all the others.The dominance of the private automobile came about through nation-wide policy choices, which continue to this day. Fossil fuel reliance is a heavily subsidized process, at literally every stage, from extraction to processing to delivery to consumption. The private automobile enjoys and has enjoyed public subsidies throughout as well. To end its dominance, we need to think larger than bike lanes and street designations. If we're serious about the issue, the _smallest_level we should address is a citywide reduction of speed limits on 35 mph streets to 25 mph. This would instantly make alternative - and less carbon intensive - modes of transport more competitive, and it would offset some of the many subsidies that the private auto and fossil fuel combustion currently enjoy. We should also advocate for different traffic rules for cyclists, along the lines of the Idaho laws. We need to end the financial incentives for private auto ownership, development of suburban sprawl, and fossil fuels. In an era where local and national government is cash-strapped, this, were it not for deep levels of ignorance and indoctrination, should have instant popular appeal. The public currently owns a large part of GM. In 1942, when we didn't own any part at all, we forced it to change its production line entirely, and it did so in around 6 months. Why can't we force it now to stop producing SUVs and convert to hybrid public transportation vehicles?In sum, we as cyclists do ourselves and the public a disservice when we continue with the same thinking that is used to reinforce car culture, just with different content. When we emphasize our different "cool" lifestyle choice, or when we emphasize the convenience of cycling, or when we go on and on about "safety", we've adopted the talking points of car culture, which for decades has been hammering home exactly the same points.
Global Warming is a farce. Junk science. It is based on deliberately skewed interpretations of scientific data, put forth by social activists with an agenda to control all human activity.
...and Climate Change is Natural :
HERE are the 100 reasons, released in a dossier issued by the European Foundation, why climate change is natural and not man-made:
1) There is “no real scientific proof” that the current warming is caused by the rise of greenhouse gases from man’s activity.
99 more... http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/...
Despite all the non-constructive criticism posted about this article, I have to say that it is a damned sight better than the pablum we are fed in San Diego. Our free newspaper (the San Diego Reader) ran a cover story recently on our growing cycling scene. It was poorly written with mechanical errors and faulty research. The writer failed to interview the right people. The overall effect was to perpetuate the negative stereotypes of cyclists and drive a wedge further between cyclists and the car-bound public. The overall tone was one of confrontation rather than of peaceful coexistence. So as an outsider I congratulate Hillel on a well-researched, well-balanced, and well-written article.
I ride for leisure. I also have dealt with the dangers of drivers vs. riders. One thing I will not tolerate is bikes on Griffith Park bridal trails. You see, I also trail run and was almost hit by an illegal trail rider on two occasions. What is Box's view on legalizing bikes on the local trails? Labonge seems to say "no."
All these comments make the assumption that bikes get ridden on the street. So this morning I counted the bicycles on the streets and the ones on the sidewalks on Western between Sunset and Hollywood blvds between 8am to 9 am. 47 on the sidewalks. 7 on the street. The real danger of bikes is to pedestrians on sidewalks. I know I have been hit 33 times in the last 5 years by bicycles and the law says no bicyles on the sidewalks. I have never seen a ticket being given to a bicyclist for riding on the sidewalk.
I agree, sidewalk cycling is dangerous and that's why we should do what we can to make the streets more welcoming to cyclists.
Riding on sidewalks is statistically far more dangerous than riding on the street. Drivers approaching from side streets and driveways are not looking for bicycles on the sidewalk. Sidewalk riding also reinforces the misconception many motorists suffer from, namely that bicycles should be ridden on sidewalks and do not belong in the street with cars.
James, LA City Municipal Code disagrees with you. Riding bicycles on the sidewalk is legal in Los Angeles when not done "with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property" (LAMC 56.15). If you'd like to find out more information on the legality of sidewalk riding in LA County, read here:http://ladotbikeblog.wordpress...
Don't know why,
but it seemed that information is incorrect regarding a bicycle accident regarding Mr. Box, as we found this:
"Last week Enci Box, who seems to be a magnet for bus drivers who don't understand the concept of sharing the road, run her into the curb"
what was this article about?boring. just was curious to why box gets the love from the weekly.because he is a cycling enthusiast? so are the other candidates. has box ever voted here? you may not like labonge but consider this: he is a doer.he is always working,helping out constituents,getting things done.he loves his job and our city.he doesn't sit around thinking of intellectual things to say.sheesh.i still have no idea why either candidate would be a better representitive of our district than labonge. shady,biased reporting.
This article really saddens me - and misses so much of the dynamic community of Los Angeles. I look forward to the day when people talk about the livable/bikable/walkalbe streets movement - it recognizes and respects all the many more than hundreds and hundreds of people who have been working on this one way to make their own communities better.
The Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition is an amazing organization - continually getting stronger and stronger every year. This article really seems to miss that sentiment. It's really undeserved.
Bicycling in Los Angeles is more than just about fit men - it's about people from all ages, abilities, language and economic backgrounds - this article really bummed me out in its limited viewpoint.
I truly appreciate the many people I see out in my community using transit, biking to work, walking to the store, walking their kids to school, working for public agencies, non-profits, volunteering in their spare time - and more. Thanks to all those people -- who are definitely due a lot recognition.
Stephen Box and Alex Thompson in front of a green screen. Then superimposed over LA's recent bike history. Events they had nothing to do with but take credit for anyway. This article is the Forrest Gump of cycling in LA.
The article is supposed to be about bicycles and Tom LaBonge but nowhere is it mentioned that LaBonge is an avid cyclist and has organized dozens of family bike rides in every neighborhood in his district.
Instead of writing why Mr Box, the object of the writer's admiration,might do a better job than LaBonge, a lot of ink is spilled to tell us why Thompson/Box are better/smarter than all the other bike advocates put together.
Another hack piece at the new non-union LA Weekly.
I was thinking the EXACT SAME THING! I was really getting bored with the story. At first I wondered why anyone would chase after a bus which is huge compared to a bike. It seemed it would have been easier to write down the plate number and go from there. Good Grief...I think this Box guy is trying to kiill himself in order to be a martyr. I remember that bus incident...and thought it was his wife that almost got killed?? Who knows. The story was a complete waste of ink. There will be faithful followers like: Joey B, Chevy, David, Bob, James McC and etc.
the author of this story is most likely a yuppie friend of the Box, and Box has an attorney friend is most likely coaching Box on what to say.
If one looks at the transparent web page of candidate expenses, Mrs. Box GETS PAID with campaign funds, which are matched with our tax dollars!, Other candidates wives are volunteers.
Seems like Mr. Box is a copy of LaBonge. He FINALLY shaves his hair, has his picture in any event/opportunity possible; of course with his bicycle; claiming...ME ME ME
At a recent candidate debates; it seemed like Mr Box copied a lot body language that LaBonge had, which was odd at first ...then very entertaining ... I was then boxed in bored.
LaBonge and OGrady also ride bikes, they also have facebook accounts, they have planted gardens and trees and seem to be more positive in the way they approach different situations.
Now that this has been said...lets wait to see how many of box supporters will start jumping, become defiant and defensive. Apparently this is not a free world to express our own opinions of candidates.
.Has Mr. Box ever Voted as a U.S. Citizen?
I wouldn't want someone chasing me with his bicycle! Good Grief...the freeway will surely be backlogged!!
This big long jack-off session of jobless "bike activists" is wasted print unfortunately for Box who is actually on the right side of a lot of issues (I think.) Could have spent 6 pages detailing his plans for office, but instead here we are babbling about group bike ride history. The front page of the LA weekly is communist red with communist style typeface. Yep, that will win voters.
Tom Labonge has made both Box and O'Grady look like geniuses. Yes, both are smart men. I give a nod to Box because he has breadth of knowledge on key City issues and has actually done several end runs around the bureaucracy and politicians of Los Angeles to accomplish goals and to help people who have to fight City Hall instead of City Hall working with them.
Although he is a nice guy and has a knowledge of LA history, LA Bonge is indeed a lightweight mentally and his time has come.
"Anyone But Labonge" Please do it for the next generation who will have to suffer all the mistakes of current batch of incumbents.
Wow, no way man now that is jsut too cool!
I've refrained from supporting Box for one reason only that he was a bike advocate. However, having listened to him and reading his articles, I found an extremely intelligent and honest guy who is so badly needed in our City. I'm sure he will go beyond the bike only issues and make our city the sustainable city claimed by idiots like our Mayor & Labonge who don't have a clue to its meaning. To put things in perspective, the Daily News today endorsed Mitch Englander, Greig Smith's Chief Deputy, for Council, despite him having collected almost half a million dollars from developers with the caveat that they hope he will do good by the men and women in CD12 who will vote for him. LA Times endorsed him also because he collected the most money, with no questions asked about where he collected them from.
Such is the moral depravity of our societ that is openly promoted by two leading dailys. By golly, if such corrupt people are being endorsed by them, then just what is the problem of supporting caring and honest people like Box and Brad Smith in CD12? We finally have a chance of ridding this city of corruption controlled by developer dollars.
Had a bike-fanatic driving up the middle of the right lane on Centinella a few weeks back. No one could get past him without merging over in heavy traffic. He was going very slow and nearly got hit a few times as no one expects a dumb ass to be riding 15 mph in a 40 zone in the middle of a lane. When it was my time to finally get past him, he got a nice drenching from my wipers. And then he got pulled over for putting his own life at risk by riding like a fool. I doubt he learned his lesson. Maybe after he's run down.
The bike rider was doing the right thing, as recommended and allowed by law: Commanding the lane to stay visible and predictable. There is no minimum speed on the road.
Sharing the road means respecting slower traffic and passing slower traffic. You lost a few seconds to a bike, it probably pales in comparison to the hours we lose every week to the real cause of congestion: too many cars.
I bike commuted for several years from Hollywood into downtown LA. I had a few close calls, but those were all due to when I was pushing it. By using common sense and watching my own backside, I was able to get from point A to point B alive and well. I'm all for bike lanes and increased accomodations for bike riders, but there is only so much room on old streets, which also needs room for car parking. When I am driving a car, I will always try to give a bike some extra room as I pass. But in the end, bikes need to drive defensively first, because you will be on the painful end of a turf war with a car, regardless of the rules of the road.
This is such a male perspective of the bike organizers in Los Angeles. There have been numerous female figures in the bike scene that have had significant impact on the bike roots that you seem to have completely omitted. There was Kim Jensen and Mabell, founders of Midnight Ridazz, Aurisha Smolarski and Dorothy Le who worked with LACBC, Liz and Shea at CICLE.org and the list goes on. Many of these women were doing bicycle activism even before Box or Thompson even got in the picture. The bike scene would not have been a bike scene without the contributions of these and many more women. You cannot give a picture of the LA Bike Roots without them. If you're going to write a historical story, please get all of your facts.
Sorry to be a picker of nits but facts are facts and in at least one case in this article, writer Hillel Aron got an historical one dead wrong. Aron writes that the California Cycleway was a completed project spanning nine miles from Pasadena to Los Angeles at the turn of the century. Had Aron or the LA Weekly editors researched it a little further they would have found that only the first 1.25 miles of Horace Dobbins' extraordinary concept were completed, it's progress toward downtown irreversibly halted at South Pasadena in large part by the arrival of the automobile.
And when will you correct the four times this article mistakenly calls the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) the "Los Angeles Bike Coalition"? This is a far more egregious and embarrassing error, especially coupled with the misinformation about LACBC's finances the article so gladly relays.
Not to be a picker of nits but facts are facts and in at least four cases in this article, writer Hillel Aron misstates the name of the largest bicycle advocacy organization in town, the Los Angeles COUNTY Bicycle Coalition. (He writes of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition.) Had Aron or the LA Weekly editors spent a few microseconds on google, they would have found out the correct name of the organization. Had they gone a little further, they would have found LACBC's annual report online, and they would have learned that all the speculation about LACBC taking money from "organizations they're supposed to be influencing" has no basis in fact.
As a proud member of LACBC, I was pretty damn disappointed by this article's slanted take on my bike advocacy crew, and I was happy to see LACBC set the record straight with this letter:
I think it's laughable that the article has its big culmination in a behind the scenes meeting with bureaucrats at CalTrans, as if these meetings are rare accomplishments. This kind of behind the scenes activism is bread and butter for LACBC.
This is the first time the LA Weekly has reported on a topic I was knowledgable about, and on a scene in which I actively participate. I gotta say, as a result of how poorly ya'll covered my scene, I'll look with skepticism on stories I read in your mag about anything else.
Porgy, it's not just hipsters daydreaming, it's doctors, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, etc, who want a culture change. And for those people who "need" to get to wherever they are going quicker, perhaps your acrimony towards cyclists would better be placed at your fellow drivers, who like to talk and text on their phone and end up holding up traffic because they are distracted.
Distracted drivers are a big problem in LA. But that doesn't justify bikers to be inconsiderate and self-absorbed to interfere with the traffic needs of the rest of us. While it's great that some of you can afford to spend hours on a bike getting around town, most of us don't have that luxury of time.
I'm not going to pretend there aren't any knucklehead bikers out there, of course there are, I see them and ride with them all the time. Having said that, the real problem you are late for whatever it is you are going to is from people who don't know how to drive, know how to obey the rules and end up causing accidents. The time you lose to waiting behind a bike, seconds. The time you lose due to an accident caused by a car, much longer.
Promoting bikes in LA is a win-win situation for everyone. More bikes equal less car, less congestion and less pollution. And for the record, no one is forcing you to ride a bike, the whole point is that bikers need to be respected by not just drivers but also the city.
Honestly I don't buy the idea that you lose much time to bikes. Most congestion is caused by cars. Think about how much time you lose to cars vs. bikes in any given week, I guarantee you bikes cost you seconds and cars cost you hours.
Car drivers should welcome cycling and encourage it. If more people rode bikes for short trips and commutes then that's fewer cars on the road to get in the way.
A very sad group of hipsters daydreaming of the revolution while simultaneously wasting their lives and endangering themselves and others on the road. Regardless of the validity of the cause, this fails because of the method and the mentality. What is good about usurping public roadways for private use? How, absent a license, is it not prosecuted? Does the average person who missed her children getting to bed, or an important meeting, or the passing of a friend in the hospital, go home - late - and decided to abandon her car? In a similar fantasy, a group of anti-war activists have been jumping in front of trucks leaving gun manufacturers... and it's not working, either.
Great piece and go Stephen!
Loving the bikey coverage, but echoing the sentiment of others, this article is lacking objectivity.
In all fairness to the LACBC, "many cyclists" would probably disagree with the extent of Alex Thompson's criticisms, and some may feel the same way about him. ;0) The LACBC diss just seems kind of unnecessary IMHO.
I ride every day in Los Angeles and am grateful for the hard work of all of L.A.'s bike advocates and orgs. Here's to hoping they all continue to do great things, together, in 2011. Thanks!
Criticizing the critic, eh? You knock me vaguely. At least my criticisms of LACBC have been specific and clear so that they are actionable. I don't understand why orgs criticizing each other is a bad thing? It leads to higher quality work and demands better coordination.
The conflict between bike orgs is real and natural. There's never been a significant movement for social change that hasn't had lots of internal conflict - not one. Seeking peace between LACBC and all the orgs they've dissed over the years ought not to be the focus - getting things done ought to be the focus. Getting things done doesn't require getting along all of the time, or even most of the time.
Alex, you are right that most or all significant social movements have had internal conflict; however, they have succeeded when they set that conflict aside to work together for a common goal.
Joe - you were a lurker, which is to say you did not participate significantly. Allow then, that you maybe don't know what happened. Criticisms & disagreements are by nature negative, so your notion that we should "keep it positive" is sun addled California nonsense.
Ted - you're absolutely wrong that movements succeeded when they set conflict aside. First, many failed when they set conflict aside. Secondly, many have succeeded while in conflict. Lack of conflict may correlate with success - I remain agnostic - but it does not absolutely determine it.
Joe - stop coaching everyone and do something.
The LA Bike Plan is a good example of this. I'm a mere lurker in the process, but it was great to see everyone working together toward the end.
This is important. There are a lot of other lurking cyclists out there that might get more involved if not for this kind of drama. Criticism, disagreements, inter-org coordination, all crucial, but keep it positive.
My criticism was aimed at the article itself, but your statements like the LACBC "does more harm than good" aren't rational or productive, and a source of the article's bias.
That's nowhere near actionable criticism.
See above. I never quoted you directly, just the article.
Are we being productive yet? I have to go and do nothing now, later.
Joe - this is what the article says:
But Thompson complains that Klausner's organization does more harm than good: "I'm working for free, and I'm spending my time cleaning up work that [the coalition] do while they're on the clock."
The part between quotation marks is a quote. The part before it is not a quote, but a summary of remarks - hence the lack of quotation marks. There is a difference.
My remark was a response to Jen Klausner's remark that "Maybe they should sit down and talk to me about budgeting. I'm trying to run a nonprofit here." You have nothing to say about that?
Joe - I am not quoted in the article as saying that "LACBC does more harm than good" - I'm quoted as saying:
"I'm working for free, and I'm spending my time cleaning up work that [the coalition] do while they're on the clock."
Don't misrepresent me.
First, you're right, it's not actionable criticism. In fact, it's not even criticism - it's evaluation. The statement evaluates their effectiveness. Re making an actionable criticism that is related to their effectiveness - I'm certainly able to do that, but I think you need to allow for the fact that if I did that, it may or may not be printed in the article.
I do think it is fair and productive to evaluate what orgs are effective and which aren't. Why do you, Joe Anthony, Critic of the Critics, think that we should not talk about effectiveness?