In many cities throughout North America — and especially in Los Angeles — there’s a street fight over shared public space. Up until 100 years ago, streets served everyone — people walking, people on bikes, people on horses, people taking public transit. Basically, streets existed for the greatest good — to serve as many people as possible. Then, with the introduction of mass market, more affordable cars, everything changed. All of a sudden, we started redesigning our cities to serve not people, but cars. This graphic does a great job of explaining the progression:
Once Councilmember Paul Koretz terms out in 2022, the self proclaimed “environmentalist” who has worked to block bike and bus lanes for over a decade — including Uplift Melrose — will be gone. And with this change, we have an opportunity to make real progress in Council District 5.
Here’s a list of suggested projects for the next Councilmember:
1/ Let’s start with a soft ball — physically protect the bike lanes on Santa Monica Bl. from the Beverly Hills border to Sepulveda from moving cars without losing anything. Yes, traffic lanes would need to be narrowed, but that doesn’t…
My oldest daughter just started Kindergarten, and when I took her to school on her first day last week, I experienced from my bicycle the way the majority of kids in Los Angeles get to/from school — and it broke my heart.
As I biked my daughter to school more and more, the line got longer and longer — and even worse, started blocking the bike lane all together, putting me at even greater risk just for trying to do a pick up outside of a car.
Here are a few issues with the current “system” —
Back in 2019, the Mid City West Neighborhood Council (whose board I currently sit on as Vice Chair) passed a motion asking for more bike/scooter corrals in Mid City West. The idea was simple — make it more convenient to park your bike, and maybe more people will use bikes to get around. I approached Paul Koretz, the current sitting Councilmember for Council District 5 (and killer of Uplift Melrose) with the idea, and was told by his office to pick one location to start.
Growing up in LA, you learn from an early age that a car is the only way to get around town. You equate cars with “freedom,” and it’s this thought that I had in my head at the DMV at 8am on my 16th birthday. I. Couldn’t. Wait.
As I made more money as an adult, I spent a disproportionate amount of it on expensive car leases, even going so far as to do European Delivery on BMW’s that I custom designed — twice.
Nine years ago, for a variety of reasons, I did a complete 180° and gave up…
When LA’s Neighborhood Council system was formed in 1999, it was part of a larger charter reform effort to prevent the San Fernando Valley from seceding from the City. Each neighborhood council was given $50,000/year from the city and became the “closest form of government to the people,” advising city council members on what specific neighborhoods in Los Angeles wanted and needed.
In the Great Recession of 2008, the Los Angeles City Council cut neighborhood council budgets by 20%, to $40,000 a year. …
In the 1950s, 3rd St in Santa Monica looked like every other street in the city; it had two lanes of vehicle traffic in each direction, and parking on both sides of the street. In other words, it looked like nearly every major street in Los Angeles.
In the 1965, the city decided to close the street to cars, and open it to people. The new “outdoor mall” was opened in November, 1965. This was not without controversy; people who fought the change, said the following:
If you follow me online, you know I’m very passionate about fixing how we get around cities. There are a few reasons:
1 — I want to survive to see my daughters get married, and I resent that I have to risk my life to get around Los Angeles choosing to use a bicycle.
2 — I believe climate change is real, and 60% of our greenhouse gas emmissions come from cities. In the US, the largest source of our greenhouse gas emissions (28%) is the Transportation sector, and cars make up 59% of Transportation.
If you solve how people…
2020 was one of the craziest years we’ve seen in our lifetimes — from a once-in-100-years pandemic to our democracy being threatened by a sitting President, it was truly unprecedented. However, one thing that didn’t change is the persistent loud minority that opposes safer streets and positive change in our community. …
About a month and a half ago, I got a phone call from one of my colleagues on the Mid City West Community Council (one of LA’s 99 “neighborhood councils”). He was excited that StreetsLA (our Bureau of Street Services) was considering applying for a $40M grant to redo a long section of Melrose (between Fairfax and Highland)— one of LA’s most iconic streets. The street is also on the city’s “High Injury Network” and part of the City’s 2035 Mobility Plan where it has a planned protected bike lane. Here is what “Uplift Melrose” was proposed to look like: