Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bike Girl Gets Stood Up

Councilman LaBonge is the one in the tie. Image from Metro

Bike Girl loves bike commuting. But she does not love that the only route between the Universal City/Burbank/Toluca Lake area and Hollywood is via the Cahuenga Pass. At night, the only other road over the mountain that goes through Griffith Park is closed. During the Griffith Park Light Festival, that road is completely closed to cyclists. Metro service stops around 1 a.m. This leaves the Pass as the only option.

Bike Girl has blogged several times about the dangers of this particular road. It's poorly paved, cars routinely exceed the speed limit as they use it as an alternative to the adjacent 101 freeway, and now, Bike Girl counts 34 dead streetlights, creating a black abyss between Barham and the Hollywood Bowl.

Ever the optimist, Bike Girl invited her city councilman to join her on a ride over this pass to see the urgent need for repair of the existing infrastructure. Her councilman, Tom LaBonge, even responded to her request saying he'd be down. He said she only had to name the date.
Bike Girl excitedly named a date, but received no further response from Councilman LaBonge. Just in case, she stood, bicycle leaning against her hip, at the appointed place at the appointed time. But Councilman LaBonge has effectively stood her up.

Thinking her email may have just been buried in his inbox, Bike Girl followed up. But alas, she has received no further correspondence from her councilman.

This was very discouraging to Bike Girl. She truly believed that on some level, Councilman LaBonge really did care about cycling issues. She understands if he feels too unsafe to travel that road. Bike Girl herself is intimidated by it. But since he said he would ride, she feels lied to.

While it should be no surprise to Bike Girl that politicians make promises they do not keep, she genuinely thought in this case, with this supposedly bike-friendly councilman, she could get through. Councilman LaBonge has routinely positioned himself as the Bicycle Councilman. He has even thrown rides with LAPD escorts through his district and purchased ice cream for all who attended.

Councilman LaBonge, if you read this, please note that the invitation is still open. If you still don't want to ride, please at least push repairs and speed enforcement on this stretch of road higher on the priority list. The safety of cyclists in your district depends on it.

Readers, please call and report the street light outages on the stretch of Southbound Cahuenga Boulevard between Barham and the Hollywood Bowl by calling 3-1-1 in the city of L.A., or 1-866-4LACITY outside city limits.
The articles of the Cyclists Bill of Rights that apply to this stretch of road are numbers 1, 5, and 7.


Shek said...

I recommend sending a letter, two a week, handwritten, Shawshank Redemption style!

Anonymous said...

Ditto on the Shawshank Redemption call. ...or move to PDX. :) Our Mayor bikes along with about half the politicians in the city.

...then of course I think we're the only city with 6% of the city actively cycling to work.

jhaygood said...

Keep it up. You are doing God's work. (At least the God of biking).

We need to focus what dollars we can get into USEFUL improvements. So keep letting them know what those are, or they'll do some knee-jerk, feel-good recreational stuff, that doesn't help us that are out every day.

You go!

zach said...

Please stay on this. I'd be happy to send a letter of support and come along for the ride. There needs to be one good bike commute route from the valley to Hollywood.