Posts Tagged ‘Mayor Villaraigosa’

Mayor Villaraigosa’s ‘Bike Summit’

Monday, August 16th, 2010

It was a full house for the Mayor’s Bike Summit at the Metro Headquarters in downtown Los Angeles today. Hundreds of cyclists from all sorts of cycling disciplines and backgrounds converged on Gateway Plaza to have their concerns heard directly by the Mayor.

The mayor opened the meeting talking about his new-found respect for cyclists since his recent bicycle crash and resulting broken arm, expressing his commitment to making Los Angeles a more bicycle-friendly city.

Mayor Villaraigosa chaired the meeting himself, choosing  questions from the online submissions and calling upon audience members to talk. Mark Langton, Peter Heumman and Jim Hasenauer all got to speak and bring up the issue of off-road cycling in L.A. City Parks–specifically, that bikes are not allowed on trails in any City park.

When CORBA founder and former IMBA President Jim Hasenauer mentioned the issues that we have long faced with City-wide ordinances prohibiting bicycles in City Parks, the Mayor appeared somewhat surprised and perhaps even a little flummoxed by the news. Villaraigosa talked about his frustration with City Parks as an avid dog-walker. Peter Heumann echoed Hasenauer’s statements. Mark Langton, CORBA’s President, talked about CORBA’s Youth Adventures program and the fact that we cannot serve more kids because there are no off-road cycling opportunities within reach of the most needy kids in this city. The cost and logistics of getting kids to areas outside Los Angeles to ride bicycles limits how much we can do.

Later in his responses and closing remarks, Villaraigosa mentioned City Parks no less than three times. It appears for now that we were at least able to get off-road cycling issues on his personal radar, if it wasn’t there previously.

On the road-cycling front, several representatives of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition asked some intelligent, straight-to-the-point questions on specific issues to which the Mayor responded very positively. There was a sense of urgency and momentum that all present, including the Mayor, want to see continue.

It seems that cyclists in Los Angeles have a new champion in City Hall. The Mayor, in his responses, promised several times to make substantial changes in the City’s handling of cycling issues, including more bike lanes and paths, and a compressed time-line for implementing change.

We are already seeing that change in this very well-attended and well-intentioned meeting.

The mayor is still accepting comments and questions through their Google Moderator page, and has promised to address all of the comments and questions posted.