In light of the Traffic and Parking Commission’s seeming disinterest in cyclist injuries, we’ve asked the BHPD for bike-involved collision data from 2012 as provided to CHP. BHPD’s response: merely a bare-bones list of March-to-March crashes packaged in an image-based PDF that’s impossible to copy. So much for government transparency! Stay tuned.
The bike rider’s favorite foil, the Automobile Club of America, has just released data showing that the cost of car ownership and operation are up 2% over last year, making annual upkeep for the average midsize sedan at $9,122/yr. Contributing to the rise are maintainence (up 11%) and insurance (up 2.7%). The study finds the average insurance bill to be about a grand – a reality check for Angenelo drivers who we bet pay twice that. This makes car ownership possibly the worst mobility bargain on the planet (download the AAA costs flyer).
Guardian UK kicks off its new GuardianWitness feature inviting reader participation in reporting. Among the first initiatives: “Britain’s cycling infrastructure: Is it fit for purpose?” Judging by the early submissions it’s clear that the US isn’t the only nation with sub-standard facilities.
With outgoing Public Works Director David Gustavson not yet out the door, is it too soon to talk about which concerns his replacement should take to heart? We don’t think so, and have been calling around to find out how that process will work. The short story: nobody knows but it’s up to the City Manager to decide. Stay tuned.
We’ll be sitting on the city’s ad-hoc Sunshine Task Force for its inaugural meeting on Tuesday, April 30th at City Hall [agenda]. The task force will examine opportunities for enhanced public participation in city business and better communication between City Hall and stakeholders. (Improved communication could start with listing the meeting on the city’s official calendar, we suggest.) We hope to see you there.
Incredibly, enthusiasm for the automobile continues to wane across Europe. For the 18th consecutive month, new car sales have declined, according to March new-car registrations. Sure, the macroeconomic picture isn’t pretty: unemployment is up across the Euro zone and renewed political turmoil over Cyprus didn’t help. But even Western Europe marked a first quarter drop of 10% over last year. In Germany, the financial anchor of Europe, new registrations plunged 17%. Has Europe lost its appetite for motoring, or simply that new car smell?
Date released by Traffic solutions firm Inrix draws upon its vast reservoir of traffic data to break the bad news: our Los Angeles area suffers the worst traffic congestion in the nation. Our freeways are the most crowded, our drive times longest, and the time sitting in traffic (59 hours in 2012) is the most egregious waste of productivity. We’re the perennial over-achiever, battling Honolulu year-after-year for worst-city honors. We also place highly across the globe and fall behind only Brussels and Antwerp globally for time spent in traffic.
LA Times today reports on the I-405 expansion running over budget and behind schedule. They could talk about the hazard of negotiating southbound West LA exit ramps (and unpredictable closures) too, but what we’d really like to see addressed pronto is the utter disregard for cyclist safety as exhibited by Caltrans & Metro. Every E-W crossing from Sunset to Pico is a hazard. We’ve posted on it and complained to Caltrans to no effect. So now we’ve dropped Zev a line. With the project now running over by an extra year, there’s time to make it right for cyclists.
Now approaching hour five of tonight’s Beverly Hills City Council meeting, we can see the difference a refreshed dais makes. From bollards to cell towers, pawn shop signage to a major development project, City Council turned each issue nearly inside out to remind residents what oversight really looks like: bringing facts to bear, asking insightful questions, and (not least) holding staff and each other to higher expectations. Must see TV!
Our recent election made an issue of City Hall performance. Mayor Mirisch said at installation, “If local government doesn’t listen, it can also be the most frustrating form of government.” Councilmember Krasne criticized City Hall for insularity. “The people have made it clear that they will no longer be excluded from the decision-making process,” she said. So why is a $7,500 performance bonus (aka “compensation enhancement”) for the City Manager even on the table tonight at the City Council meeting?
Public Works Chief David Gustavson is retiring and will be feted at a Council study session this afternoon. We wish him well. We also wish that his replacement reorients this department from blacktop management to multimodal mobility. It’s what our plans say, it’s what our Mayor recognizes, it’s overdue, and it will be our future.
Cruisin’ for a bruisin’? If you think that on a bicycle you’re not as vulnerable as a motorist to a traffic ticket, think again. As we explain, the state vehicular code always applies and local ordinances matter too. Rolling that stop sign, weaving in-and-out of traffic, riding against the flow (all things we see every day) can land you in court with a big fine. Then what to do? Attorney Bob Mionske, in a three-part series called ‘Ticket Talk,’ offers some tips. It’s mandatory reading for cyclists and motorists – and often we’re both.
The Spring Street bike lane battle is again enjoined, reports the LA Times. Proponents view it as an important and visible commitment to cyclist safety; and opponents view it as, well, so visible as to encumber Downtown location filming. “It disturbs the willing suspension of disbelief,” said one industry hand. That the lane exists at all beggars disbelief!
As if to prove the skeptics right, bicycle racks won’t be hitting Beverly Hills sidewalks soon. According to the T&P Commission workplan, installation of the proposed 11 racks citywide will wait until the next fiscal year. Eleven racks? That suggests zero interest in making our business districts bike-friendly. Cyclists: take your money elsewhere!