LADOT Lies About Cypress Park Bike Lanes

Maybe some folks have already read about the Cypress Park bike lane issues that have been reported elsewhere… but it’s been sticking in my craw this week, I think it bears some attention. It’s been really disheartening to me to read city responses to implementing approved bike lanes on Cypress Avenue and Avenue 28 in the city of Los Angeles community of Cypress Park. 

Flying Pigeon’s Josef Bray-Ali and I spoke at a Nightingale Middle School bike day event. Following our talk, a 13-year-old NMS student, Jackson Huang, writes a letter to Councilmember Ed Reyes requesting that the city implement bike lanes approved for Cypress Avenue and Avenue 28.

I was disappointed with Councilmember Reyes’ non-committal mumbo-jumbo response letter. The letter doesn’t mention anything about any kind of time line for the bike lanes that the student requested. It’s telling that Reyes even mis-identifies the community that the lanes are located in.  From Reyes’ response letter:

Thank you very much for your letter regarding bicycle lanes in Lincoln Heights. It is commendable that you took the time to write my office… (emphasis added)

Come, on Councilmember Reyes – Cypress Avenue is in Lincoln Heights? Cypress Avenue is in Cypress Park – next to Lincoln Heights, similar issues, but it’s Cypress Park, not Lincoln Heights. I worked for you, and I know that you know this. Unfortunately, it seems like you aren’t taking bike lane requests seriously enough to actually understand where they are located.

It gets worse.  Earlier this week, I read this response by the Los Angeles Transportation Department (LADOT) spokesperson Bruce Gillman, printed this week in this L.A. Streetsblog  article:

“While these projects don’t yet have a date for implementation, Cypress Ave. and Ave. 28 are both in the five year implementation plan as Bicycle Friendly Streets, which does not preclude us from implementing bike lanes if bike lanes make the most sense for these streets,” writes LADOT Spokesman Bruce Gillman. (emphasis added)

LADOT’s Bruce Gillman is wrong.

LADOT has a history of lying when it comes to devising ways to block implementation of bike projects: Reseda Blvd, bike plan mileage planned, bike lane mileage implemented, etc. Some folks may say it’s maybe not deliberate lying, it’s just inattention to detail or error or incompetence or who-knows-what… but L.A. bicyclists know it’s a pattern. When the DOT makes an assertion about why they can’t do bike stuff, don’t take their assertion at face value. And when a department repeatedly makes false statements, well that’s lying in my book.

Gillman states that these streets are designated as “Bicycle Friendly Streets” and not “bike lanes.” This is a distinction that is a bit esoteric… so I will explain it briefly. “Bicycle Friendly Streets” are L.A.’s terms for bike boulevards. Bicycle boulevards (also called Neighborhood Greenways) are quiet residential streets that have been traffic-calmed so that, even though cyclists and cars share the same lane, cycling and walking are the priority. Though they’re shown to be safe, effective, wonderful in other cities, they don’t exist yet in Los Angeles. Here’s an example of what one “Bicycle Friendly Street” looks like:

Vista Street Bicycle Boulevard - in Long Beach CA

Bike lanes are different than “Bicycle Friendly Streets.” Bike lanes are the striped lanes in the street. Here’s what a bike lane looks like:

Bike lane on 7th Street, city of Los Angeles, CA

So… recapping for folks reading this far down: well-paid transportation professional Gillman says it’s not bike lanes. 13-year old middle school student says it’s bike lanes.

Who’s right?

Here’s the line in the city’s Five Year Implementation Strategy document that Gillman refers to. Gillman states that this says “Bicycle Friendly Streets” not bike lanes. Any sighted person who actually looks at the document can see that it says bike lanes. From page 7 of 9 of the facility listing here:

Cypress and Ave. 28 in city 5-year plan - column 7 states "Future Bicycle Lane" not Future Bicycle Friendly Street as DOT asserts

What is really frustrating to me is that LADOT’s official spokesperson Bruce Gillman, under color of authority, is basically saying that this NMS student got his request wrong… when Gillman himself got it wrong. Gillman is abusing his official power as LADOT’s spokesperson to belittle a 13-year-old. That’s so screwed-up that it gets me inarticulate… I am having trouble restraining myself from writing about it without resorting to expletives.

So… what should bicyclists do?

Email Honorable Los Angeles City Councilmember Ed Reyes: councilmember.reyes@lacity.org

Email Honorable Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:  mayor@lacity.org

Email LADOT: ladot@lacity.org

Write about it online and tweet your post or your message to @villaraigosa @mobilitymaven @ladotbikeprog #bikela

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5 thoughts on “LADOT Lies About Cypress Park Bike Lanes

  1. (copying the comment I left at Streetsblog)

    It’s even more infuriating that LADOT is bending the truth (or is just plain ignorant) for something that could protect children’s safety. We’re talking about making it easier for kids to feel safe and ride their bikes to school, and their official stance is that they’ll consider bike lanes if they “make sense for the streets.”

    What about what makes sense for the young people who are using the streets?

  2. Read this from the bottom up, an email I sent and 2 responses….

    On behalf of the Councilman we would like to prioritize the implementation of bike lanes on Cypress Ave. and Avenue 28. Thank you all for your attention to the issue and please let me know how I can be of most help.

    Jill Sourial
    Environmental Projects Manager
    Office of Councilmember Ed Reyes
    t. 213-473-7001
    f. 213-485-8907
    jill.sourial@lacity.org
    http://www.lariver.org

    On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 1:11 PM, Nathan Baird wrote:

    Hi Brian,

    While we don’t yet have a date for implementation for these we are happy to work with the Council Office to help prioritize them for early implementation. Bike lanes are coming soon to York Blvd., from Ave. 55 to Figueroa. North Figueroa is actually in the EIR package of priority 1 lanes that will be up for approval by Council soon. These lanes on Cypress would seem to be ideally suited for prioritizing next, but they haven’t been brought up yet at the Bicycle Plan Implementation Team meetings.

    -Nate

    On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 11:22 AM, Bruce Gillman wrote:

    Nate,

    Could you please respond to this citizen’s question. and cc others. Thanks.

    bruce

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Frobisher, Brian
    Date: Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 10:22 AM
    Subject: Cypress Park Bicycle Lanes
    To: councilmember.reyes@lacity.org, mayor@lacity.org, ladot@lacity.org, Bruce.Gillman@lacity.org

    What is the status of approved bike lanes on Cypress Avenue and Avenue 28 in the city of Los Angeles community of Cypress Park?

    Why have they not been implemented yet?

    As a local resident of Glassell Park I frequently ride through Cypress Park and I would like to get these lanes up and running.

    We don’t need excuses, we need results.

    Brian Frobisher
    Glassell Park

  3. Read from the bottom up….email I sent and 2 replies so far….

    On behalf of the Councilman we would like to prioritize the implementation of bike lanes on Cypress Ave. and Avenue 28. Thank you all for your attention to the issue and please let me know how I can be of most help.

    Jill Sourial
    Environmental Projects Manager
    Office of Councilmember Ed Reyes
    t. 213-473-7001
    f. 213-485-8907
    jill.sourial@lacity.org
    http://www.lariver.org

    On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 1:11 PM, Nathan Baird wrote:

    Hi Brian,

    While we don’t yet have a date for implementation for these we are happy to work with the Council Office to help prioritize them for early implementation. Bike lanes are coming soon to York Blvd., from Ave. 55 to Figueroa. North Figueroa is actually in the EIR package of priority 1 lanes that will be up for approval by Council soon. These lanes on Cypress would seem to be ideally suited for prioritizing next, but they haven’t been brought up yet at the Bicycle Plan Implementation Team meetings.

    -Nate

    On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 11:22 AM, Bruce Gillman wrote:

    Nate,

    Could you please respond to this citizen’s question. and cc others. Thanks.

    bruce

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Frobisher, Brian
    Date: Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 10:22 AM
    Subject: Cypress Park Bicycle Lanes
    To: councilmember.reyes@lacity.org, mayor@lacity.org, ladot@lacity.org, Bruce.Gillman@lacity.org

    What is the status of approved bike lanes on Cypress Avenue and Avenue 28 in the city of Los Angeles community of Cypress Park?

    Why have they not been implemented yet?

    As a local resident of Glassell Park I frequently ride through Cypress Park and I would like to get these lanes up and running.

    We don’t need excuses, we need results.

    Brian Frobisher
    Glassell Park

  4. Pingback: All the news that’s left to print — USC bike plan, big bike hearts in Reno, and new SaMo Bike Campus « BikingInLA

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