On September 22-23 2011, Dutch bicycle facility designers came to L.A. and worked with Angelenos to create great designs. The ThinkBike event was covered at LADOT, and L.A. Streetsblog, but the coverage didn’t include too much in the way of sharing actual designs, like S.F. Streetsblog coverage of their ThinkBike did. I figured that I would do a series of three posts (1 – Downtown, 2 – Pacoima, 3 – South L.A.) showing off more of the great work. The designs are posted at LADOT, but they’re big pdfs, difficult to search, find, and share. I’ve broken them out into place-specific entries and tried to run a lot of images and text, to make this excellent work more findable. In addition, I’ve done a fourth blog post about the overall process, which I did find a bit disappointing.
THINKBIKE 4 of 4 – OVERALL PROCESS
When a Dutch bicycle experts come to L.A. and preach the bike gospel, it’s a great thing. Orange 20, LADOT, LACBC and L.A. Streetsblog loved it. I loved it. The designs are awesome, and I hope that any and all of them get built. Then why did BikeSide, L.A. Weekly, CityWatch, and The Engaged Observer express concern over folks not being included in the process? Why wasn’t this an unqualified success that brought together L.A. bicyclists and inspired us all?
I think that some of ThinkBike’s critics focusing a bit much on fairly small detail. Caltrans’ local bike point-person Dale Benson and Rock Miller (engineer who designed many of Long Beach‘s awesome bike facilities) were sent out of the room during the design sessions. The sending off is not a good thing, but I think it’s more of symptom. In my opinion, the more fundamental issue is that ThinkBike was done in a way that has been divisive to L.A. bike communities.
You're invited to ThinkBike, but go away while we experts do actual design work for your community
As soon as I read the ThinkBike announcement, I could see it was an exclusive event. The public was invited to the opening and closing sessions only. Immediately I antcipated that this would be a contentious event that would sow divisions in the bike community.
L.A. is a big place. There are lots of great bike groups. Not everyone can be in the room at the same time… so there should have been some sort of transparent, open process by which participants were selected/invited. To this day, I still don’t know who picked whom. Was it the Dutch? the Mayor? the LADOT? the LACBC? I don’t know. Continue reading