THE TRUTH ABOUT ROAD DIETS-Everyone in NELA who’s been awake for the last few years know about the reactionary cabal that has been struggling to keep Highland Park a preserve for “leadfoot drivers.” You know, the sort that has been maiming and killing residents on Figueroa Street for years – the sort that, lately, has been accelerating the pace of the bloodshed. And now the car addicts have started a petition on change.org asking CD14 Councilmember José Huizar to remove the bike lanes from York Boulevard.
Sign the counter-petition here.
These people employ what you might call discredited arguments, but really, they are just plain lies. They state that bike lanes have caused a loss of business, but the empty storefronts that existed before bike lanes are now largely occupied, and older businesses such as Huarache Azteca have invested in sprucing up their façades. They claim that bike lanes slow down emergency response -- they don’t. They say bike lanes cause traffic backups.
What they don’t mention is that collisions of all sorts dropped dramatically thanks to the street’s road diet, which later added bike lanes without reducing mixed traffic lanes further. As for the other intuitive assertions, this UCLA study on the York road diet itself should set your mind at rest. Its conclusions were based on actual data gathered on the actual York Boulevard -- not on “gut feelings.”
What causes traffic backups is too many cars which are drawn to a street when it has too much lane space. Cars cause congestion; building more lanes makes more room for more cars to cause more congestion. Don’t take my word for it: listen to CalTrans, which now admits that More Roads Mean More Traffic.
In fact, it should be obvious even to the Neanderthals that we’ve been building more roads and more lanes for eighty years -- and traffic has gotten steadily worse.
So I offer a compromise: for the next eighty years, let’s build nothing but bike lanes and transit lines, and see what happens.
Who knows? We might end up like Denmark, which currently holds the Number 1 spot on Forbes Magazine’s list of best places to do business, as well as being home to the happiest population on this poor beleaguered planet.
All those bike lanes help….
(Richard Risemberg is a writer. His current professional activities are centered on sustainable development and lifestyle. This column was posted first at Flying Pigeon. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.
Vol 14 Issue 6
Pub: Jan 19, 2016