[Carfreeliving] Will LA leapfrog San Francisco?
davidbaker at dbarchitect.com
Wed Aug 24 18:09:43 MDT 2005
Tom, cheer up! It's not that bad. Really! Glass half full, etc...
From: Carfreeliving-bounces at livablecity.org
[mailto:Carfreeliving-bounces at livablecity.org] On Behalf Of Tom
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 2:18 PM
To: Carfree Living
Subject: Re: [Carfreeliving] Will LA leapfrog San Francisco?
A bike lane down Wilshire would be great, and if it happens before we
get one the length of Market Street, shame on San Francisco. Wilshire
does have a rapid bus line, one of 22 rapid bus corridors either in
operation or being planned in LA County, while we have yet to build, or
even plan, one.
As I made my way down the Market Street lane this morning, dodging the
pools of fetid water in the rotted pavement and double-parked Fed Ex
trucks and tour buses, I realized that there is absolutely no sense of
joy or beauty or delight involved in San Francisco bike planning. The
best we can do is design facilities that are marginally safer than
riding in mixed traffic, but what if the city set out to create bike
lanes and paths that are a delight to ride on? The bike path along the
Hudson River waterfront is designed not only for safety, but is designed
to be attractive and fun as well. A friend from LA who lives there part
time just bought a bike because he liked the path so much, and wanted to
be able to ride on it. Will anyone look at the existing Market Street
lane and say, "Cool, I want to get a bike so I can ride on that!"?
My friend Jeannene tells the story of going to Vancouver and seeing
Larry Beasley, Vancouver's Planning Director, say in a public meeting
"We want to design a city that delights you." When was the last time you
heard a bicycle, pedestrian, or transit planner here speak of delight,
much less lay it out as an imperative of planning? When I was walking
through Paris, I definitely got the impression that many of the better
boulevards and promenades were designed to delight the walker, not just
to keep us out of the way of cars. The Mayor's first "clean and green"
project, the median landscaping and blue and gold fences (which are
really there deter pedestrians from jaywalking on Van Ness and messing
up traffic flow) are clearly aimed beyond the merely functional and are
aimed at delighting the motorist. So where are the projects aimed at
delighting bicyclists? As others have pointed out, the Panhandle bike
paths are rather grudging and stingy accommodations compared to what
they could have been, and Market Street and Embarcadero, which should be
our grand bike boulevards, are pretty sad.
Maybe it is the bureaucratic mindset of most transportation planners; I
encounter the same "practical" mindset in transit planning here, where
Muni buses are designed without padded seats so that they can be hosed
down, much like the design of cattle cars. Maybe our movement has set
its sights too low, focusing on technocratic aspects of design, and
emphasizing safety while forgetting the importance of amenity, not to
mention beauty, joy, or delight. But what is the point of living in a
city that where joy and delight are not imperatives? I understand that
sometimes incremental improvement is all we get, but there also seems to
be no vision for what could be. I fear we could end up with a continuous
bike network, but one so thin and stingy it fails to attract people to
tomrad at well.com
On Aug 23, 2005, at 10:04 PM, Jason Henderson wrote:
> What about a bike lane on Wilshire? That would put LA ahead of San
> I am reading "Long Emergency" by Kunstler. Anybody read it?
> --- Tom Radulovich <tomrad at well.com> wrote:
>> LA is creating a continuous bicycle path along the LA river, and
>> dedicated a new "Bike Park" last month:
>> Meanwhile, the rutted, discontinuous bike lane on Market Street has
>> become a parking lane, with no apparent enforcement, which might just
>> be more dangerous than no lane at all. Aargh!
>> Tom Radulovich
>> tomrad at well.com
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> Jason Henderson
> San Francisco CA
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