Sunday, November 15, 2009

Two Nobel Prizes for Bicycles at UCLA

Please Sign the Petition for better bicycle access to campus today (UCLA Staff, Faculty, Alumni).

This is the story. Come with me. Here is the door to the future. The year is 2020. Hardly a car to be seen. Parking structures have been long been converted to better uses. Everybody is asking: Why did it take so long for UCLA to support its cycling staff and faculty?  It made all the difference. Westwood feels so different now. Why did they loose three precious years before they began implementing the difficult parts of the Bicycle Master Plan ? How could they afford not to have a well-staffed Bicycle Bureau.  Did nobody watch ? Did nobody care ?
Read all about it in the Open Letter to the Chancellor.  Please Sign the Petition today (UCLA Staff, Faculty, Alumni) and share it with your colleagues on campus: (The UCLA Bicycle Coalition student group will probably set up their own petition)

We have quite a list of initial signatories, just in case you thought cycling was a sign of low achievement. Among our signatories are two (2, deux, dos, twee, zwei, due) Nobel Prize recipients from UCLA, one also the recipient of the UCLA Medal.  That's why our Press Release is called: Two Nobel Prizes for Bicycles at UCLA

Initial Signatories:

Louis Ignarro, Professor for Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, UCLA School of Medicine, 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology

Paul Boyer, Emeritus Professor for Chemistry and Biochemistry, 1997 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1998 UCLA Medal

Olga Yokoyama, Professor and Chair, Department of Applied Linguistics

Annelie Rugg, Director/Humanities CIO, UCLA Center for Digital Humanities,
1992 Olympic Cycling Team Alternate

Richard Kim, IT Manager, UCLA Libraries, CA Cycling Sprint Champion 2009

Gregory Kendrick, Director, Freshman Cluster Program, Professor of History

Professor William McCarthy, UCLA School of Public Health

Mihai Peteu, Print Lab Supervisor, Design Media Arts Department

Sharon Ignarro MD, Attending Staff Anesthesiologist, Department of Anesthesiology, UCLA School of Medicine

Richard Abel, Michael Connell Professor of Law, Emeritus, UCLA School of Law

Now you Sign the Petition (Disregard donation requests on that site)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Westwood Neighborhood Council

Westwood Neighborhood Council  is being formed, and will open new ways of community input in how the area of UCLA is being planned, designed and improved. Neighborhood Councils have been successful in many parts of the city of LA. Anyone who works or lives or owns property in the neighborhood can become a member, and I can think of may reasons why the commuting cyclists from UCLA should be involved with such an organization. There is a membership form which needs filling out to achieve certification through the city here. Have a good look at the map on this form: One of the obstacles for cyclists commuting to campus, the LA Country Club, is officially part of our 'hood, and that may just increase our ability to start a friendly conversation with the club,  perhaps a steady trickle of happy and well educated cyclists could become a new feature in their landscapes gardens.

UCLA Bicycle Coalition (Student Group)

A new student group, the UCLA Bicycle Coalition, has been created, they have set up a facebook group and are now busy transforming into a proper student club. Here is the Google Group. They have put together their own petition regarding the Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan. Not to be confused with the open letter to the Chancellor which refers to the Campus Bicycle Master Plan. So much master planning, and still so much remains to be done. Still, things are moving forward. And fast.

Monday, October 19, 2009

First UCLA Bicycle Seminar: LA Bike Masterplan

This Friday 23 October the first UCLA Bicycle Seminar: LA Bike Masterplan is taking place at noon, Kerkoff Lawn.  You Have Been Warned. Google "LA Bike Masterplan". Be there to witness how the monster that is cycling lolls, wakes, and transportation may never be the same again. Joseph will speak shortly about the LA City process, your's truly will make some remarks about the unredeemed promises of the UCLA Bicycle Master Plan, and then it is for our cycling public (yes, you) to raise the issues and insults we are exposed to on two wheels.

The paradox is deep and important and needs to be spelled out to be fully enjoyed. Yes, we firmly hold the moral superiority on the road. Yes, more than two thirds of all car drivers have lost their innocence and clearly know they should not do it. They buy hybrids and are still full of shame. If you knock on their window they apologize for driving. Without delay. And still we are somehow unable to translate this perfect storm into action on the ground: Witness the gentlemanly ease with which UCLA claims lack of jurisdiction over the criminal street conditions in Westwood. The lack of access routes. The illegal closure of the National Cemetery where cycling is verboten because it considered recreation. Etc.

What is missing? Why does it not click? Why does our moral superiority not translate into the services we require to stay safe and to become more? I think we are at the brink of something here, and we need every cyclist on Kerkoff Lawn to make it happen. There are cities in this country where you cannot get elected if cyclists do not endorse you. And there are campus administrators who think they have done all they can. And who are about to pat themselves on their shoulder about the big success the Bicycle Master Plan has been. Yes.

Will women on campus accept a male equal opportunity officer? No they don't. Why do campus cyclists accept a transportation service which does not cycle to campus?

There will be comment cards for cyclists who want to make public comments on the LA bike plan right then and there. We'll also announce plans to ride to the Westside "public workshop" (the following Wednesday, Oct. 28 in Santa Monica) which is hosted by LA's Department of Planning and by LADOT to discuss the LA Bicycle Master Plan drafts. We hope to have large copies of the maps from the LA Bicycle Master Plan, but in the absence of those, we'll at least have a couple hard copies of the plan for cyclists to review. And, most importantly, we will have free burritos.

Credit for this seminar is available in Bicycle Heaven. Please give yourself a few hours to look at the documents. Lawyers, Planners, Urban Studies, Architects, Historians of the West LA Veloway are urged to attend. And everybody else.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bike Lanes Grow Overnight at UCLA

Bruin Walk chalked after initiation of Dismount Zone Policy

Along Bruin Walk on Monday, students were greeted by a makeshift lane, drawn anonymously in chalk and created for use by bikers and skateboarders. The pathway extended from the top of De Neve Drive to the area behind the Powell Building. Large capitalized chalk messages at Bruin Plaza declared “Resist the dismount.” (Daily Bruin)

Congratulations! There are plenty more bike lanes waiting for you to be born, and the background to this form of sidewalk art has been told wonderfully by Dan “Banana & Bicycle” Koeppel in his Paint Your Lane

But at UCLA the problem is bigger, and deeper. We have a Transportation Service on Campus in charge of bicycles. But they are not experts, they do not cycle, they do not “Improve Bicycle Accessibility to Campus” (The First Commandment in the Bicycle Master Plan). They have no cyclists to talk to, and so they start dreaming about cycling as a public safety issue.
True, there are some areas on Bruin Walk where uneducated bikes and pedestrians, all ears duly plugged, put themselves into danger. But to pull out CVC 21200 at a rate of 202$ is a bit harsh. And to say that it is consistent with the Bicycle Master Plan seems rather creative, or even deceptive: first because in my copy of the plan, the exclusion is limited to the period between 10:00am and 2:00pm, secondly the exclusion along parking structure 8 has been added without authority of the plan, and thirdly because the Bicycle Master Plan has plenty of recommendations which have not been acted upon – so why pull out the one which limits human powered transportation, and leave all the others in the drawer? Like, well, "Improve Bicycle Accessibility to Campus." And if cyclists use unsafe routes, as they sometimes do, perhaps it would be a good idea to provide a safe route for them, rather then simply serving them a simple street closure. You would think that a premier university in the country could somehow figure that one out.
But there is wider sense of injustice among cyclists: What do cyclists get in return for such restrictive policies? Why are there closing routes for bicycles, without providing an alternative route? Is there equity in the treatment of bikes and cars on the campus when safety is the issue? Or are those cyclists a lost cause, a tiny minority, not listened to, who will have to make do after the cars have had their share?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Which Way UCLA and VA (and National Cemetery)

The Westside Urban Forum is inviting to an event entitled: Which Way UCLA and VA: Friday Sep 18, 2009 7:00 AM, Regency Club, corner of Westwood and Wilshire.

7:00 AM is early, very early, but it is important, and de rigueur for every cyclist who has fought his way through the car-filed cemetery which surrounds UCLA, especially to the West. Panelists include our own Chancellor Gene Block, the Hon. Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Supervisor, and Ronald Norby, VA Healthcare Network. Moderator Cindy Miscikowski, President of the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners & former Member Los Angeles City Council.

Come ye all you urban planners and cyclists, and let us find out if the developers and politicians have woken up to the call of the bicycle. And if the bicycle bell is still in your pocket from last night's council meeting, leave it there, it may come in handy. Bring money too, allow $ 10 surcharge if you wait to register after the 15th, because there is a ticket requirement, but Parsons Brinckerhoff seems to subsidize student membership. And who is going to stay quiet just because of $ 15 (student non-members). Perhaps the UCLA Urban Planning has a fund for this?

The issues from saddle and handlebar:

The Westwood / Brentwood bicycle dis-connection called 405

The Hallowed Ground Land Grab: Why do cyclists need to risk their lives on Wilshire when a path across the cemetery is simple and easy. Let's have a discussion if endangering and discouraging cyclist (and re-routing the subway to the sea?) is the appropriate and best way to pay honor to those who are honored there. Clearly, given all its benefits, the bicycle is the most patriotic form of transportation, and both the VA and the National Cemetery could do more to welcome it

Does Nothing: Unfilled promises of the UCLA Bicycle Masterplan which requires improvements of bicycle access routes to UCLA

Who Killed the West LA Veloway: A Grand Dream (image above) from the early 1980ies, pursued with much local support, including employing a planner to work on it

The Los Angeles Country Club: Miles of rolling hills for the golfers, but not even a few feet for a decent cycle path?

(Of course, some of this has been said before by the so-called The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills (pseud.) and his rather angry booklet)

Jazz is not Dead

Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny, said the honorable Frank Zappa. The same is not true of the UCLA Bicycle Academy. It is neither dead nor does it smell funny.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Santa Monica Spoke

Santa Monica residents!

The second meeting of Santa Monica Spoke is coming up on Tuesday, May 28th, at the Community Room right next to the BikeRoWave (MAP). Come by at 6:30pm, grab some snacks, meet everyone, then we'll start a super-serious, no-nonsense discussion about everything bike related in Santa Monica at 7pm. We'll also have a chance to tour the BikeRoWave, the local bike coop, and witness it in full swing.

Share the resources and frustrations of Santa Monica cyclists
Empower cyclists to increase their number and improve conditions on
the street
Assist the City of Santa Monica to become a model bicycle community
Strengthen the LACBC through membership recruitment and fundraising

Electing Officers (Chair or Board elected by Committee Chairs)
See who interested to be on what Committee
Electing LACBC relationship officer (to attend LACBC board meetings)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Caltrans Comes to Visit

Yes, the Bicycle Coordinator of Caltrans district 7 will come for a visit. As a preparation, we created this map with some of the bicycle circulation issues known to mankind. UCLA has never much cared about what we have to fend with on our way to campus, despite a very direct language in the UCLA Bicycle Masterplan which demands improvements on access routes as the first priority.

View larger map on Google My Maps to add your own observations.

This map is interactive and open for all collaborators. Please click on this link to go to the Google Maps page, then click on My Maps and log in, and add your placemarkers with comments! Use the magnifying tool to place markers with precision and add description. This is a unique chance to get this looked at! Take note of of the specific dangers awaiting the cyclist, and refer to bicycle accidents you happen to know of.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cycling with your Councilmember in Westwood

Early morning political cycling anyone? Tomorrow, Friday, February 27, 2009, the LA County Bicycle Coalition organizes the second Car Free Friday ride.

We start at 8 am - come early and raise you bicycle complaints directly with your Council member Bill Rosendahl

From West LA to Century City: Here is the route

1. Start at Corinth Ave. and Santa Monica Blvd.
2. North on Corinth Ave.
3. Right on Ohio St., east on Ohio St.
4. Left on Sepulveda Blvd., north on Sepulveda Blvd.
5. Right at Westwood Park, ride through Westwood Park and Federal Building Area
6. Cross Wilshire at Veteran, north on Veteran
7. Right on Kinross Ave., east on Kinross Ave.
8. Right Westwood Blvd., south on Westwood Blvd.
9. Left on Santa Monica Blvd., east on Santa Monica Blvd.
10. Right on Avenue of the Stars, end ride in Century City Business Area.

There should be plenty of opportunities to raise the dismal state of bicycle approaches to UCLA, the lacking connectivity of SM Boulevard to Santa Monica, the state of the street surface, directly with your council member: Bring your complaints and bring your friends and bring a camera too – Just as this is an photo opp for the politician, it is also our opportunity to push for improvements with the council member directly.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wilshire Boulevard

Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles, a book by Roderick and Lynxwiler, was presented at UCLA library yesterday, 18 Feb, with a reading and a book signing event. The occasion was enlivened when an unknown bicycle rider from Beverly Hills distributed a pamphlet entitled Wilshire. The [ ] of UCLA. Cyclists forgotten and insulted which highlights the difficulties of driving your bicycle on Wilshire. The author calls the street "Wiltshire", and claims that the campus has neglected to provide viable bicycle access to UCLA. Wilshire is not a Grand Concourse, it is an enormous barrier for bike access to UCLA, and the campus seems unwilling to recognize or improve this. The text highlights well-known issues for commuters from the East and from the West. It mentions the closure of the National Cemetery, which has severly impacted the connection between Westwood and Brentwood (and Santa Monica) – and the deplorable state of Wilshire at the Country Club for those who come from Beverly Hills. Sure, Wilshire is a scandal for cyclists, but even more of a scandal is the way the campus has given up any attempt to improve the lot of the cyclists on the approach.
The booklet has apparently been deposited at the UCLA library. In the meantime, here is a scan