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?

1 comment:

Bike Safety said...

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