Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reporting for duty

Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny, Frank Zappa said in 1974 with his own marvelous voice. The same is true of bicycle advocacy at UCLA, not dead, surely, and the funny smell, well, you will have to judge that for yourself. 

The proof? Friday 12/3 2010 at noon the UCLA Bicycle Academy (Steering Committee: from the left Dr Michael Cahn, Aric Gregson PhD, Mihai Peteu) met at Lu Valle for Bike Lunch and designed plans for the future: How to make the voice of staff and faculty cyclists heard loud and clear, and to give the cycling members of the campus community that publicity which will encourage others to try it out. Join us for the next meeting on 7 January at noon, and then every first Friday of the month. 

Student advocacy is important, but advocating by staff and faculty has the benefit of the longer duration, greater familiarity with past developments, and an additional credibility that our demands should have with the administration. We will focus on building up a strong group of leaders (Steering Committee) and we ask for your support. We also want to offer a forum to publicize issues and systemic failures which are easily overlooked in the  car-centric environment we live in. 

We envision to publish first person narratives to bring home the normality of cycling from and to and on campus, and profiles, interviews, reports about campus based research that relates to cycling: historically, physiologically, politically, geographically, semiotically, urbanistically, environmentally, mathematically, you name it. At the same time we want to interact with the campus administration to assist them in improving bicycle services for staff, faculty and student. Because what is good for cyclists, is good for everybody! 

Friday, May 7, 2010

League of Bicycling Voters LA: Organizational Meeting at UCLA

Bike the Vote on May 15th — introducing the League of Bicycling Voters LA

It’s not hard to have a big influence on local elections. Calculations show that often there are more cyclists on the street than voters going to the urn. The newly founded League of Bicycling Voters LA wants to translate this fact into political currency. 

On May 15th, cyclists from throughout the County of Los Angeles will be coming together on the Westwood campus to form the League of Bicycling Voters Los Angeles.

Patterned after the highly successful League of Bicycling Voters in Austin, Texas — which saw their entire slate of candidates elected to office in the last citywide election — the group is being formed at a time when cycling is more popular than ever.

Yet many cyclists, both beginners and experienced riders alike, believe they have have been ignored by unresponsive local, county and state governments, their safety needlessly endangered by roads and regulations that weren’t designed for bikes and policies that ignore their needs.

"For years we've tried playing nice, going along to get along, quietly sitting at meetings, waiting to be asked onto the floor for a dance,” explained Josef Bray-Ali, owner of the Flying Pigeon LA bike shop in Highland Park, and one of the founders of the local League of Bicycling Voters. “We've learned that the only place we can get our elected officials to pay attention is at the ballot box."

According to the group’s website, the League of Bicycling Voters “is not liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. It does not represent any one group or style of cycling.” Instead, it represents Los Angeles-area bicyclists of every type and description “to help ensure safer streets and a more bike-friendly community for all of us.”

Ted Rogers, author of the blog and another of the group’s initial founders, along with UCLA lecturer Dr. Michael Cahn, stressed that the League won’t conflict with other existing bicycle advocacy organizations, such as C.I.C.L.E. and the Los Angeles County Bicycling Coalition.

“This group is a purely political organization. Our purpose is to host forums and debates, get candidates on the record for their stands on bicycling issues, and to endorse and support bike-friendly candidates and propositions — which groups like the LACBC are prohibited from doing due to their non-profit status.”

The initial organizational meeting is scheduled for 10:30 am on Saturday, May 15th in Room 1347 on the ground floor of the UCLA Law School on the Westwood campus. Anyone who rides a bike and is eligible to vote in the County of Los Angeles is encouraged to attend.

For more information contact Ted Rogers, 310/779-4910;

Sunday, April 11, 2010

League of Bicycling Voters Los Angeles

The US Department of Transportation established that about 25% of Americans aged 16+ ride bikes. For the city of Los Angeles that means 300,000 – 400,000 cyclists among those who are registered to vote. Now consider this: In the city’s last mayoral election, only 285,000 people cast ballots. Which makes bicyclists one of the largest voter blocks in Los Angeles — and potentially one of the most powerful. Conclusion: Cyclists are well placed to elect the next mayor - and the city better get the bike parking in shape at the polling stations.

That’s the purpose of the League of Bicycling Voters Los Angeles: A new organization initiated by Ted Rogers, Josef Bray-Ali and Michael Cahn, dedicated to harnessing the power of the cycling community to influence the electoral process. The League will host forums and debates to get candidates on the record for their stands on biking issues, it will endorse and support bike-friendly candidates and propositions, and hold elected officials accountable for keeping their promises. Report cards, the whole lot. After observing and denouncing an administrative machinery which consistently fails to recognize the benefits of a bicycle friendly infrastructure, the League marks a step towards the next level.

This group is not liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. It does not represent any one group or style of cycling. It represents you, and thousands of other bicyclists in Los Angeles County, to help ensure safer streets and a more bike-friendly community for all us.

Click here to join the conversation of the Google Group and help us form the new League of Bicycling Voters LA. See the introductory announcement and join the Facebook group to stay in the loop and spread the word. We need all the help we can get to grow this into a fully transparent and powerful player in the Los Angeles Region. Lawyers, lobbyists, fund-raisers, political analysts, experts in not-for-profit governance and everybody else: Here is your opportunity to do the right thing. Let us build a powerful grassroots voter group from the spokes up, because a better environment for cyclists is a better environment for everybody. Conveniently for Bruins and their neighbors, the first organizational meeting is scheduled for Saturday morning, May 15, 2010 on the UCLA Campus. Details to follow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The School of Public Affairs Thinks about Traffic, and Forgets the Bicycle

UCLA Public Affairs are putting on a big conference on how to solve L.A.'s Traffic Problems, - but when you look at the program, you would not know that the bicycle was invented a while back.

How did this happen? Another big names event (Villaraigosa etc) about traffic in LA without a bicycle on the program? Could that be a waste of time? and money?

Franklin Gilliam, Are you perhaps missing something?
Brian Taylor, Why do respectable UCLA faculty agree to participate in a traffic related event and fail to protest that the bicycle has, again, not received a slot on the program?
Randall Crane, What is so bold about silencing the bicycle option?
Donald Shoup, If we cannot claim a slot for the bicycle on the program of the Rosenfield forum, why bother to go there at all?
Michael Dukakis, are you not taken for a ride by an program agenda that is blind to the obvious?

Bright minds who still think about traffic and congestion without considering the bicycle alternative are a true liability. How much longer will you consent that your name and your research decorate a program which pretends to be about traffic, and fails to include the obvious remedy on the title page? It should not be so difficult to find someone to speak about bicycles to this audience? Academic negligence anybody?

Sad, poor, disappointing, and worse: The organizers of this program missed a chance to include Janette "Bold Ideas" Sadik-Khan, New York City Transportation Commissioner, who is in Los Angeles the night before, giving a lecture on a LA campus.  That was not bold, not good, and not a good beginning. Start Over. The assignment is: "Responsibility and Guilt: How the UCLA School of Public Affairs Research and Teaching Agenda contributes to Traffic Gridlock in LA"

Table 2. Spending on pedestrian and bicycle improvements by metropolitan area, 1992 – 2006 source

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA  $0.20 (per capita)
Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA  $2.30
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro, TN  $1.92

Saturday, February 13, 2010


The UCLA Bicycle Academy and the Bicycle Coalition at UCLA invite all interested cyclists, staff and representatives of UCLA Transportation Services, Office of Sustainability, the Campus Architect, UCLA Government and Community Relations, the Transportation Deputy for Councilmember Rosendahl, the Westwood Neighborhood Council, and other stakeholders and interested parties, to attend a meeting with Lisa Pinto, District Director for Congressman Henry Waxman.
The topic of the discussion is the Re-Opening the National Cemetery for Bicycle Traffic

The meeting will take place at 5:15 pm on Wednesday February 17, 2010  in 6282 Bunche Hall, The Graduate History Lounge. If you take the elevator, turn right and you will find the room on your left. Map here
If you are unable to attend the meeting, we would be happy to read out and hand over any statement you may want to put together. Please send to velocipedus at gmail

History: Previous to 9/11 the National Cemetery was a preferred bicycle route between Brentwood and Westwood and helped cyclists to avoid the worst intersection in LA, the bottleneck where Wilshire and I-405 meet. Back then, the support of Senator Cranston ensured bicycle access through the VA cemetery. In the aftermath of 9/11 this route has been closed with reference to National Security. More recently, the Veterans Administration has spoken about the pastoral nature of the grounds. The current ban of cycling is articulated as part of a more general ban of recreational activity, failing to draw a distinction between cycling for recreation and cycling for transportation

Re-opening the cemetery for bicycle traffic would add a significant attraction for current car drivers to use the bike. It will reduce car traffic congestion in this area, which will improve air quality and reduce travel times. It is in accordance with a number of established policies and priorities, both locally and nationally. In short, the decision to close the cemetery has deprived UCLA of a Safe Route to College and lead to increased environmental impacts. Alternative routes (Ohio, Montana) discourage cyclists because of length and terrain. The widening of the I-405 currently underway will further limit the ability for cyclists to use the Wilshire corridor.

The aim of the meeting is to discuss judicial and political avenues to lift this closure.