an article well worth your time

First of all, thank you for the comments on San Francisco – I’m going to try and have a response up tomorrow.

But in the meantime, by way of Streetsblog, a great article was recently published in Los Angeles Magazine on bike culture in LA. As Damien wrote,

Spokespeople also goes into the politics of bike riding and spends over half the article talking about Stephen Box, Alex Thompson and the difference between the tactics that people in the movement employ.  If you’re a rider who wants to get as much into the people and personalities of the movement, Spokespeople is a must-read.

But as a quick follow-up to my questions about San Francisco, Matthew Segal notes in the LA Mag piece,

L.A. covers an area larger than San Francisco, Portland, and Manhattan combined. Its network of roadways extends some 6,500 miles. Its network of bike lanes and bike paths extends a wan 174 miles, and because the latter are usually in parks or along waterways, they don’t benefit the average bike commuter.

It’s a great read.

UPDATE (23 dec 08): Michelle Mowery comes up in the LA Mag piece, and (via Rearview Rider) I stumbled onto a Ridazz forum with some interesting comments on Mowery’s failures and successes. Damien Newton – not in his Streetsblog role – writes:

I agree with Soap Box. The focus of all this anger directed at Michelle should be directed at the Mayor. Michelle is just a mid-level buerocrat at LADOT. She’s not the one making policy. If we feel she’s not fighting for bike projects and representing us, that’s partially because she works for Mayor Villaraigosa, not the bike riders.

All of the crap we have to deal with as cyclists, all the issues, can be traced back to a Mayor’s office that doesn’t give a crap about us.

Bike Licenses. Festival of Lights. Sharrows. Unequal protection under the law. These issues are the symptoms of the problem that Fast Tony don’t give a crap about us because we haven’t made ourselves a political problem and there aren’t enough of us to make waves just by voting, posting on message boards and attending group rides.

Again, a really fascinating and engaged riff on Mowery and a responsive city government.

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2 responses to “an article well worth your time

  1. Damien’s comment on Ridazz was S T R A N G E. SoapBox (aka Stephen Box) definitely feels that Mowery deserves the anger directed at her. So . . . I’m not sure what Damien was thinking there. Anyway – Segal did a great job with that article . . . we talked a lot on background and I feel like he’s the first journalist to get the internal conflicts in the bike scene.

  2. I think Damien’s comment – not having talked with him, and perhaps quoting him slightly out of context – was meant to move the focus of the debate from Mowery (who may well deserve all the anger directed at her) to the larger institutions (ie the Mayor’s office) that shape her office’s policies. But Segal’s article was a great read – if you talk to him, please let him know.

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