Jul 27, 2014

Mayor Villaraigosa Announces New Bike Plan

More bike lanes in more places, including the Valley, over the next five years and beyond.

There was good news for bicyclists at the Los Angeles City Hall Wednesday as Mayor Villaraigosa signed an ambitious bike plan that will offer more route options for those traveling on two wheels.

The mayor said the plan would create "1,600 miles of bikeways, paths, routes and friendly neighborhood streets."

By comparison, he said that since 1977 the city has built just 377 miles of bike lanes.

"L.A. is a world-class city without question, and there are so many areas where L.A. leads the way," Villaraigosa said, "But L.A. has not led the way in terms of becoming a bicycle-friendly city, in terms of really focusing our efforts in transforming the city from just the single-passenger automobile city to a city where we share the road."

Councilmember Ed Reyes added to the mayor's comments, saying that the plan involved changing people's perceptions.

"We are talking about a cultural shift," Reyes said. "We are talking about how we view ourselves as Angelenos, as we get from point A to point B. We can make our streets cleaner and, just as significant, we can make ourselves healthier."

Councilmember Bill Rosendahl said that the funding for the plan was significant.

"We're going to have between three and four million dollars annually," Rosendahl said.  "So we can put our money where our mouth is."

According to Jennifer Klausner of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, the Valley will feel the impact of the plan, too.

"There are definitely some priority corridors in the Valley, and I think we'll see the Valley–which is already somewhat bikeable–I think we'll see it become even more friendly for cyclists," Klausner said.

A half-cent sales tax increase that was approved by voters in 2008 (Measure R) will fund the bike plan. According to Rosendahl, the measure will add roughly $1.75 million to the fund, and another $2 million could come from the state's Transportation Development Act. The Metropolitian Transportation Authority's Call for Projects could add another $3 million to $20 million.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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