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Cyclists Pedal Across Figueroa and Colorado to Promote Bike Lanes

Along the way, the riders demonstrate their purchasing power and loyalty to local businesses by stopping at stores that allegedly oppose bike lanes.

Some 60 to 70 bicyclists pedaled roughly 10 miles Saturday across North Figueroa Street, York Boulevard, Eagle Rock Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard in support of the Department of Transportation’s plan to install bike lanes in the area.

The riders began from the Flying Pigeon store on Figueroa Street in Cypress Park. Along the way, they stopped at the campaign offices of CD 1 candidates José Gardea and Gil Cedillo, where they urged campaign staff to post a bike lanes flyer in the office windows.

The next stop was Galco’s Old World Grocery on York Boulevard, where the bikers shopped for a variety of goods. Galco’s owner John Nese, who has opposed the plan to create bike lanes by taking away auto traffic lanes, appeared happy to see the crowd of bikers and regaled some of them with stories about sodas and beers. (See video.)

From Galco’s, the bikers rode to Eagle Rock Boulevard, headed north toward Colorado and stopped at Casa Bianca, where a partially obscured sign condemning bike lanes faces the boulevard. The hungry riders picked up pizzas and sandwiches from the restaurant, which they had on the lawns of Eagle Rock City Hall.

The final destination was Colorado Wine Company, whose husband-and-wife owners Jennifer Morgan and John Nugent are known to be avid supporters of bikes, bikers and bike lanes.

“We do three rides a month out of our shop, mainly as a way of promoting a type of cycling that we do, which is not for sporting people but more for regular, everyday cyclists,” said Flying Pigeon owner Josef Bray-Ali, the ride’s organizer and a noted biking evangelist. “It’s a way to show that our neighborhood and our city is ideally suited for a convivial, fun time with your neighbors and friends.”

This month, however, Bray-Ali and his “followers” are devoting all three of their rides specifically to promoting bike lane projects.

“I thought, instead of going to the Eagle Rock Brewery or downtown, why don’t we go to all these businesses that have allegedly opposed bicycles and show them that we’re of and from your neighborhood, we love this community and we wish you take down that disgusting sign with a bike rider and a circle and a slash through it,” Bray-Ali said.

Bray-Ali said he had a conversation with a young female employee at Casa Bianca who told him that the restaurant’s owners were worried about losing parking around their business if bike lanes are introduced on Colorado. “I thought that was funny because there is no parking that will be removed in front of their business, but that is what she has been told,” Bray-Ali said, referring to a disinformation campaign by some opponents of bike lanes that is allegedly underway.

“This issue isn’t a we-hate-cars-and-love-bikes versus we-hate bikes-and-love cars type of thing,” he said. “That just pits people against each other when they have so much in common with each other. And that’s why we did this ride today. We have buying power, and we have our morals and our ethics that we can share with other people.”

Related: How Strong is the Opposition to Bike Lanes and Where is it Coming From?

Dennis Hindman May 06, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Everyone of your comments just seems to amplify how ignorant you are about the subject. It would take no more than two hours for 70 bicycles to pass through one intersection along York Blvd during a weekday according to the LACBC bicycle counts conducted in late 2011 (bicycling has probably risen since then). Just because you don't notice them doesn't mean that they aren't there. Galco's wouldn't get much customers on bicycles mainly due to no parking being available for bicycles. Try eliminating the parking for motor vehicles around his store and see how many customers arrive by car. I wouldn't have any trouble carrying a pizza on top of the back rack of my bicycle. Your lack of knowledge about how people can use a bicycle for utilitarian purposes does not make you an expert. You continue to advocate for suppressing any safety improvements on certain streets for bicycling or even pedestrians if it will inconvenience motorists in any way. Reallocating space on arterial streets for bicycling will be a dramatic change in the short term, but it will induce demand for bicycling. There is a fixed amount of motorized lanes in this city and that will not change significantly in the next ten years. If these streets are congested now, then encouraging individuals to make a rational self serving decision to drive hurts the group in the long run . Creating a safer environment for bicycling and walking for direct routes will create more demand for these modes.
S.N May 06, 2013 at 06:41 PM
I am a supporter of the bike lanes, and I will tell you why. I grew up and lived three decades of my life in one of the 'top 10' bike friendliest cities in the world [according to Copenhagenize 2013: the world's most comprehensive list of bicycle friendly cities]. My contribution to this discussion would be the benefits of bicycles versus cars in terms of health and environmental improvement. In my country, we have dedicated lanes on the sidewalks for bicyclists. One in four persons has the bike as the main means of transportation, on a daily basis. Our bike lanes have been doubled for the past 10 years, and we currently have over 300 miles of bike lanes in an area of 60 sq. miles, which is 1/30th of Los Angeles. We have constantly improved our city to make it sustainable and future proof. The bike lanes that are being opposed to in this debate are not comparable to dedicated bike lanes on the sidewalk, as the risks involved in street-style bike lanes are far greater for the bikers. So if we really want to be critical, a painted lane on the street shouldn't raise this much debate. (It doesn't require a major build-out on the sidewalks.) By creating bike lanes, we will remind ourselves and our children that cycling is a much desirable option for a sustainable environment. And putting these lanes on the streets will definitely create a demand as more people will pick up the trend. That’s what the majority of top ranking bike cities in the world have done.
Raymond Gonzalez May 06, 2013 at 07:23 PM
Galco's was rad!
kelly thompson May 06, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Yes, All of my years here and I've never been to Galco's in my car. It took this bike lane controversy to get me in there. I've always heard good things about it and now I see why. I really don't know how a so called community paper can blatantly lie and create fear in businesses, seniors and handicapped and get away with it. He will take what ever statistic and add or subtract what numbers he want and state them as fact. It's astounding how we can all sit and listen to LADOT state statistics at the same meeting and the next day the newspaper prints something totally different. Then stating that Emergency Response Times will be compromised was another lie, nothing what so ever to support that. Those are just a few of the many lies the paper has told regarding this issue. This is an unreliable source and I urge you to do your own research regarding bike lanes.
aladyofyork May 07, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Kelly, Do you have a current City of LA Speed Zoning Engineering and Traffic Survey? Could you share ?

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