Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Momentum Grows against the (Anti) Bike Plan

Councilman Bill Rosendahl

Over at Westside BikeSIDE!, Dr. Alex Thompson, (not the guy who runs over cyclists on Mandeville Canyon), has a great post up detailing the bike related motions passed by the Transportation Advisory Committee that he was able to attend. Two motions passed that should thrill cyclists in L.A.:

1. The Committee stated that the agency tasked with developing the Bike Plan, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, has a bias towards cars that prevents it from carrying out a fair bike plan. The committee called for another agency to lead us to a bikeable city.

2. The Committee endorsed many of the critiques of the bike plan that Thompson and other bike activists have been pushing through neighborhood councils recently:

  1. The new LA Bike Plan should extend and enhance the 2007/2002/1996 plan. Currently it is a step backward from previous plans in both language, and bike lane mileage.
  2. The deadline for public input must be extended from November 6th (42 days of input) to January 8th (in excess of 90 days.)
  3. Every street is a street that cyclists will ride. This is the language of the Long Beach Bike Master Plan, currently a great success.
  4. The LA Bike Plan should go through a full programmatic EIR. This will make its ambitions eligible for off the shelf and last minute funding, as well as open the possibility of reducing parking and travel lanes in some locations.
  5. Retail should be a positive element in scoring streets for desirability of bikeways. Cyclists want to go to similar destinations as motorists.
  6. Bike routes should be eliminated as a designation for the City of Los Angeles.
  7. The LA Bike Plan should have predetermined annual performance measures included within it. These performance measures should not allow for the spontaneous designation of streets as Bike Friendly Streets without significant enhancement.
  8. Neighborhood pilot projects must be included as an approach for experimenting with street treatments.

This is just one more city entity to speak out against the bike plan and hopefully will continue to pressure our elected officials into taking action. Bill Rosendahl, this is your committee. Will you publicly call for these motions to become more than words? Will you work to create the bikeable city we know L.A. can become? As Dr. Thompson eloquently states, "The whole community is asking for a deadline extension, and all it takes is for you to make a statement publicly on it and it will happen - for sure. Will you do it? We’ve heard nothing official from your office."

Let's let Bill know what he can do to help our cause. As head of the Transportation Committee, his voice carries a lot of weight. He can do a lot to help fix the broken bike plan and give Angelenos a real bikeable city.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Teaching Lessons on Mandeville Canyon

July 4, 2008. 2 experienced cyclists are riding down a narrow canyon road, enjoying their reward for a hard climb, the long downhill back. The road they're traveling on has 2 lanes, one in either direction. It's a narrow, winding road that meanders through a neighborhood of homes nestled in a steep canyon, whose walls form a tight V. Wealthy Angelenos, doctors, lawyers, titans of business all call this canyon their home. At some points the lane is no more than 12 feet wide, which classifies it as "sub-standard."

Back to our cyclists. They were enjoying the long descent, riding side by side, at a brisk pace of 30 miles an hour, exceeding the speed limit. Their ears pickup the sound of a car approaching from behind. A long, sustained honk signals the aggression and anger of the operator, a man who they later find out is a physician. Before this man was allowed to practice medicine, he swore an oath that's over 25 centuries old, written by Hippocrates. In it, it says "Primum non nocere," latin for "First, do no harm."

As a courtesy, the cyclists fall into single file to allow the car to pass. This is just a courtesy, as the width of the road, the speed limit (which they were meeting and exceeding), the constant turns are all conditions that make it unnecessary and too dangerous to allow 2 vehicles to share a single lane. Legally, cyclists are allowed to "take the lane" and travel using the entire lane in this instance (CVC 21202(a)). Cyclists routinely offer car drivers this courtesy, and car drivers routinely drive well into the oncoming lane to give a wide berth to the cyclists they are passing.

The doctor passed the cyclists and slammed on his brakes directly in front of them, intentionally using his car as a weapon, sending one rider into the back window of his car and catapulting the other clear over the car onto the pavement in front. The doctor, one Christopher Thomas Thompson, later told a police officer that he stopped his car in front of the cyclists to "teach them a lesson."

I guess Thompson forgot the lesson and oath he took long ago, Primum non nocere. Hopefully our justice system will teach him a lesson as well.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weekend Guide to Cycling in Los Angeles, sponsored by Chanel

The weather is looking epic for this weekend whether you're planning a century to Santa Barbara or seeking out singletrack in the moonscape of the Angeles forest, err burn areas. It's going to be a great weekend for cycling. I'm eager to get riding again, but I have some tweaking to do on my new road bike, and a clicking torque wrench is my new holy grail of must have accessory.

Speaking of accessories, have you stopped by your local Beverly Hills bike shop to see Chanel's latest "dutch" offering? Complete with quilted chain guard, pump, side saddles and tool pouch. And it woudn't be complete without a custom Brooks saddle also done up in Chanel black quilted leather. If you have $13,595 burning a hole in your pocket, head straight to Sak's and pick one up today! Then ride your 401K on Saturday to the LA Bike Working Group.

Saturday, October 17, 2009
Bike Writers Collective hosts the LA Bike Working Group

Location: Hollywood Adventist Church
Address: 1711 N. Van Ness Ave., CA 90028
Time: 2pm-5pm

This event will crystalize all the complaints over the city's miserable Bike Plan, which in the eyes of the city, is merely a document that allows them to easily obtain transit funding. Among other goals, cyclists want to see a plan that actually results in a bike plan that serves all residents of the city, because if L.A. truly supported cycling, there would be less traffic, safer streets, more local business activity, less pollution & greater community involvement.

Connect with BWC on Facebook

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Charlene Liu and the Brambles

Charlene Liu has an upcoming show at the gallery next month. While looking the the jpegs arriving from Eugene, I'm reminded of the word bramble.
Brambles are thorny plants of the genus Rubus, in the rose family (Rosaceae). Bramble fruit is the fruit of any such plant, including the blackberry and raspberry. The word comes from Germanic *bram-bezi, whence also German Brombeere and French framboise. In popular UK usage the term primarily refers to the blackberry bush; in Scotland and the north of England it refers to both the blackberry bush and its fruits.
Back in the day at UC Santa Cruz, I recall a conversation I had with my photo teacher Norman Locks. He had a love for the "brambles" he encountered in nature, the twisty thickets of undergrowth that people so easily overlook. They are the thorny bushes that usually scratch at your arms as you make your way towards the majestic overlook point that a nature trail usually leads to. I remember his number one complaint of a trip to the Rockies in Colorado was that it lacked the brambles that so inspired him in the Sierra Nevada in California.

Charlene Liu celebrates brambles in a way that I think Norman would appreciate. If It Were a Slow Echo opens November 7th at Taylor De Cordoba.

God's Pharmacy

From an email I just received from Mukti Ma!

It's been said that God first separated the salt water from the fresh, made dry land, planted a garden, made animals and fish... All before making a human. He made and provided what we'd need before we were born. These are best & more powerful when eaten raw. We're such slow learners..
. God left us a great clue as to what foods help what part of our body!

A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye... And YES, science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.
A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and are indeed pure heart and blood food.
Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.
A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three (3) dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.
Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.
Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and many more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.
Avocadoes, Eggplant and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it b alan ces hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).
Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm as well to overcome male sterility.
Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.
Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries
Oranges, Grapefruits, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.
Onions look like the body's cells. Today's research shows onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. A working companion, Garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body.

2 minutes to support cycling in Los Angeles

Good News from my friend Alex Thompson, a bike activist working to improve cycling in Los Angeles:

The Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) unanimously voted last night to demand that the deadline for public input on the Los Angeles Bike Master Plan (LABMP), November 6th, be extended to January 8th. With the support of the BAC, the only official body representing cyclists in the city, the campaign for sufficient time is looking better.

Please send a short email to Rosendahl (Councilman for District 11, Chair of the Transportation Committee), Reyes (Councilman for District 1, Chair of the Planning Committee), and Jordann Turner, requesting an extension of the deadline. You might also CC your councilperson while you’re at it.

Here’s their emails:,, - and here’s the letter I’m sending:

Dear Councilman Rosendahl and Councilman Reyes,

I’m writing to request that you officially extend the deadline for public input on the Los Angeles Bike Master Plan from November 6th to January 8th. The plan was released on September 25th, which leaves only 42 days for public input. This makes impossible, or extremely difficult for many bodies to participate in forming the plan, and as you know, this undermines public support for the plan’s proposals. Moreover, it violates the terms being drafted for the LADOT Memorandum of Understanding with the Neighborhood Councils, which specifies a minimum of 60 days notice. The Bureau of Street Services is offering the public 120 days of public input on sidewalk repair program - surely we can have 90 days for cyclists!


Feel free to forward this message to all progressive like-minded individuals, groups and pets!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Golden Rule

Last night, we were treated to real gold covered chocolate twinkies courtesy of BonAppetempt. A glass of chamomille infused grappa only adds to the golden deliciousness of the dessert. So complete was my amazement that I totally forgot to photograph the amazing salad and soup we ate as well.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Breaking free from the chains of Epson

I love my old epson printer. Epson Stylus Photo R200. All I use it for is to print random things like Paypal shipping forms and movie tickets to the Arclight, perhaps a google map here and there.

The other day, the printer kindly notified me that 2 ink cartridges were out of ink, Magenta and Light Cyan.

"No bother", I told my printer. (I was only printing a B&W shipping form.) "Continue and print my form please."

"NO!" said the printer. "I will not! Not until you replace the empty ink cartridges."

"Printer, it's cool. It's not color, just go ahead and print it. I promise it will work just fine", I said, getting a little warmer. Was the AC on in here, I wondered to myself.

"You don't understand!" the printer scolded back at me, it's red light now blinking at a furious pace. "I cannot and will not print one more thing until you replace those cartridges."

Now I was angry. My printer thought it knew better than me what it could and couldn't do. I knew the black ink was just waiting to be spit out on the paper, giving me a shipping form that I now wanted more than a trip to Scoops!

So what's going on here? Why does my printer defiantly disobey my commands like it doesn't have any respect for me?

Epson cleverly, or rather deviously, placed a small microship in each ink cartridge that monitored the use of ink and once the level was determined to be empty, it would tell the printer to stop printing. Mind you, the cartridge doesn't need to be actually empty for this to happen. It could have many pages left and still be functionally useless due to this mis-application of technology.

Seeing that I was up against a corporation intent on forcing me to purchase their liquid crack at outrageously high prices even when I didn't need it, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I was going to give my little printer a lobotomy, and remove the parts of it's brain I found useless. It turns out people have been thinking the same thing for a while now, and even built special surgical instruments to quickly slice out this useless flesh in one stroke.

Making it's debut all the way from Nanshan District in Shenzhen China....Behold the YXD268-II! It's a multi-function chip resetter with the following specs:

1. YXD268-II can RESET the chip on the cartridge into full mode.
2. YXD268-II can also DETECT the chip status.
3. Red and Green LED for easy identification.
4. Both sides CONCAVES for easy holding.

It slices, it dices, it saves you money time. Folks, step right up and gets yours today!

Now my printer is happily printing in black and white, blissfully unaware it's almost out of magenta and light cyan. And when it runs out, I'll know, because my printouts will be ugly and weird. I don't care, it's just a google map...

Support Cycling in Los Angeles this weekend

This Saturday at LA City College, something special will happen. Stakeholders, like you and me, will gather together and share their ideas for making this city a better place to live, work and thrive in. The NC Action Summit:

provides community members from throughout Los Angeles the opportunity to engage in healthy political dialogue that concludes with a specific call to action.

Cyclists are encouraged to attend, specifically at 1030am for a presentation by Dr. Alex Thompson of the Cyclists Bill of Rights, which has already received endorsements from numerous neighborhood councils. If half the people in this video were to attend, it would be something special indeed.