Monday, August 25, 2014

My Brand New Old 1984 Volkswagen Westfalia

I'm the proud owner of a 1984 Volkswagen Westfalia. It has the original 1.9l wasserboxer engine, with a little over 200,000 miles. It's all original, except for a recent repaint. It needs a lot of work including major repairs to the air conditioner which is currently being performed at Tony's in Eagle Rock.

So far, the car has passed the all important smile test:

So now the discussion is moving into what modifications I'd like to make. There's lots of directions I could go. It seems now that I own one, I'm seeing Westys everywhere!

The list of modifications is growing rapidly, and includes:

  • Engine Swap. VW TDI or Subaru?
  • Extra Battery with Solar Panel Charger on Roof
  • 15 inch wheels
  • Upgraded brakes
  • South African Headlights
  • Tow Hitch with bike rack
  • Tinted windows
  • New pop up tent
  • New skylight
  • New interior
What am I missing? What mods have you done to your Westfalia?

And speaking of new interior, here's a fabric swatch Heather showed me for inspiration. What do you think about this fabric? I kind of dig it! Can I find this pattern or one similar that's suitable for automotive use? Where would I look?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dangerous Sidewalks of Los Angeles | Fountain and Fairfax | Is this sidewalk safe?

For years I've walked along this sidewalk and marveled at how unsafe and unwelcoming it is for pedestrians to navigate, especially with speeding motorists driving in excess of 45mph inches from you.

I decided to call my local councilmember, Tom Labonge to see what can be done about this. After leaving a message and waiting a few days, I never heard back, so I called again and was put in touch with Rick Alatorre, Tom's Chief of Staff. Rick said he would send someone out to look at the sidewalk and would report back to me. Rick called me back a few days later and said there's not much of a problem at the location, which seemed shocking. So he said I could take some photos and send them to him and he would be happy to take another look.

As you can see in the photos, at some points you have less than 20 inches of space to move along the sidewalk. I decided to look up what a normal sidewalk width ought to be.

According to Accessible Sidewalks and Street Crossings - an informational guide, published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

The pedestrian zone is the area of the sidewalk corridor that is specifically reserved for pedestrian travel. This area should be free of all obstacles, protruding objects, and any vertical obstructions hazardous to pedestrians, particularly for individuals with vision impairments. The pedestrian zone should be at least 1.8 m-3.0 m (6-10 ft) wide or greater to meet the desired level of service in areas with higher pedestrian volumes. This allows pedestrians to walk side by side or for pedestrians going in the opposite direction to pass each other. The pedestrian zone should never be less than 1.2 m (4 ft), which is the minimum width required for people using a guide dog, crutches, and walkers. Wheelchair users need about 1.5 m (5 ft) to turn around and 1.8 m (6 ft) to pass other wheelchairs.

It would appear that the north sidewalk on Fountain Ave shown in these photos falls well short of the minimum standards, this sidewalk doesn't even provide half the minimum recommended width for a safe and accessible sidewalk.

I hope Rick and his staff will take another look and hatch a plan to remedy this pronto.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ACTION ALERT! Hyperion Bridge Needs Your Help! Your Voice Creates Walkable Livable Streets in Los Angeles!

PLEASE Send this email NOW to ensure that Cyclists, Pedestrians and Drivers can all utilize the Hyperion Bridge of the future.



Hyperion Bridge OPTION 3

Customize this letter:

Dear All,

My name is __________. I am a cyclist, pedestrian and driver and I am writing to ask that the historic Hyperion Bridge PLEASE retain BOTH sidewalks, and that it please include buffered bike lanes on both sides of the bridge so that pedestrians and cyclists for generations to come may finally enjoy SAFE convenient access to the LA River bike path, Red Car park (including Councilmember O'Farrell's hard fought bike pedestrian bridge) and all of the amenities of the forth coming Alt 20 plan which invests a billion dollars into the river making it a hugely attractive place for Angelenos to travel to. As of now there are no safe ways to get to and from the river from Silver Lake Echo Park Los Feliz Hollywood KTown and beyond. Creating a livable Hyperion bridge connection will finally accomplish this worthy goal.

I recognize that option 3 will reduce one travel lane heading downhill into Atwater. This will slow the chronic and dangerous speeding on the bridge to a manageable level and the good news is that the traffic studies commissioned by the Bureau of Engineering even under the worst case scenario, show that traffic will actually improve slightly. THIS IS A WIN WIN for Los Angeles.

With option 3, the Hyperion Bridge, and all of its historic features, belvederes and pedestrian amenities will survive and be enhanced for generations to come.


SIGNED ______________