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New Coalition Advocates for Weho Cyclists

The group, which plans to push the City Council to implement recommendations made by the city's Bicycle Task Force, held its first meeting Friday.

Could West Hollywood become another Amsterdam, where bicycles outnumber cars 20 to 1?

It might sound far-fetched in this car-loving region, but that was one of the dreams mentioned at a meeting of the new West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition. A dozen avid cyclists showed up for the group’s inaugural meeting Friday evening at Poinsettia Park.

Spearheaded by Kevin Burton and Tess Lotta, both members of the city’s Bicycle Task Force, the impetus behind the coalition was to create an advocate for West Hollywood's biking community.

“We need to be a voice for the biking community,” said Lotta. “A lot of coalitions start with nothing, but we’re in an awesome position thanks to the [Weho] Bicycle Task Force.” 

Charged with finding ways to make West Hollywood more bicycle friendly, the Bicycle Task Force will make its .

Lotta explained that a community-based group is needed to push for implantation of those recommendations, thus the creation of the Weho Bicycle Coalition, which will be a chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

According to Burton, recommendations for making Weho more bike friendly were made to the City Council in 2003, but there was not enough community support then.

“There weren’t enough people making noise,” said Burton. “It’s necessary to be encouraging, but also insistent.”

Attendees strategized ways for getting the City Council on the bikers' side, including taking the panel's members on a fun bike tour through the area.

There is already some support on the council. Abbe Land is a member of the Bicycle Task Force. Meanwhile, Mayor John Duran just started biking again after 30 years. from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Convincing businesses that bikers are good consumers and getting them to offer discounts to bikers was also discussed. If businesses get behind the task force’s recommendations, the City Council and residents might be more willing to adopt them.

Burton and Lotta also shared some of the , including a “road diet” for Fountain Avenue— making it a three-lane road (one lane in each direction and a center turn lane) and installing bike lanes at the curb.

Attendees were enthusiastic about that idea, many saying how Fountain can be a freeway, scary for even the most experienced biker. 

The task force also intends to recommend swapping parking space for bike lanes along much of Santa Monica Boulevard.

Another goal for creating the bike coalition is to provide education and outreach to the biking community. Attendees spoke about sponsoring bike rides and social gatherings for bikers.

Although there may be a lot of bikers in Weho, nothing exists to bring them together, to help them meet one another, attendees said. Burton, who reports he has not owned a car in the last 25 years, summed it up: “Until now, I haven’t known enough cyclists in West Hollywood to form a bicycle coalition.”

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Gerard Thai August 20, 2011 at 06:48 PM
I'm all in favour as I am a bicyclist. But there needs to be some changes in the laws that protect bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians. I was taught that riding my bicycle on the sidewalk is rude as well as against the law. There are signs in the west part of west hollywood that say riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is illegal but a few blocks later, there are signs posted saying that bicyclists must yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk. Sorry...but you simply can't have it both ways. Bicyclists need to get off the sidewalk! There needs to be designated bicycle lanes painted on the road everywhere with signs saying that motorists must yield to bicyclists where the bicycle lane encroaches in the motorist's lane. After all, riding a bicycle is a right...driving a vehicle is a privilege. There is no argument there. As a rider of a motorcycle as well, motorized scooters and motorcycles should NOT be allowed in the bicycle lane. We can split lanes legally but shouldn't be able to pass on the right. A law should be passed saying that if you are a using the bicycle lane with a bicycle and you cause an accident that is your fault, your motor vehicle insurance (if you have it) should be provided. That's my two cents. :)
William Margold August 21, 2011 at 12:23 AM
In the current craze of creating Coalitions...how about KOSS (Keep Our Sidewalks Safe) wherein all bike riding on side walks is strictly enforced throughout West Hollywood or MYBMVV (Make Your Bike More Valued and Visible) by making all bike owners register their bikes every year, buy licenses for them, and have those licenses made out of materials that can radiate light when it gets dark? No city is ever solvent enough to overlook a new source of revenue.
Mark Elliot August 21, 2011 at 06:55 AM
We welcome another regional coalition here on the Westside. We established a local Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition affiliate, Better Bike Beverly Hills, back in 2010. Find us at http://betterbike.org With a WeHo coalition now forming, we're in better shape than ever to advocate for racks, routes, plans and programs to get people onto bikes.
jimmy palmieri August 22, 2011 at 11:33 PM
I don't care if people use bikes, roller skates, skateboards, or circus elephants,,,,,,,,JUST WATCH FOR PEDESTRIANS. Between nannies texting and crashing their baby carriages into people, skateboarders using every inch of the sidewalk wrecklessly, and cyclists being so agressive on the sidewalk, I find it very hard to understand how WEHO became a top walking city. I LOVE WALKING.......I JUST HATE DUCKING EVERYONE ELSE ON THE SIDEWALK,........WERD!
Tess. Lotta August 23, 2011 at 05:54 PM
Thank you for your comments! It helps us to understand areas of concern. A good chunk of the sidewalk issue with cyclists has to do with the lack of bicycling infrastructure in West Hollywood—safe and sane bike lanes (unlike thecurrent lane on Santa Monica—a death trap)—and educational programs that support and teach safe-riding practices, bicycle maintenance, and partnerships with drivers and pedestrians. The Bicycle Task Force is hitting on these issues in our recommendations to city council, and the enlightened are listening (come voice your concerns at Sept 7th meeting at Plummer Park - 6:30pm). A West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition is not just for bicyclists—we want the voice of peds and drivers! We share the road. So, join our efforts as we pursue these and other important issues. To get on the WeHoBC list serve, email tess.wehobc@hotmail.com or KB.WeHoBC@gmail.com
LAofAnaheim August 23, 2011 at 07:44 PM
Advocate for a bike lane along Santa Monica boulevard in Beverly Hills. One nice long continous lane from Century City --> Beverly Hills --> West Hollywood is sorely needed. The gap in Beverly Hills is frustrating.
joninla December 08, 2011 at 10:21 PM
Now I am trying to understand this "Bicycle Task Force" The City's website says the City has created this task force, and it is to be comprised of individuals who would like to see more bike routes. The city's official site http://www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=943 has a very long list of goals for the Bicycle Task Force to accomplish (well there is one goal just turned into a list of ways of making a community argument which would be in favor of creating more bike lanes. I did not see any goal of any kind to even think about the possible NEGATIVE IMPACTS TO THE COMMUNITY, THE RESIDENTS INDIVIDUAL SAFETY, AND THE EFFECTS ON TRAFFIC THIS STATED GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO ALREADY REALLY WANT MORE BIKE LANES. Is this a Bicycle Task Force or just a funded means of gathering like minded city residents to think think or make up a thousand and one reason why the City SHOULD build bike lanes - with an analytical result being it will BENEFIT THE CITY (bike riders and non-bike riders). WHAT THE HECK? Where is the serious consideration of the Negative Impacts any change to our already overly congested streets will have As an avid bike rider, our Mayor, John Duran seems to be the one who REALLY WANTS THE CITY TO BUILD MORE BIKE LANES an this "TASK FORCE" is noting more than a biased Lobbing Group that will appear to be an independent and fair group who looked at the PROS & CONS before submitting this project at a future City Council Meeting as a factual report.

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