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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Prediction: Bicycle Czar Job Opening at LADOT


 Michelle Mowrey serving LADOT's target LA bike rider. | Photo from Streetsblog LA

LADOT Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowrey rationalizes LA's half-assed bike plan compared to other cities is that LA must not be as "very white and very progressive" as Portland, Oregon.  Here are comments from a recent exchange between Mowrey and Bill Rosendahl during a Transportation Committee meeting.

BILL ROSENDAHL: Alta Planning is reportedly one of the finest consulting groups in the world for bike planning. How is it that the City of Los Angeles kicked off the Draft Bike Plan process with Alta but did not incorporate the robust Bike Plan process that Portland used/is using to develop their own Bike Plan? For example in Portland Alta maintained eleven working groups, and they used community bike rides to engage and survey.

MICHELLE MOWERY: With all due respect the City of Portland is 450,000 people. It’s a homogeneous community that is very white, and very progressive with respect to transportation. They have a trolley system that works very well, as well as their transit overall. We are a very diverse, disjointed city of 4 million people. They are 30 years ahead of us in the development of their, well, they’re not quite 30, they’re more like 20 years ahead of us in the development of their bikeway. So we’re a step behind Portland in what we’re trying to do. Granted, several of us would like to see a lot of changes in the city happen very quickly, but again we have a very diverse city with a lot of needs.

As Streetsblog LA points out the likely reason the plan is so-so is that the City didn't spend enough money.  Probably but also LA's city government is so dysfunctional and staffed with morons compared to most other cities on these type of issues it was impossible for our City to step up to the level of more functional cities like Portland.  Or, as Streets says, even equally large and diverse cities such as Chicago and New York.

Anyone want to start the countdown clock on when Mowrey gets the pink slip?

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24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Get rid of Jan Perry first. She's a much bigger moron.

December 19, 2009 3:23 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Don't skewer Ms. Mowrey for speaking the truth.

We can't model ourselves of off Portland, that place is half the size of the valley...not LA... just the VALLEY!

And yes, it matters that Portland has a majority of white progressives. It's sort of like Gavin Newsom showing off about passing liberal policies in San Francisco, who cares? SF's got only 800000 people and half are a step away from registering socialist.

Nice to see a bureaucrat telling it like it is for once.

December 19, 2009 4:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

There would be no outrage concerning the "dirty masses" comment if she changed her surname from Mowrey to Morales. Michelle, how does Michelle Morales sound to you, for the purposes of saving your job.

December 19, 2009 5:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Trying to compare Los Angeles to Portland is stupid. We will never be Portland nor do we want to be. If I wanted to live in Portland I would move there. I like the Valley, I grew up in the Valley. Bike lanes all over the Valley are stupid. Have you tried to bicycle in the summer or even in the warm part of the year? We need good streets that don't have a a bunch of potholes. Have you driven some of the streets in the east valley, especially in Sunvalley or Sylmar, they are terribly maintained. We need to spend money on repairing our existing roads not creating new bike lanes that no one is going to use.

December 19, 2009 5:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

3:23PM Jan Perry is flailing around like a beached whale trying to stop the investigation into her and AEG. She'll be history soon enough.

December 19, 2009 7:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mowrey's right, you cannot compare Portland to Los Angeles. In fact there are very few cities that can be compared to Los Angeles where cyclists are concerned.
On the Westside there are privileged SUV driving crazy women who are far too busy and important to even notice cyclists while they slip their lattes and babble inanely on their cellphones.
On the Eastside, undocumented motorists (is that PC enough for you) are too drunk or drugged to notice cyclists, even though most of them do ride bikes when their licenses get suspended for DUI, or falling behind in their court ordered domestic violence counseling.
In South Central, however, most of the cyclists are too busy running dope to notice white cars favored by their gang banger buddies.
Yeah, don't compare LA to Portland. We're kinda special here and wasting money on creating bike lanes is a great idea as we need to find jobs for the soon to be termed out politicians who allowed all of the above to fester and grow like a cancer.

December 19, 2009 8:09 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

5:29, Morales' dumping on Mowreys IS the way the city is every day. Can you imagine if the white areas were the crowded ones because they were full of illegals from Ireland, while the Latino areas were full of rich Mexicans escaping crime, coming to gated communities.

And instead of Reyes wanting to move his and Alarcon's and Huizee's masses to the westside where "they had too many parks and not enough of the energy of young people" or however he puts it, it was Councilwoman Reynolds saying the same thing, that the rich Mexican enclaves would benefit from putting high-density affordable housing in their midst, maybe on their communal recreation parkland that's WAY too big and quiet for them, for all the Irish who have 10 kids that they can't afford in private housing?

Having said that, there are other differences between L A and Portland that make L A's streets more dangerous for bikers, and large areas in South and East L A that are too dangerous to drive through - the "not homogoenous nice middle class places" that even cops are wary in. It's a fact that Portland doesn't have a lot of gangbanger areas. But it does have some.

Otherwise, our weather should make L A better for biking in most areas and we do need bike-friendly streets.

How about LaBonge and Rosendahl being put in charge of this, LaBonge hauling his big fat ass as a role model, Reyes huffing behind as inspiration for the Latinos, and Hueezee too, wheezing or not. And Rosendahl and Zine can get off their motorcycles and join in by leading weekly bike rides.

December 19, 2009 8:14 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

8:14PM - Reyes is too stupid to know what a bike is. He certainly is too stupid to work out how to ride one. He's a nasty little man with a chip on his shoulder the size of Jan Perry's ass.

December 19, 2009 8:31 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The editors for The Voice newspaper are perfect bicyclist role models. I saw them this evening promoting healthy cycling with about 10 to 15 community members. It is a great beginning. I believe the editors use cycling on a daily basis as means to collect their newspaper stories.
"When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." ~H.G. Wells

December 19, 2009 9:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

In comparing L.A. and Portland, L.A. has many, many more bikeriders, so we should be at least as serious about developing a meaningful bike plan as Portland.

And we have many more white people riding bikes than Portland.

December 19, 2009 10:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

No, no, no.

For Bike Czar, there is only one natural person.

Richard Riordan

December 20, 2009 8:59 AM  

Anonymous Nina Royal said:

It really should be Steven Box.
He "rides the talk." He and his wife Enci are one of the biggest bicycle activist in the city.

December 20, 2009 11:46 AM  

Blogger SoapBoxLA said:

Mowery wrote the scope of work for the Bike Plan project.

Mowery led the charge to hire Alta Planning from Portland over the local RSA company that underbid Alta.

Mowery supervised Alta and its local outreach consultant (Leslie Scott & Associates) and set the parameters on public meetings.

Mowery has her hands all over the Draft Bike Plan debacle and her job is to prevent it from becoming a meaningful document.

Mowery has 15 years in position and literally nothing to show for it other than a well-rehearsed and oft presented list of excuses on why LA will never be bike-friendly.

She's low on the ladder but she's the public face for the Department of "No!" and she must "Go!" before she can spew anymore rhetoric and distract from the need to make the streets of LA safer and more effective for everybody!

December 20, 2009 1:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Stephen Box is the obvious and best choice to become the new bike czar.

December 20, 2009 2:54 PM  

Blogger jericho1ne said:

We need a new bike coordinator with real power and a spine. And LA cyclists should be able to democratically elect one ASAP.

December 20, 2009 3:00 PM  

Blogger Mikey Wally said:

"why you gotta be anonymous?"

December 20, 2009 5:14 PM  

Anonymous Enci said:

Whoever the New Bike Czar will be has to be living in LA (or be willing to move), has to ride a bike during various times of the day (including at night when Mowery is scared to ride), as well as during rush hour and when the streets are dead.

The new Czar will have to be willing to work on legislation (as Reyes requested years ago), will also have to ride the Metro with their bike and should have a stake on making our streets good and safe for all levels of cyclists, including kids who ride to school, workforce cyclists, old ladies and gents, who would like to ride their bikes to get some coffee in the morning, as well as the hipsters and the messengers who ride to make a living.

The new Czar will have to believe in Equality not segregation! He/she will have to believe that cycling is a great solution for making our communities, our businesses, our economy and our neighborhoods prosperous.

December 20, 2009 7:09 PM  

Blogger Gary said:

LA is different from Portland, that is true. However what I think has people pissed is that all we get from the LADOT concerning bikes is excuses, and usually really bad ones. This is the same Mowery that said sharrows (shared lane markings) were problematic because people might slip on the paint. Never mind the fact Seattle has a network of sharrow markings. If you are going to get paid taxpayer money to give excuses, at least come with some good ones.

December 20, 2009 8:02 PM  

Blogger jeremygrant.com said:

Michelle is missing the point of the question. We are asking for a more "robust Bike Plan process -- community working groups, and bike rides to engage and survey." What we got was simply a series of presentations and an invitation to write in comments. Any meaningful dialog with Michelle at these meetings is simply lost because of her perpetual negativity, snob mentality, and car-centric/anti-bike stance on transportation problems.

Blaming our diversity just takes the cake. Show up to any bike event in LA and you will find diverse groups of people (race, politics, gender, age, etc.) working together to achieve positive contributions to our communities. We have an open mind to the idea that bikes and cars can coexist. Does Michelle not notice that we have a homogeneous (car dependent) community here? Is she too weak/afraid/ignorant to take on that status quo and make things /more/ diverse as far as transportation?

Actually, she admits she and the bike program are weak. We can't have someone in charge that has already admitted defeat!

We need someone who will challenge the system with innovative ideas of how the car and bicycle can coexist equally and safely while solving the congestion and pollution. What we have is a sadist that sits by and blames cyclists for their own misfortune. How can I ride safer (as Michelle suggests) if the streets are torn up and bike routes and lanes are disconnected all across the city? How can I feel my given rights will be protected in this city when the coordinator of the bike plan is so quick to negatively categorize me and the rest of the community.

15 years of Michell's "don't rock the boat/blame the cyclist" tactics is enough. The plan is bland and makes it too easy of a job to achieve "substantial compliance". I expect a city as successful as Los Angeles to put great effort into a plan that has an inspiring vision and monumental goals.

December 20, 2009 11:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Michelle misses the point on purpose. She has never been about the truth, or about real need. She's all about Michelle and her teeny tiny throne.

Get rid of the racist *&^%$ now while she still hasn't done any permanent damage yet..

December 21, 2009 7:54 PM  

Blogger Kim-SubMeter Maid said:

I agree that Stephen Box would be the best bicycle czar in Los Angeles right now.

Although we aren't Portland and it's true they got a head start on us in the area of transportation, it's never too late to fix things. But that's a bigger issue than bicycle czar.

So if I had a vote, it would be Stephen.

December 22, 2009 12:03 AM  

Blogger Kim-SubMeter Maid said:

Oh my god, what an awesome link I got from Enci's post!

http://landfill.wordpress.com/

December 22, 2009 12:09 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

According to the City of Los Angeles, this is current employee's salary for this position:

TRANSPORTATION
SR PROJECT COORDINATOR MOWERY,GEORGIA M
$87,737.76

December 23, 2009 10:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mowrey should be fired for making those racist comments. Like white people do not know what they are doing? They do not know what is right? You can not model after something that works?

Reyes needs to get off his fat ass. He does not know what a bicycle is or anything about city planning. And, it seems that none of the city council knows anything about city planning. Look at all the development coming in in places it does not belong. So, there will be more traffic not less.

And, who will want to move into some of the new condo's and apartments with only one parking space? I guess some of the same idiots that tell people not to drive when you have to have a car in Los Angeles.

December 27, 2009 8:16 AM  

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