Can we make the Bicycle District official? kthxbai

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This proposal for the Los Angeles Bicycle District is an amazing idea and something the city should get behind. In the same way that Gallery Row has helped bring attention to the downtown arts district and encouraged the culture to thrive, an official, city sanction Bicycle District could help promote the idea that LA is more bike friendly than a lot of people think, at the same time fostering the community that already exists. Anyone who has spent any time on Heliotrope at Melrose already knows that’s pretty much the bike culture epicenter of LA, and making it more official would only help it grow. I know that lots of City Council folks are reading this, what do you say?

58 Replies to “Can we make the Bicycle District official? kthxbai”

  1. What a cool idea! I wonder would this be the first bicycle district in the country? in the world? If we all use it maybe it will just stick.

    I miss having a bike every time I’m at scoops seeing all those happy go lucky bike riders.

  2. Hrmph, for all I bike you’d think I’d be down with this plan. But actually it’s for all I bike that I want ALL of LA to be a so-called bike district, not just a patch of it.

    I’d be more inclined to get behind an effort to officially designate the immediate vicinity around Helio and Mel as “Bicycle Square” then I would demarcating the boundaries of an actual territory.

  3. The Militant was going to say something, but Will beat the Militant to it. Do we have a “Car District?” Think more deeply about it, and making a “Bicycle District” would actually hurt this city’s chances of being more bike-friendly than help it.

  4. So it’s either Bicycle District or what we have now, which is nothing? I don’t think naming an area the Bicycle District would lead anyone to believe that bikes aren’t allowed elsewhere in LA. Do people yell at toys “HEY! You there, toy!! Get back to the Toy District where you belong!”

    Frankly, I don’t think non-cycling drivers would even think much about it, it’s just something for us cyclists to says “yay!” to.

  5. I don’t see this as a new initiative, I see it as recognizing something that already exists. Are Koreans not welcome in other parts of town outside of Koreatown? A galleries inhibited from doing business outside of Gallery Row? No, all those things do it draw attention to something that is already happening and a collection of people already in place. A Bicycle District around Melrose/Heliotrope doesn’t mean people can’t ride bikes in the rest of the city, it’s just a nod from the city saying they know we are already grouping up in those locations.

  6. I know the various district boundaries overlap a bit, but just as an FYI, the area east of Vermont is already designated as Virgil Village. Being one of probably 25 people who know of “Virgil Village” I thought I would point that out. :)

    I like the bicycle square idea.

  7. I actually live around the area. Though I support bicycle riding, and even go to the Bicycle Kitchen fairly often, I believe that whole area is more known for its ethnic diversity than bicycles, and has been for several decades. I also don’t think naming the whole are the “Bicycle District” would be fair to the various immigrant families that have lived there for many years. So I would agree with Will Campbell and support the little corner as “Bicycle Square” instead of the whole area as “Bicycle District,” which should actually be East Hollywood.

  8. If this will help motivate the city to fix the insane number of potholes and uneven pavement in that area, then you have my vote!

  9. I’ll try a different tack since the half-baked arguments about toys and Koreans and galleries are making me sick from laughing out loud.

    Extrapolating an entire arbitrarily bounded district from a bike shop and a repair cooperative within it is just silly talk.

    What happens when Orange 20 needs to move to a bigger space near USC or the Bike Kitchen — which originated in the Eco Village — outgrows its home and relocates to Highland Park. You know what happens? Then the bikes go with ’em and all you’re left with is a bunch of aging signage signifying nothing.

    But go ahead and do battle pushing this romantic and well-meaning initiative through the bureaucracy? While you’re at it, I’ll be outside your so-called colony, riding my bike.

  10. Here, here, Will!

    How many of the supporters of this “Bicycle District” actually live and work in the neighborhood? And for how long? Two bike institutions does not a Bicycle District Make. Thai Town had way more than two Thai restaurants, Little Ethiopia had much more than two Ethiopian eateries, etc. Unless there are a dozen bicycle shops in that area, and more than 25% of the residents are active cyclists, I don’t think this can be justified at all. Futhermore, are there any demarcated bike lanes in this “Bicycle District?” having actually lived in the area for three decades, I can tell you (unfortunately) there are not.

    The people who are pushing for this, which includes people I otherwise admire and respect, would be far better off putting their energies into more bicycle amenities, education and awareness across the entire city of L.A. than a district that has already had its own multi-ethnic identity before the Bicycle Kitchen first set up its first stand.

    I love and support the Bike Kitchen and Orange 20 100% and I myself ride my bike quite often (I’m actually gonna ride my bike to my chiropractor’s appointment in Atwater Vilage right now) but I feel quite insulted and offended when the non-locals insist that the area is some “no-man’s land” that someone can call it to their liking. Gosh, now I know how the Native Americans felt like!

    Ask Tai Kim of Scoops what the neighborhood is called. He’ll say it’s “East Hollywood.”

  11. wow, nasty nasty. I’m not sure what red tape and bullshit everyone is so worried about, but i saw the process on this downtown and it was nothing like what everyone here is wringing their hands about. Gallery Row was suggested, approved, and signs were up with next to no issue at all. It made no difference to anyone except the galleries who were already there and were happy the city recognized them. I know it’s shocking but there are in fact other businesses which have nothing to do with art galleries right in the middle of gallery row and you know what? Nothing changed in their lives after it. They weren’t kicked out, offended, or anything. The only people who cared were the folks who were glad that the city noticed what they were trying to build.

    Even more, Gallery Row is still a part of downtown! It wasn’t kicked out of that either. So this “oh no, it’s already east hollywood” is massive crap. There’s no reason in the world that the Bicycle District can’t be located squarely in East Hollywood.

    But you know what? I don’t really give a shit one way or the other. I know when I go to Heliotrope and the surrounding areas it’s exciting to see what is going on. Let me make that clear, WHAT IS ALREADY GOING ON IS EXCITING. I think it would be cool if the city took note of that. That’s all. I’m not asking them to notice that instead of something else, and it’s not even my idea. I’m just pointing out someone elses. If you don’t like it, no big deal either.

  12. Name that area “The Bike District” and I’ll be way more likely to drive a car there. Isn’t the best thing about “Bike to Work Day” that there’s so much more available parking?
    All of LA should encourage cycling, just as every day should be full of bicycle commuters!

  13. You’re absolutely right Sean, it is an exciting time around O20 and the BK. I love the vibe and the energy and I’m not opposed to the concept of a bike district. I would just rather see it potentially incorporating, say, 4th Street, which as a Bike Boulevard could be the zone’s backbone and developed to spur a long-term growth and awareness of cycling.

    I’m not against promoting what bikes have brought to the area around Heliotrope and Melrose and to seeing it recognized in some form… I just think that if anything, designating that immediate vicinity as a Bicycle Square would make more sense.

    Two shops across the street from one another are a lot different than a density of art galleries over several blocks, or a long developed ethnic segment of the population within a region of the city. If you can’t see that’s where I’m coming from and instead think I’m all uppity about being excluded or offended then that’s gotta be my nasty fault.

  14. Will you know I love you and am forever in your debt for teaching me the ways of the single speed. They could call it the Bicycle District, Bicycle Square, HappyFunTimeBicycleLand, Bicycleville, BikeTown or anything and whatever area it includes makes no real difference, a block radius, a few blocks around it, a certain street, whatever the point is simply something very cool is going on over there and it would be awesome to draw more attention to it.

    (btw if you haven’t been in Pure Luck you don’t know that the place is FIRMLY rooted in the bike culture, the walls are filled with framed bike photos and all the people there are riders. The coffee shop next Scoops is also very pro-bike. I’d say that in the half a block of Heliotrope we’re talking about there are 5 bike friendly businesses, which is really bad ass)

  15. Sean, do you live or work in the area?

    I just think the whole neighborhood should decide first, and not just a bunch of people posting on a blog. FYI, I’ve been going to Scoops when no one knew about the place, and I’ve eaten at Pure Luck since that location served Korean food. I walk, and even bike there. You can even see me hanging out there a lot.

    The new development and the bike culture IS exciting, I agree. Dude, I’m wiping off the sweat from my 4-mile round trip bike ride to Atwater Village. But how long has it been there? Not very long. For some perspective, there were Thai Restaurants for over 20 years on Hollywood before there was a Thai Town. And Armenian businesses for 6 decades before there was a Little Armenia. All I’m just saying is that aside from a bustling streetcorner, there is nothing to justify the entire area as a “Bicycle District.”

  16. could simply not resist chiming in

    i agree with will, there is a much larger bicycle “area”, “district” and “zone” outside of the small confines of Heliotrope and Melrose. Even wider than the boundaries of East Hollywood.

    Why should we all, who live and love to bike, get behind just that one block? Why not include all suitable bike streets (4th of course) that connect in and through that area? Make a beautiful and most lovely SQUARE at Helio/Melrose.
    De-marcate the surrounding streets as a network of bicycle boulevards and voila!

    Bicycle District! Autentico!

    It is worth noting that yes, in many ways that block does serve the growing bicycle community but I simply cannot sit here and pretend that it does not have an undeniable problem with inclusiveness. My voice will be heard!

    Now, my own very hot new bicycle hails from Orange 20, Scoops is EPIC and Pure Luck is delicious, but please, for us all, can someone PLEASE help to widen the scope of this idea to *INCLUDE* us all???

    bike love,
    ingrid

  17. Elson – Where I live makes no difference, again this isn’t my proposition, I’m just saying someone else had and idea that I think is cool. For the record I live in Silver Lake but very frequently bike over just to do business with the shops on the street.

    Ingrid – This is exactly the idea I don’t understand. No one isn’t being included. This isn’t about exclusion. It’s not even about fostering anything, it’s about recognizing something already in motion. Right now there is NO bike anything in the city, sure saying the whole city should be a bike zone is great, but that’s not likely to happen over night. The way that happens is baby steps, exactly like this one. Small things that keep happening and add up to something bigger. It’s not about only this, it’s about this being one more piece of the puzzle. People keep saying 4th street like it’s this or that. That’s insane. Both should be some kind of bike something. The more the better.

  18. Ingrid: My only issue as a bicyclist is, Why settle for just a district? That should be the whole city!
    Back in Spring, I was just in Portland, reputedly the most bike-friendly city in the country, and studied their network carefully. They have exclusive bike trails and street paths/lanes. We have exclusive bike trails and street paths/lanes. They have relatively flat terrain. We have relatively flat terrain. The only real difference? Their paths, trails and lanes are all interconnected. Ours isn’t. Yet. They also have directional signage for cyclists. And which city has the better weather? So all that is possible here. They don’t have a “Bicycle District” in Portland because the whole damn city is that way.

    That’s what we should be striving for. When Will bikes from Silver Lake to Westchester, one end should be no less bicycle-friendly than the other.

  19. Elson, Portland is a great example of why this is a GOOD idea. All that stuff in Portand didn’t happen over night. It wasn’t bike-unfriendly one day and then amazing the next. Small things keep happening around the city and grew to the point they were happening on top of each other. A bike district, wherever that is, is just one more step towards making the city overall more bike friendly.

  20. Sean: Let’s say someone called your part of Silver Lake the “7-11 District.” After all there are two 7-11s in Silver Lake, and there’s like 5 people who love Slurpees who wanted to call your neighborhood the “7-11 District” and you had absolutely no say in it. How would that make you feel?

    As for the inclusiveness Ingrid is mentioning, I could be wrong, but she is probably alluding to the ethnic representation in the corner compared the ethnic representation in the entire neighborhood. You certainly don’t see a bunch of Elderly Armenian men, middle-aged El Salvadoran mothers or Filipino teenagers hang out there.

  21. I sent my private comments about inclusion.

    But publicly I will say this….4th Street is a great starting place. Will is not putting 4th Street up against anything else and neither am I. INCLUSION is the key here.
    That is why I promoted the idea so heavily.
    The larger goal of the 4SBB is to create a larger network of bicycle boulevards, including Helio/Melrose.

    4th st IS a good candidate. Councilman Tom LaBonge recognizes that, as does Michelle Mowery at the LADOT, but of course we are ALL, TOGETHER, pushing for a whole cities worth of bicycle infrastructure.

    peace out

  22. Sean: You’re not getting my point at all. Calling a large area a “Bicycle District” where there are no lanes, paths, traffic-calming devices, etc. is just plain superficial. Actually implementing them, and implementing them in other areas – THAT’S substance. Portland did the latter and not the former. I’ve seen the Bicycle District website but nothing on it shows me any specific vision on making the entire area bicycle-friendly. Those things need to be done first before a “Bicycle District” (anywhere) deserved one of them blue signs. The “Bicycle District” name is meaningless, and especially if the entire city eventually becomes bike-friendly.

  23. “Let’s say someone called your part of Silver Lake the “7-11 District.” After all there are two 7-11s in Silver Lake, and there’s like 5 people who love Slurpees who wanted to call your neighborhood the “7-11 District” and you had absolutely no say in it. How would that make you feel?”

    Unless I ran a Circle-K I wouldn’t give a shit. That’s my point in all of this, it’s not about saying what isn’t going on there, it’s about noticing what is.

    And the ethnic thing is… what?? I didn’t see anywhere this being called the “white guys bicycle district” and one of the things I love most about the bike culture of LA is that it’s so ethnicly diverse.

  24. and yes, since i created the 4sbb.com and nurtured the idea with my actual LOVE…i do love my 4sbb…..but it is definitely not about putting one street against another.rather it is a place to hang the larger idea of bringing bicycle boulevards to LA…..

    from 4th to beverly on catalina and from beverly to santa monica on heliotrope…that is also an ideal bike boulevard candidate. there is a huge divider in the middle of the street on the beverly to oakwood section of heliotrope…perfect candidate….that way everyone would be connected…..

  25. Hmmm…. Many good points have been mentioned. I believe that a bicycle district is far too much for an area that is known for its two bike shops. I agree with Will Campbell, Hel-Mel Bicycle Square would be an amazing idea. Also the entire “Bike District” lays inside of the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council. Has anybody tried talking to them yet? They seem to be a pretty cool crowd all young and energetic who would love to have something like this at that particular corner.

    Yes what is going on in that community is very exciting! A lot of that has to to with the neighborhood council. I could name you lots of businesses in this proposed area that all identify themselves with East Hollywood like Scoops, Pure Luck, Orange 20, Roco’s, etc etc etc.

  26. “Those things need to be done first before a “Bicycle District” (anywhere) deserved one of them blue signs. ”

    Sorry dude, I’m not buying that for a second. If there was a proposal for all the things that should be done everyone would be complaining about the cost and the inconvenience and blah blah blah. Look at what happens anytime the idea of more metro lines come up, everyone who isn’t into the idea freaks out they are going to get stuck with the bill.

    The corner of Melrose and Heliotrope is *already* a bike epicenter, putting a few signs up will cost next to nothing is a great argument later for why more things should be done to make things even more bike friendly. If you want to spearhead the major steps go right ahead, but bashing the smaller ones really doesn’t help anything.

  27. I’m insulted by this! No offense to the Korean population but I DO NOT LIVE IN KOREATOWN! I LIVE IN EAST HOLLYWOOD! Who ever did this had an idea and did not do ANY research. I’m all for bikers but this is East Hollywood, not Bicycle District. I’m down for a Bikers Alley.

  28. you are right sean, signage is a simple solution and I bet you someone would go for it!!

    Fixpert – make some more signs and hang ’em everywhere!!!

    And one on the 4SBB!

  29. Sean: I don’t wanna start any crap with you, I read this blog and I enjoy it pretty much, I actually find it more intelligent than those other L.A. group blogs (ugh..)

    What pisses me off is 1) That you seem to insist that the actual residents of the area, who predate the bicycle institutions, have absolutely no say in this matter and 2) You’ve never given any though to Will’s suggestion of a “Bicycle Square” for the Hel-Mel corner. That’s one “small step” that I won’t bash.

    Elson
    Heliotrope Drive resident

  30. I think that’s great.

    The problem is that there are lots of working class people in that section of LA and they take the bus. There are also quite a few elderly people who depend on people picking them up, public transport, handicapped services…etc…in that area. Lots of lines run down Vermont and Santa Monica and those are lines that people take who don’t have any other options, but to take the bus. It’s also right by a very large school for the blind (the Braille Institute.)

    Do you think that might possibly be a problem considering the issues bicycle riders and the bus systems has had?

    I know the Bicycle Kitchen is in that area and that would be cool for them and I think they are great, but I would just worry about a bike district in that particular section of town.

    I think a better place for a bicycle district would be though I know people are going to hate this but around Los Feliz/Silver Lake area , Hillhurst, Sunset, Rowena, Commonwealth, Griffith Park Blvd. The people who drive on Hillhurst need to get a clue and those are the people who should truly be educated on the rights of cyclists, not so much the guy who is barely holding on to his Mexican Bakery on Melrose.

    There are no lines (except the Dash and the 2 and 4 on Sunset, but there is already a bike lane on the eastern section of Sunset) that go down those streets and the people who live in that section of town don’t have to be anywhere on time (I know I live here,) so making a bike only lane and really increasing the cycling lanes in that area would seem to be much more fair (and with they probably would just say yeah, since everyone is all high on the green movement.)

    Anyways I’m so for a movement to close off Hillhurst to cars. Most people who hang out on Hillhurst live pretty close. Make it a bike and pedestrian friendly street. Why can’t we make that happen? That is totally doable. It’s also totally fair. Starting off on Hillhurst between Hollywood and Franklin, eventually moving it all the way up to Ambrose (where the Albertson’s is.) That would be great!!

    Just my opinion. I’m not going to fight for or against it. I’ve had a few beverages now am I’m getting ready to mix me another.

    Browne

  31. Browne: The working class people of my neighborhood also take the subway — we have a station at Santa Monica and Vermont, one of the busiest in the system. East Hollywood also has two more Metro stations, at Vermont/Sunset and Hollywood/Western. E-Ho and K-Town are the communities with the largest number of stations outside of Downtown.

    I just want to stress than I’m 100% in support of more bike-friendly streets in my neighborhood and in our city, I’m just against granting any neighborhood the designation of “The Bike District” unless there are a sizeable percentage of bike riders who live there, a large number of bicycle-oriented businesses and a long, meaningful history of bicycling in the community.

  32. Elson – I’m not trying to start crap either, we’re just having a discussion and don’t agree on a few points, it’s not personal at all and I think it’s good to have these conversations – we all learn something. As to your points:

    “1) That you seem to insist that the actual residents of the area, who predate the bicycle institutions, have absolutely no say in this matter and ”

    Not true at all. I’ve never suggested anyone shouldn’t have a say in it, I’ve suggested that many people won’t care. Those are two very different things. I’ve lived in countless neighborhoods that have been given official names while I’ve lived there and it’s never meant a thing to me. That’s what I’m saying, i think the majority of the people who live in the area won’t care one way or the other – because honestly it won’t effect them at all.

    “2) You’ve never given any though to Will’s suggestion of a “Bicycle Square” for the Hel-Mel corner.”

    Also not true – see my comment above where I specifically said I didn’t care if it was a block, a few blocks, a few streets, or what is was called. Bicycle Square sounds awesome and if someone had a web page up about that I’d link to it too.

  33. Elson my comment was not anti-subway, which is kind of what you seemed to imply.

    You seemed to put your own value judgments on lots of comments.

    I was simply saying that on the bus I see lots of elderly people that is all. I think you want to fight right now.

    I will let you do that with Sean, because it’s obvious to me you’re being a bit aggressive while everyone else is kind of just talking, that’s cool though you do that if you want.

    Browne

  34. I wonder if the Bicycle District could be made official neighborhood within a future official neighborhood East Hollywood. There, everyone’s happy!

  35. I have to say though the cyclist in that area have made it alot better. It was pretty much a wasteland (pre-1997,) if you live there now I’m sorry to offend you, but Bicycle Kitchen made that area livable again.

    It was a bit dicey before.

    Pre BK I got held up over there with a gun and my friend got beat up for his Fatburger hamburger a little down the way.

    It’s a cute neighborhood now and I think that is due in part to the Bicycle Kitchen, so while I would strongly suggest another location if a people got organized and it came up for a vote I’d be ok with it.

    I think on Melrose and around the area they want to make Bicycle Land they should make it bus and bike only. I would be very pro making some streets in LA no car and just public transit and bike only, maybe that’s extreme, but diving in the deep end is fun.

    Browne

  36. Browne: You misunderstood me totally, I just pointed out that you merely overlooked the subway, which is an important hub for the area since it opened in 1999. How exactly did I imply you were anti-subway?

    Actually the rebirth of that corner is credited to the old Night in Tunisia Cafe, owned by the Abed siblings (Samira, Lamia and Jamel) who were there years before the Kitchen was, circa 2001. Unfortunately the Abeds sold the cafe in 2006 and it’s now “City College Cafe” which refuses to stay open past 8 p.m. (Boo, hiss). If it weren’t for Tunisia, BK would have relocated elsewhere.

    BTW, the corner was featured in a famous movie in the 80s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAyi4JFJCwg

  37. also – I think the idea of “Bicycle District” was taken way out of context. This was a topic that was originally brought up among a group of friends after the author had heard people struggling with what to call that particular area. It was certainly not meant to diss or sideswipe any local residents and/or the area in general.

    It was a discussion that was based more on how to give props to the activity that has sprung up around bikes in the area, and how exciting and special it is to be a part of a community and a movement like this in Los Angeles.

    Elson, I know you work really hard for the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council.. this in no way was meant to undermine anything you’re working on. If it came across as insensitive to the neighborhood, then I’m sorry for that.

    For the record though – there are neighborhood kids and teenagers who hang out there. There’s one crew of young kids on BMX bikes that hang out at O20 a lot. They always have questions and comments about bikes. And the elderly people on the block were super cool and supportive about the Bicycle Film Festival Block Party when I was organizing for that. Which leads me to believe they’re not sweating the bicycle related activity on the block…

  38. also – I think the idea of “Bicycle District” was taken way out of context. This was a topic that was originally brought up among a group of friends after the author had heard people struggling with what to call that particular area. It was certainly not meant to diss or sideswipe any local residents and/or the area in general.

    It was a discussion that was based more on how to give props to the activity that has sprung up around bikes in the area, and how exciting and special it is to be a part of a community and a movement like this in Los Angeles.

    Elson, I know you work really hard for the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council.. this in no way was meant to undermine anything you’re working on. If it came across as insensitive to the neighborhood, then I’m sorry for that.

    For the record though – there are neighborhood kids and teenagers who hang out there. There’s one crew of young kids on BMX bikes that hang out at O20 a lot. They always have questions and comments about bikes. And the elderly people on the block were super cool and supportive about the Bicycle Film Festival Block Party when I was organizing for that. Which leads me to believe they’re not sweating the bicycle related activity on the block…

  39. Ashira: Thanks for the post. Contact me offline so we can discuss ways to create some sort of recognition of the bicycle community that the neighborhood will support. A designation of a “Bicycle Square” or something of the sort directly on that corner seems to be the consensus voiced here, so maybe we all should concentrate on that.

    We have a number of people involved in our neighborhood council who bike, as well as a few more running in our upcoming election on October 30. Since you work at Orange 20, you are eligible to vote as well. The EHNC could potentially have the largest number of bicyclists serving on a neighborhood council! We try to have fun with our NC. Some of the candidates, including myself, plan to organize a bike ride of EVERY street in E-Ho later this month to promote the election! Also, we would love to have you and other bicyclists involved in our Planning and Beautification Committee — this is the place to actually make those bike lanes/corridors happen.

    But the bicycle community isn’t the only thing that makes our community unique – the cultural diversity, the healthcare institutions, LACC, arts venues and awesome restaurants make this a special place. The people who frequent the Hel-Mel corner deserve to experience the rest of the community, just as much as the rest of the community deserves to experience the corner (and get on bikes too)!

  40. I’m the one that originally thought of the Bicycle District and made the sign. I’ve been sitting back and just watching the good discussion that this idea has spurred.
    This was never meant to be an official proposal to city council, it was a somewhat impromptu idea and conversation that I started on an LA cycling message board. People seemed to like the idea and the group contributed to (1) the official name, and (2) the delineation of the area on the map. (The map, btw was a 30 second photoshop job that was never originally intended for public consumption, but it’s out there now, and that’s fine)

    The sign that I made, and the act of putting it up was — in my mind — DIY guerrilla artwork…Graffiti (although I don’t like all the baggage that comes with that word).

    BUT! The resulting discussion I think has been really interesting, and I can’t think of many more pieces of graf around town that have sparked such constructive debate.

    It was never meant to be non-inclusive, it was just a nod to what IS already happening there on that block. Go to HelMo on any given night, or any weekend and what do you see? A cycling community!

    Where do you go when you want to find and hang out with other cyclists in LA? HelMo — the “heart” of the the Bicycle District. Contrast that with 4SBB which is awesome, but in my mind it’s a route, not an epicenter.

    And yes, conceptually it would be cool to consider all of LA a Bicycle District — that’s the kind of big thinking that we need to be doing — but I don’t think we’re actually there yet, and I wanted this concept to be rooted in something real. You see the sign, you look down the block and see a huge group of cyclists hanging out, and the sign is suddenly more credible.

    keep debating! I think this discussion is great!

  41. Sally – I truely lub you!

    Elson – I don’t work at O20… They’re good friends and I’ve helped them with minor website writing a couple times.. I think something official like “Bicycle Square” would be amazing!!! Let’s get it rolling!

    what are the borders of E-Ho? how long has the term Hel-Mel been around?

  42. on the E-Hollywood neighborhood council site

    http://www.easthollywood.net/

    you can find the boundaries, history and other bits of helpful info….

    I think the Hel/Mel Square is a great idea but it is very important to remember that we still have a lot of work to do by way of education and bicycle infrastructure. Signage and safety measures would need to be implemented. Also, I believe that focusing on the connections between neighborhoods and developing bike routes through key transit corriders is a necessary first step.

    and then….who knows….we could have:

    The Los Angeles Bicycle Boulevards!!!

    I’ll keep saying it and wishing for it until it is true! Live the Dream!!
    An interconnected network (a la Berkeley, Portland, etc.) of bicycle priority streets with design elements added to control the flow of traffic(turnabouts, forced turns, cul de sacs, physically separated bike lanes)….

    Truly it is possible. Live the Dream!!
    The roads are already in place and the weather is fine. :)
    We need signage up and awareness out.

    Anyone who wants to collaborate with me on strengthening the connections between the LA Public Library (where I work) and bicycles, please get in touch… I’m already at work planning a kids bicycle program in which my most beloved Bicycle Cops will be giving a safety demonstration….!

    I agree wtih sean, it is a lot easier to do this than we think, sometimes we kick ourselves in the foot with the internal arguments and the bickering. In my last two months working for the city of Los Angeles, I have seen the red-tape for sure, but there is also a lot of room for positive bicycle enthusiasm.

    Let’s keep it going!! Keep riding those roads!

    Love,
    The Bicycle Librarian

  43. Sweet jeebus a lot of blather about what…recognizing bike riders? Sheesh its not like they are trying to get a postal address or zip of their own. I see absolutely nothing wrong with letting them toss up signs “bike district”. No harm no foul.

    But “East Hollywood” for crissakes. How many variations on the “ho” do we need. Weho…got that one, the pun was better. Noho…never happen still plent on magnolia and lankershim or Burbank and Laurel, that’s why I left that area years ago. EaHo doesn’t even have a nice ring to it. It’s already subdivided into 3 ethnic communities how much more division to they need?

    Why is this city so intent in cutting itself up into tiny identifiable blocks? It started shortly after I got here with city hall renaming areas of the valley rather than addressing the problems head on. It continues to split and splinter the city. I’m not saying we need to be homogenous, or that we’d ever be mistaken for being that way. We are so unique. Can’t we just go back to celebrating that as being part of LA and all it can be?

  44. Ashira: OK I thought you told me you worked at Orange 20. “Hel-Mel” started from a conversation between Somer Waters and I back in 2005. He was excited about what was going on in the corner and wanted to give it a name. We brainstormed for a bit and I suggested, “How about “Hel-Mel?” And Somer was like “OMG I love that!” and he started spreading the term around. I haven’t seen Somer that much lately, I believe he got married recently and was starting a Build-A-Bike Workshop in Watts.

    Frazgo: Fine if you want to think that way. Outsiders usually don’t understand other’s neighborhoods anyway. Silver Lake may look like a bunch of hipsters and gentrification but to a local, it’s something else entirely. I can introduce you to a bunch of other people who think E-Ho has a nice ring to it. And East Hollywood isn’t about “dividing” but rather uniting. Our boundaries will include Thai Town and Little Armenia (not to cancel their designation but rather to highlight them), in addition to the many Latino and Asian institutions in the area, to show that we have the most diverse community in the city. Hollywood and Downtown and the three communities sandwiched in between them: East Hollywood, Silver Lake and Echo Park, I believe, make up the dynamism of the City.

  45. Elson you miss the point. I’ve watched the valley be split up into little pockets of this and that. (What does slake and hipsters have to do with it anyway? I’m neither a hipster or a gentrifier).

    Jeez. My point is we need to quit dividing and renaming, rather concentrate on the big picture. You are right LA is a dynamic city but one that is getting splintered and not in anyones best interest when it happens.

  46. Frazgo: You’re the one missing the point! This is not about dividing…what gives you that impression that we are dividing? It’s all about neighborhood identity and pride, which eventually translates into a better, safer hood. I’ve been involved in community organizing for a long ass time, not just an armchair critic, I know what I’m talking about. “Divisions” are just things that exist in your mind. The only real “division” that goes on when it comes to neighborhood designation is when homeowners create fancy names to drive up real estate values. We only have 8% homeowners in East Hollywood, so none of that is happening here.
    This is not the Valley, which might have been your experience. We just want to showcase a unique, diverse neighborhood that is unlike any other. We are welcoming people into our neighborhood, so they can discover the beauty of it – so what’s this “divisiveness” BS all about? Where exactly are these “walls” you accuse me of building?

    Read this treatise I wrote on the perception of neighborhood “division” that was published in CityWatch LA: http://www.citywatchla.com/content/view/530/

  47. Interesting viewpoint Elson. I understand your position, but there is more than just yours.

    As a bit of education, I have lived through the exact division you propose. Conoga Park begat West Hills, guess which the city allowed to slide? North Hollywood begat Valley Village, guess which back slid? LA needs to address neighborhoods wanting rebirth and identity beyond letting one piece rename itself, seperate itself and cease being part of the bigger neighborhood it left.

    Interesting treatise. I can tell your passionate on the topic. But I’m not about losing the ethnic neighborhoods, I’m about letting them stand out as a part of LA. Not EaHo or whatever designation the secessionists want to call it.

  48. East Hollywood is not a new name. It was established in the early 1900s and once an independent town that was annexed by the City of Los Angeles in 1910 (As was Hollywood, which was a separate town). Though part of today’s East Hollywood lies in the designated Hollywood, another part is unaccounted for. As Ashira mentioned, she asked people at the bike shop what the neighborhood was and they didn’t know. Some of it is in “Wilshire Center” which is a name that people don’t really use anymore. People use “Koreatown,” people use “Mid-Wilshire,” but no one uses “Wilshire Center.” It’s too far north of Wilshire to be considered anything “Wilshire.” Some of the area is considered by some as “Silver Lake” though it technically isn’t. So who exactly are we seceding from? If you truly knew the area, it’s vastly different than Hollywood proper. We don’t have the tourist attractions, the clubs, the theatres, the mega-developments (for both better and worse). We’re just diverse working-class people, many new to the USA, trying to get by.

    The whole Valley division thing was a different story, like I mentioned, it all has to do with property values and making realtors rich. What happened to “Sepulveda” was ridiculous. The “West Hills” thing was a joke, I agree. Our intention is totally different. And it’s not like we have opposition from the Thai and Armenian communities — we have a number of people of Armenian descent in our board who are proud to be from East Hollywood. A local Thai community nonprofit group organized a health fair a few weeks ago at the Hollywood/Western Metro station called “Live, Work and Play in East Hollywood.” I personally like to say “EAST” is an acronym for the four most prominent languages in our community: English, Armenian, Spanish and Thai.

    Don’t make me bust out the propaganda:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bw9l91i_Bc

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