In the op-ed section of yesterday’s latimes.com there’s a column from some guy named Dan Turner who decided after a few miles biking along the L.A. River Bikeway from Griffith Park to Atwater Village to write about how the wretched waterway is sooooo grody and even moreso not worth the monumental amount of money and time and planning needed to make it ungrody.
Defensive as I am about the river like it’s my disabled kid brother, I’m not unrealistic about its condition or the gargantuan effort required for a headwaters-to-mouth revitalization that I won’t see realized in my lifetime. I just get a little fisty and expletive-laced when a guy gets on a bike for a single spin along a four-mile stretch and comes away as something of an expert putting his name to printed opinions under subheadlines that say stuff like: “At its best, the waterway is an above-ground sewer filled with nastiness and lined by graffiti-scarred concrete and smoke-belching industrial buildings.”
But the guy’s entitled to his opinion. He’s certainly not alone.
My real beef, beyond Turner’s limited, disgusted view is the timing of the piece. Why would the L.A Times put a hater on a bike along the river in the week leading up to this Sunday’s annual Los Angeles River Ride — an important event not only in raising awareness of it, but also for LA County Bike Coalition, which organizes it.
If the Times wants to let Turner slag on the river from his saddle, couldn’t it have waited a week when his discouraging and disparaging words might not have turned people off from coming out on their bikes, supporting a great event and seeing the place for themselves?