Ride “4th Street Bike Boulevard” With LaBonge Tonight

I may give Councilman Tom LaBonge a bit o’ the pffft now and then for being a shrewd and consumate politician operating from behind such an aw-shucks, good-ol’-angeleno exterior, but there’s no denying how much he loves his native city (he has “LA” in his last name for corn’s sake), and despite my jaundiced eye it’s ever so easy to get caught up in his seemingly boundless enthusiasms — especially when it has to do with a subject near and dear: bicycles.

Of all our civic leaders I can’t think of any one of them that does more to promote and encourage their use and inclusion… not by just talking about it, but by pedaling what he preaches. Every year he leads the bikes-only night through Griffith Park’s LADWP Festival of Lights (though more than one would be nice Tom), and he was ultimately receptive and attentive to tireless bike advocates Stephen and Enci Box when they called bullshit on plans to prohibit cyclists from visiting the Griffith Observatory when it re-opened last fall. And my favorite personal example of LaBonge’s support came in June 2003: after a night partying hard at the annual L.A. Zoo fundraiser, the next dawn there he was at the end of the 110 Freeway in Pasadena at 6 a.m. to enthusiastically send off all the cyclists who’d gathered to ride the Arroyo-Seco Highway closed to cars down to Avenue 26 and back just for the occasion.

Well pardon the lengthy preamble but he’s adding to the legend tonight. The L.A. County Bike Coalition has announced that the public’s invited to join LaBonge at 6:30 p.m. at Shatto Park (map) where he’ll be donning helmet and straddling saddle to bike the length and back (six miles) of what’s become known as 4th Street Bike Boulevard (4SBB), a grassroots initiative to make that thoroughfare uniquely bike friendly whose proponents worked valiently to get LaBonge’s ear and interest.

Looks like it’s paid off.

13 Replies to “Ride “4th Street Bike Boulevard” With LaBonge Tonight”

  1. Sounds cool. Maybe we can bug him about why he was spotted at the Angels game last night (heh-heh…). Make that the “Los-Anga-les Angels of Anaheim.” But nice to see him show his support.

  2. i’m ready. i do love my little 4SBB. Just rode it home for lunch….from the library….aww….

    Fun Fact – It is City Council Members like Tom LaBonge who are responsible for choosing the board of directors for my very own Los Angeles Public Library.

    The Mayor appoints the City Librarian, an inspiring lady named Fontayne Holmes. He then works with the City Council Members to fill the rest of the board…

    I’m thinking – FREE LIBRARY BIKE PROGRAM!!

    Anyone? Anyone?!

    :)

    Live the Dream!!

  3. Whoever runs the 4sbb.com website:

    After reading this post, I visited your website to learn more about the 4th St. Bicycle Blvd. I read the “What Is 4SBB?” page (http://www.4sbb.com/about_4sbb.html), and I still have no earthly idea what the 4th St. Bicycle Blvd. is, or is supposed to be. Seems like this “grassroots initiative” might benefit from a clearer public face, no?

    Will, maybe you can explain? I’m genuinely curious about what 4SBB is.

  4. Hey there Oren,

    In a way 4th Street from Hoover to Cochran has evolved to be comparitively bike friendly.

    As is it’s long been a route cyclists have used to get across town in part because it courses mostly through residential neighborhoods and has an abundance of stop signs that makes the going slower for vehicular traffic.

    Drawing on the successful Bicycle Boulevard model in effect in Berkeley (link), proponents of 4SBB here in Los Angeles would like to see modifications implemented that bring increase bicycle safety and convenience to 4th Street (and others such as Fountain for example).

    Hope that helps answer your question.

  5. Thanks for the explanation and link, Will, though that Berkeley site is pretty hard to dig through. So are there specific proposals floating around for 4th St.?

  6. Oren, I’m not sure if there’s anything concrete out there in terms of proposals. I look at LaBonge’s ride last night as a bit of a see-for-himself fact-finding mission from which the beginnings of a master plan might develop. Fingers crossed.

  7. Just re-did some of the ABOUT page over on 4SBB.

    As for not “getting it” ….well, there is a certain level of intellectual engagement that you need to bring to the website. I like to think of it as an interactive powerpoint.

    Also, it helps to take a ride down 4th street to see what i/we are all talking about. Expecting to “get it” just from the website is unrealistic. But I appreciate your criticism, which is why i made a few changes here and there.

    That said, the initial goal of 4SBB was to get the word out about 4th street as an ideal candidate for re-tooling as a “bicycle boulevard”…

    and Will is right to say that “it looks like it paid off” because it has!

    Now i want you all to cross you’re fingers and hope it actually happens. Because that is the best we can do at this point… although i will continue to press the idea and the issue when relevant and appropriate… but ultimately, 4SBB is a collective goal and I am not personally responsible for the relative successes or failures. The point is to GET THE WORD OUT.

    And trust me, it is OUT.

    :)

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