The Hammer Museum at UCLA hosts weekly talks on hot topics. Being a huge fan of turning Los Angeles into a car-free city, I was eager to hear Seleta Reynolds, our new General Manager at the Department of Transportation. Mayor Garcetti stole her from San Francisco after she helped turn that city into a cyclists’ paradise while also shortening car commute times. Seleta and Janette are those smart chicks with an awesome sense of humor and wit you look forward to sitting with at parties. I could listen to them talk about transportation planning all day.
These rockstars of urban planning spoke openly and with great passion and humor about how to change the way a city gets around. This is crucial to Los Angeles, as weather refugees continue to pour into the Golden State, flooding our streets with cars. As more people choose to live in cities, primarily for their walkability and short commutes, more people are choosing to go car-free. Downtown Los Angeles has had an astounding turnaround in the past decade, going from a terrifying slum people couldn’t leave fast enough to an exciting and vibrant city core most of us can’t afford to live in. A huge draw for people is the ability to walk or bike to work, dinner, errands, etc.
Yes, people do walk in LA. And they ride public transit, and bicycles, too, in growing numbers. While the city is rapidly expanding its cycling infrastructure, neighboring cities still have a long way to go. This is a ghost bike on Glendale Blvd in Glendale, the city whose drivers are the most dangerous in the entire state. Los Angeles County is in the midst of a massive transformation, a transformation that could make it eclipse both Minneapolis and Portland as America’s #1 cycling city. It’s not like we have to ride in snow or rain. Ever. Having two cyclists as Mayors back to back certainly helps.