Video: Hero Kid Calls Out Silver Lake's 'Whiny Entitled Behavior'
An 11-year-old boy called a bunch of Silver Lake residents a bunch of "entitled" whiners and wow, was it glorious.
The 2013 Rowena Road Diet has been a subject of controversy among the denizens of Silver Lake. The project added bike lanes to the busy avenue and cut the number of car lanes from two in either direction to one per direction. It also added a center lane for drivers to make left turns. According to LADOT, Rowena Avenue can handle the same amount of traffic as before, but the road diet reduces car speeds and there have been fewer crashes, Streetsblog LA reports. Councilman Tom LaBonge pushed to make the stretch of road safer after a 24-year-old woman was struck by a car and killed while crossing the street one night in April of 2012.
Some neighbors, however, don't like the road diet and want it undone, because they claim it's been wreaking havoc on side streets. They assert that drivers have been using side streets to avoid Rowena, and have been doing things like running stop signs—some of which are new to help manage cut-through traffic—and driving too fast. The anti-road diet folks also have a petition up to "end" the road diet. It currently has about 300 signatures, which is at least more than the Silver Lake Needs A REAL Whole Foods petition has. They also have a website that features a video of cars not stopping at stop signs on one of the streets parallel to Rowena.
Monday evening, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council allowed people to weigh in on the issue at a meeting at Ivanhoe Elementary School. About 200 people showed, including representatives from LADOT, as well as the police and fire department. LADOT engineer Tim Fremaux, for instance, talked about how road diets have been proven to make crossing streets safer and to slow car traffic. Streetsblog found that about two-thirds of attendees were pleased with the road diet, but one couple referred to it as a "living nightmare" and another person who lives on Angus Street, which runs parallel to Rowena, said that the road diet had "pushed millions of drivers" onto their street.
Then, an 11-year-old boy named Matlock Grossman spoke. Grossman might be just a kid, but he's been riding his bike to school since he was just 7, so he knows what it's like to try to navigate traffic.
Here is Grossman's spiel. You may want to put on a patriotic tune while you read it.
Clearly there are motorists out there who are not mature enough to share the road without having the rules painted on the road to show who goes where. The road diet, by design, is meant to slow down cars because — motorists are the problem. Even if there are zero bicyclists taking advantage of the bike lanes, it doesn't matter. The road diet effectively reduces collisions and the statistics prove this.
Stop bullying and victim-blaming the pedestrians and bicyclists as being the problem.
If motorists acted towards women, or another group of people, the way you act towards cyclists, people would be horrified by your hateful words and violent actions.
I don't understand why driving a car makes you think you're more important than someone else. You're not.
It's whiny entitled behavior you wouldn't tolerate from a kid, why should I tolerate it from adults?
BOOM! Someone start a slow clap! Someone carry this kid around on their shoulders while everyone cheers in slow-motion. Now, we're sure there will be naysayers who claim Grossman's speech was coached, but let's just bask the glory of a kid telling off a bunch of adults, okay?
If there was one thing everyone seemed to agree on, though, it's that the drivers on the side streets need to follow the rules. Some spoke out for increased LAPD traffic enforcement, while others blamed apps like Waze for routing drivers onto smaller streets, but everyone was on the same page: running stop signs on residential streets isn't cool. And maybe together, they can come up with better ways to curb that behavior than undoing the road diet altogether.
And if you think the boy's mother, Debra Matlock, pushed him to speak at neighborhood council meeting, she has this to say about it:
To the people who think we forced our kid to speak at #saferowena: you should have heard his science fair project on Quantum Entanglement.— Debra Matlock (@missmatlock) September 16, 2015