Apparent Fake Twitter Account Created for City's Bicycle Coordinator
The cycling community is rife with exasperation over Los Angeles' Senior Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery and it looks like her last comment comparing Portland to Los Angeles has people saying "enough already." At a City Council Transportation meeting earlier this month, this was the exchange that lit fires:
COUNCILMAN BILL ROSENDAHL: Alta Planning is reportedly one of the finest consulting groups in the world for bike planning. How is it that the City of Los Angeles kicked off the Draft Bike Plan process with Alta but did not incorporate the robust Bike Plan process that Portland used/is using to develop their own Bike Plan? For example in Portland Alta maintained eleven working groups, and they used community bike rides to engage and survey. MICHELLE MOWERY: With all due respect the City of Portland is 450,000 people. It’s a homogeneous community that is very white, and very progressive with respect to transportation. They have a trolley system that works very well, as well as their transit overall. We are a very diverse, disjointed city of 4 million people. They are 30 years ahead of us in the development of their, well, they’re not quite 30, they’re more like 20 years ahead of us in the development of their bikeway. So we’re a step behind Portland in what we’re trying to do. Granted, several of us would like to see a lot of changes in the city happen very quickly, but again we have a very diverse city with a lot of needs.
Alex Thompson at Westside Bikeside also questioned Mowery's statement. "What possible connection can racial diversity have to it? By saying that Portland is homogeneous and LA diverse, Mowery seems to be making an argument that diverse places are inherently slower to adopt bicycles, or inherently dysfunctional politically. It’s not clear to me, but it smacks of a freshman political science major selling a bad theory. I can think of two examples of racially diverse cities that are politically functional (at least as compares to LA), and are making huge strides toward bike friendliness." Those two cities are Chicago and New York.
This is definitely not the first time Mowery has been the subject the cycling community's concern. In the past, she's been hit up for saying things like "I have more miles on my legs than they do” (in reference to some cyclists activists). When her office stated that painted sharrows--a standard street marking found in various other small and big cities--could be a slippery hazard, people said LADOT is purposefully stalling progress.
Now, whether it is fair or not, a fake Twitter account--MichelleMeowery--has been created. One of the first tweets: " can someone help me figure out how to get these damn cyclists off my back? it's bad enough that half of them aren't white..."