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NYC Commissioner Says L.A. Should Quickly Move on Transportation Pilot Programs

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Streetsblog was there to document last night's talk

Last night New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn visited Occidental College to school Los Angeles on how they improved transportation for New Yorkers. One big suggestion? Pilot programs.

It's not that pilot programs are new here in Los Angeles, but they certainly seem to take as long as any regular project. For example, it will be two years from City Council's approval of bicycle sharrows pilot program to the installation of them.

"I think that there is a tremendous political advantage with moving quickly on pilot programs," she told the audience. "Out of 8.4 million New Yorkers it turned out there were 8.4 million traffic engineers. Who knew, you know? Everyone's got an opinion and so you can always find people who can oppose these new ideas--everybody hates change--but when you do it and try it out as an experiment, it's very hard to argue with. So I would encourage the city to experiment with public spaces, experiment with bike lanes."

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Damien Newton at Streetsblog adds: "If you try pilot programs and they don't work, there's no lasting harm. It's not like what we're doing [in L.A.] now is working wonderfully."

Newton also slams L.A.'s Department of Transportation General Manager, Rita Robinson. And we agree:

And that's the main difference between the "new" NYCDOT and the "current" LADOT. While NYCDOT is constantly pushing the envelope, and seeing dramatic success in reducing car dependency; the LADOT has resisted all efforts to change business as usual. NYCDOT is concerned about moving people, LADOT seems more concerned about political gamesmanship and protecting their jobs and the failed status quo on our streets. This "goofus and gallant" comparison was in-part inspsiring and in-part depressing. All you have to do is compare Sadik-Khan's delighted boast that her department completed 2,000 hours of outreach to LADOT General Manager Rita Robinson's excuse making that her department can't afford to send representatives to Neighborhood Council meetings or properly staff Bike Advisory Committee meetings.