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Rosendahl: 'A New Attitude & New Culture of Road-Sharing'

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Although we nagged on Councilman Bill Rosendahl this morning, we had a candid chat with his office this morning afterwards. Things were overlooked and last night's meeting was not meant to be a secret, even if it was closed, they said.

In an e-mail update on the meeting, among other things, sent out this afternoon (posted in full below), Rosendahl starts off his message with quite a nice vision: "I’d like to update you on my efforts to promote a new attitude and a new culture of road-sharing in Los Angeles among motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians."

As for the community town hall, Rosendahl intends to hold it "shortly after Labor Day, in City Council Chambers or another central location," with the co-sponsorship of some other council colleagues, and broadcasted on Channel 35. Albeit a bit far off, it's a good start.

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Councilman Bill Rosendahl's Letter to the Community
Sent 4:20 p.m., Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'd like to update you on my efforts to promote a new attitude and a new culture of road-sharing in Los Angeles among motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Most of you are aware of the horrible incident that occurred July 4 between a motorist and two cyclists on Mandeville Canyon Road. The incident was tragic, sending two experienced cyclists to the hospital with serious injuries. It also escalated long-simmering tensions between cyclists and residents of Mandeville Canyon Road, and shone a bright spotlight on the problems cyclists face trying to navigate Southern California.

In the wake of the incident, I immediately called a Town Hall meeting to try to resolve the Mandeville Canyon issues. I also introduced a council motion endorsing a Cyclists' Bill of Rights.

Over the weekend, many of the residents of Mandeville, and many of the cyclists who most frequently use the road, expressed concerns that the purpose and scope of the Town Hall had been lost. They were worried that the tenor of debate had become too intense. They also were concerned that the specific and unique issues of Mandeville Canyon were being obscured, with people suggesting they intended to discuss beach bike paths, bike racks on buses, and other issues.

In recognition of that, I decided to cancel the Town Hall, and instead created a Task Force to focus exclusively on the Mandeville Canyon issues. The group includes representatives of: the three Mandeville homeowners associations; the four cycling clubs that train on Mandeville Canyon Road; the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition; and various city agencies, including my office.

The Task Force held a productive and promising first meeting last night. Residents, cyclists and City staff are working together to develop a strategy to improve safety on Mandeville Canyon and to create mutual understanding among those who share the popular but narrow, winding canyon road. We're looking at road improvements, signage, increased enforcement, and better education. Kent Strumpel, my appointee to the City's Bicycle Advisory Committee, has a detailed account of the meeting here. I'll post my staff's official minutes later, after task force members have reviewed them.

Meanwhile, many people in the Los Angeles cycling community have told me there is still a pressing need for a Town Hall to discuss the broader concerns of cyclists and of road-sharing. I agree, and I have asked my staff to work with the cycling community and other interested parties to craft an agenda for such a Town Hall. I intend to hold it shortly after Labor Day, in City Council Chambers or another central location, with the co-sponsorship of some of my council colleagues, and broadcast it on Channel 35.

With this Town Hall meeting, we have an opportunity to begin a genuine dialogue and a spirited public campaign about how motorists, cyclists and pedestrians can better share our roadways. We all want to get somewhere, and we want to get there safely, quickly and peacefully. With this Town Hall, I will welcome all voices and all proposals for how to do that better.

If you have any questions or suggestions, or would like to be contacted about the Town Hall, please do not hesitate to contact me at councilman.rosendahl@lacity.org.


Photo by richardmasoner via Flickr