It won’t happen for a while, but voters in Los Angeles will get to decide whether road construction projects should accommodate bicycles and other non-motorized traffic. The City Council recently voted to put a referendum on the ballot in March 2024 to decide the matter.
If voters approve it, the ballot initiative would require the city to include enhancements for bikers, pedestrians and mass transit whenever they perform a construction project on a road or block of a certain length. (An article about the referendum did not specify the proposed minimum length.) The idea is to speed up the city’s promised 1,500 miles of bike lanes, bus routes and pedestrian safety improvements by 2035. The City Council voted to add the safety improvements in 2015, but so far, Los Angeles has only completed 3 percent of the goal.
Expected to pass
By making such improvements a part of most road projects, the referendum would get the city closer to its goal by the 2035 deadline. However, because the referendum was approved too late to get onto the ballot this November, voters won’t have the chance to consider it until March 2024. Still, the head of an alternative transportation advocacy group predicted that the ballot initiative “should pretty easily pass.”
Bike safety vs. car culture
Dedicated bike lanes that run for long distances on major roads and across neighborhood lines, along with other improvements, should decrease bicycle accidents in L.A., but a lot of work remains to be done. Until the city balances its car culture with respect for riders’ safety, needless collisions between motor vehicles and bikes will continue to happen.