Sunday was a good day. I was invited to join a ride to the Emmys hosted by Tom Smuts of Mad Men fame. My connection to the event came through Rapha, the purveyor of fine cycling apparel, both technical and casual. I had a loose understanding of what the event would be, but my expectation was a simple ride to downtown LA. Little did I know this would be a bit more than that. In addition to two wonderful rides, we were able to hear from Councilmember Mike Bonin about the Los Angeles Mobility plan that is in the works. This took place at Tom Smuts’ home between the morning ride up to Mandeville and the afternoon ride to the Emmys. It was the perfect way to frame a discussion that needs to take place in LA. I am a lifelong resident of this wonderful city, but seeing the increase in traffic has convinced me there needs to be another way of doing things. The roads are completely clogged, and as more people move into the city, it is only getting worse. No longer can we depend on widening roads and freeways to accommodate the thousands of cars that are filling the roads. Another way of thinking needs to happen, and the Mobility Plan is just that. Christopher Hawthorne of the LA Times wrote an interesting piece that sums it all up quite well. We need to realize we are a major city masquerading as a suburban paradise. This is not sustainable. And, don’t get me wrong. I am not just a cycling activist. I love the automobile, and am grateful for the independence and ease it offers. There are three automobiles in our family, and if there were more garage space, I would probably fill it with more beautiful cars. But, the love of the automobile should not trump quality of life for those living in the city, and no matter how beautiful cars can be, they are no fun when idling in constant traffic. For those who believe traffic isn’t so bad, I urge you to head to the west side, and try to get back to the east side via Olympic or Santa Monica at rush hour. By the way, rush hour now begins at 7am and ends at 8pm. It is not like the 70s when rush hour happened just twice a day – between 8am and 9am and between 5pm and 6pm. It has all changed, and we need to adapt to the ever-growing demands of living in a wonderful metropolis. Tom Smuts is doing his part in opening up the conversation, and I hope people will not patently dismiss the Mobility Plan without at least having a discussion about it.
Some of the group at the top of Mandeville
The Calfee’s all access pass to the Emmys
A rest stop on the way to the Microsoft Theater