A Transcontinental Transpo Message: Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

NYCDOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is in Los Angeles this weekend for the StreetSummit, a gathering of Southern California bike and pedestrian advocates. In a lead-in to the conference, Sadik-Khan spoke at her alma mater, Occidental College, and Clarence Eckerson and Streetsblog LA’s Damien Newton were there.

Speaking to a packed house of advocates, planners, and students, Sadik-Khan described how New York’s streets are becoming safer and more sustainable. Damien reports that the changes happening here are raising expectations on the other side of the country:

The
real message of the evening was that Angelenos, especially our
government leaders and transportation bureaucrats, shouldn’t be scared of trying something new. After all, the transportation planning
for Los Angeles up to now clearly hasn’t worked…

As Sadik-Khan talked about how easy it is to make
some of these changes, some in the room got a little queasy. It’s easy
to paint bus-only lanes? Sorry, that takes decades of studies and
environmental reviews. NYCDOT has a goal of fifty miles of new bike
lanes ever year? Well, here in L.A. we can bring a Sharrows pilot
program on a couple of streets to fruition a mere three years after the city starts studying it.

For more on Sadik-Khan’s appearance in Los Angeles, check out Damien’s write-up at Streetsblog LA.

  • I’ve always been under the impression that “We’ll study it with all deliberate speed” is an excuse for doing nothing. Didn’t it use to take decades to paint bus lanes in New York, too, back when DOT didn’t want to do it?

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