Legions of residents in Los Angeles and across the South Bay can certainly identify with one media contributor who recent admitted to being “terrified by the idea of being surrounded by cars in city traffic without the protection of a ton or so of steel around me.”
That lack of protection applies to bicyclists, of course, and equally to pedestrians, making those populations, well, terrified.
City planners have long known of that angst, which is evidenced on any given day by countless close encounters between motorized vehicles and defenseless bicyclists and walkers.
And, of course, it is a sad reality that many of those encounters are not “close” at all; rather, they result in serious injuries and high numbers of fatalities for pedestrians and bike riders trying to negotiate metro-area streets and intersections.
Los Angeles is not without its visionaries, with some far-sighted thinkers being in elected positions. Members of the L.A. City Council recently reached agreement on one forward-looking strategy that, if implemented, will fundamentally transform the transportation landscape and infrastructure across the metro region.
That initiative, called Mobility Plan 2035, is a 20-year plan to deemphasize motorized traffic and travel across Los Angeles County and make it friendlier for bicyclists and walkers.
That may end up being a realistic idea or, conversely, more akin to an unrealizable utopian vision. Currently, it is estimated that only about 1 percent of residents across the metro area use bikes for work commutes. The figure for pedestrians is likely similarly small.
Which means there is much work to do to make the city’s infrastructure amenable to more than just passenger and commercial vehicles.
Mobility Plan 2035 is truly a big deal. Time alone will tell if it pans out.