How often does a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity come along? OK, trick question. So why doesn’t the Expo Authority know the answer? Maybe you can help the Culver City Bicycle Coalition remind them.
Culver City is getting a new light-rail passenger station – just one and just once. The rare chance of designing transit- and pedestrian-oriented development at and around the station and figuring out how best to connect the new station with downtown and residential Culver City in ways that will make it truly useful to the people who live, work and visit here has raised the hopes and expectations of everyone who’s been stuck in the Southland’s automobile traffic.
The Expo Line will be opening in 2012 and is designed to get people out of their cars and into mass transit and active transit. Culver City is a very important stop on the line because it’s the western terminus of the first phase of the project, which runs between here and downtown Los Angeles (construction has only just started on the second phaseof the line, from Culver City to Santa Monica.) Facilitating access to the Culver City Expo Line station is crucial for making mass transit work for all of us. Does it really serve the Expo Authority’s goal of providing “an option for car-free travel” (See buildexpo.org/about/faq) if everyone has to drive a car to the station? In addition to parking lots, there will be bus connections, sure, but many train riders would find it easiest to get to and from the station by bicycle. It doesn’t seem too much to ask to have a clean, sheltered, secure place for train riders to leave their bicycles until they return to the station –a no-brainer, and the Expo Authority agrees. Or at least it used to agree.The plans for the Culver City station call for a pedestrian plaza, nearby transit-oriented development – and a bicycle facilityconnecting the station to bikeways in Culver City and to new bike lanes and bike paths running along the Expo Line itself. The bike-to-transit connection has long been seen as an important component of the success of the Expo Line and rightly so. Presumably, such a facility would include day-use bike lockers, restrooms, showers with changing rooms and self-service repair stations. Ideally, it would also include round-the-clock secure bike parking and access, bike rentals and bicycle and accessories sales and repairs. –
Santa Monica, anticipating by a couple of years the completion of the second phase of the Expo Line, has already built its bike station. Visitors can check out the Santa Monica Bike Center at Second Street and Colorado Boulevard (and a self-service station at Fourth Street and Broadway) when it opens this weekend.
And Culver City’s station? The Expo Authority has concluded that a partial solution to its notorious budget-overrun problems is to axe the Culver City bicycle facility. But why should cycling commuters and travelers take the hit for the Expo Authority’s issues? Especially when cycling is such an essential component of our transition to a less automobile-centric metropolis?
So, what to do? Make a little noise. We must stand united on this and not let our community suffer at the expense of Expo’s poor planning and cost overruns. Email the Expo Authority and tell them to honor their promise and their commitment to their own mission by building the planned bicycle facilities at the Culver City station. Their email address: email@example.com.
Send a copy of your email to:
· Metro Authority (firstname.lastname@example.org)
· Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa (email@example.com) or call (213) 978-0600
· Culver City Mayor Micheal O’Leary (firstname.lastname@example.org)
· Members of the city council (culvercity.org/Government/Misc/CityCouncil.aspx) or call (310) 253-6000
· Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (email@example.com) or call (213) 974-2222
· State Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (asmdc.org/members/a47/) or call (310) 342-1070.
Let’s try our best as a community to make the Culver City Expo Line station a public transit facility that truly serves our community because we know what once-in-a-lifetime means even if the Expo Authority seems to have forgotten.
Bike Safe, Bike Smart! is a weekly column to promote responsible cycling by providing information, education and advice about riding. It’s written by members of the Culver City Bicycle Coalition (CCBC), a local chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Join them for their family bike ride, the last Sunday of every month. (Note: There is no ride in November due to Thanksgiving. Stay tuned for details about the December ride.) For more information, visit ccbike.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.