Los Angeles

LA Car Culture Warriors In Shambles After Overwhelming Vote for New Bike Lines

A survey of Nextdoor users losing their minds after voters overwhelmingly supported HLA, which will add new bike and bus lanes.
Vote YES on HLA sticker
Image: Jason Koebler
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For the last few years, I have been a regular lurker on the local social media platform Nextdoor, because I am morbidly fascinated by people who are obsessed with whipping each other into a frenzy over how dangerous their neighbors apparently are. For my money, Nextdoor is the single most insidious and toxic widely-used social media platform, because it is a place for NIMBYs and HOA losers to post Ring camera footage of their neighbors walking by, complain about people experiencing homelessness, and organize to defeat policies that would make their cities slightly better.

In the runup to California’s primary elections Tuesday, the hottest topic on Nextdoor in Los Angeles was a ballot measure called HLA, which will require the city to build more bike lanes and bus lanes and to generally make the city easier to get around if you do not have a car. HLA simply requires the city to follow its own 2015 Mobility Plan, which calls for the city to add these road improvements every time an eighth of a mile of street is repaved, but up to this point has been largely ignored. This will ultimately lead to more than 200 new miles of bus lanes and 600 miles of bike lanes, many of which will connect to a subway system that the city has been aggressively expanding in advance of the 2028 Olympics. 

Doing this will make the city most emblematic of America’s suburban sprawl and car culture slightly less so, and will hopefully cut down on the 330 traffic deaths the city had in 2023. This strategy of treating new bus lanes and bike lanes as part of routine road maintenance rather than massive new projects is one of the cheapest and best ways to make roads safer, and has been one of the most effective policies at making many cities more bike, pedestrian, and bus friendly. And so, naturally, people on Nextdoor hate it, and, to put it lightly, have completely lost their fucking minds over HLA. 

I decided to write this article after logging in the other day and seeing a long argument about how HLA is a bad idea because it happened to be raining hard one day a few weeks ago and “I doubt many people are biking to work today in the rain,” and another long thread about how bikers should go live in the fictional small town from Murder She Wrote where people are nice to their neighbors. Here is a small sampling of what I have seen over the last few weeks. All typos and weird arguments theirs:

hello bankruptcy. Closed libraries, firemen laid off, increase in every fee you pay the city (including trash), what other jobs will be cut? With the Olympics coming our city doesn’t have the money raising the real possibility that our city may face bankruptcy. The cost of living here is about to go through the roof. And having this implemented patchwork will cause deaths. On block a bike lane - the next block none. This is idiocy.
Oh no,
VOTE "NO" ON HLA  Rebuttal to Social aspects of HLA:  I suggest the people who are for HLA should move to Angela Lansbury's town on Murder She Wrote so they can tool around town on their bike getting one bag of groceries at a time and saying "howdy" to their neighbors.  For the rest of us, like it or not, L.A. is too spread out to rely on bikes, walking or public transportation to go to work, shop or socialize  -- or if HLA has it, we are destined to stay on  our home turf to do these things. Having to take Uber to get to the Metro, next a bus, then possibly walk the last leg to get to our destination, is not a solution for me and many others (mothers, seniors and people who must travel long distances each day).  We need cars.  Building the required mass transit needed, is not feasible after giving the land away when we dismantled the Red Car many years ago. Anyway, in today's world, I would never feel safe carrying packages with me on public transportation for fear someone would steal them from me.  I would have to  spend over $950 so the thief could not take them.   Rebuttal to Safety aspects of HLA:  *Some drivers drive unsafe because of their frustration from idling in clogged traffic that is exacerbated by the taking away of lanes.  *Bikers ride unsafe --not stopping at stop signs and traffic lights.  *Pedestrians walk unsafe -- stepping out into traffic especially at night.  Oh, I forgot the City just passed a law saying pedestrians can now legally J-walk, so they're exempt from dangerous behavior.  Instead of spending millions on revamping our streets to make them safer, how about ticketing all of the above with stiff fines to decrease bad behavior?  Think of all the $ the City could rake in to spend on other nefarious projects like taking down the 90 Freeway!
This ain't Amsterdam or Paris or Buenos Aires or Shenzhen. Quit dreaming.
LA had more pedestrian deaths last year largely because they legaiized jaywalking last year. To increase pedestrian safety, just bring back jaywalking laws. We don't need Measure HLA. VOTE NO on Measure HLA.
HLA is a Bad Idea   The picture at the top of the story tells it all - one bike and hundreds of cars.  This is the reality in Los Angeles.  Should we spend billions of dollars to cater to the less than 1% of people who ride bikes or should we focus on the 99 % who use cars and other methods of transportation.   I doubt many people are biking to work today in the rain.  Also the fire department opposes this measure as road diets will increase response time.
LA City layout is not designed for bikes
Imagine bike riding to your train stop today, going to the grocery store on your bike today. the fact the fire dept is against it says it all
posted on a day it was raining
Just another road diet that's been tried and failed causing business to collapse, and gridlock
The fire department is against HLA, it is a fire risk.
HLA is a bad idea. just wasteful spending and more control
move to holland if you like bikes that much
Consensus: It was Valentine's Day

Disclosure: I have both a car and bike in Los Angeles, and regularly use the city’s growing and affordable bikeshare, which lets you check out an e-bike for $2.50 per trip. I often zoom past gridlocked traffic on protected bike lanes near my home, and enjoy doing so.

Anyways, HLA overwhelmingly won Tuesday, with nearly two-thirds of voters voting "yes" on the measure, and rebuking the people in the comments you see above. The discussion on the Los Angeles subreddit is decidedly jubilant: “NIMBYs in shambles. You love to see it!”