The state of California has a perpetual budget crisis. Not enough money for public services like police, fire, and ambulance drivers. Schools are a disgrace. Utilities cost an arm and a leg, even with Enron executives in jail or pine boxes. I read about a freeway widening project that was going to take ten years, and when complete, would still not be sufficient for the projected future traffic.
Which is why even I have a hard time getting excited about a news article referencing the announcement by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that the city needs to start implementing their master bike plan. Sure, getting around by car sucks, and nobody walks in LA either. (thank you, Dale Bozzio) But I can’t see LA becoming another Portland, Seattle, or even Salt Lake City. It’s too heavily steeped in car culture, with multiple design studios and US headquarters nearby. At one time, I was aware of GM, BMW, VW/Audi and Toyota all having a presence of some sort either in or near Los Angeles. In 2004, Toyota even released their new Scion xB in SoCal, a full six months before dealers in the rest of the country took delivery.
Don’t get me wrong. More than anything, I would like to be mistaken. And based on what I’ve read from members of various cycling forums, there are some cyclists willing to brave the current infrastructure on a bicycle. I just don’t see where adding 1,700 miles of bike paths is going to change the city, other than having that much more concrete and blacktop.