What does the victory of Measure HLA mean for cyclists?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2024 | Legislation |

Amid all the hype around Super Tuesday this March, when presidential and congressional candidates alike were the focus of the media, a measure supported by bicycle safety advocates that was solely on the ballots of voters in the City of Los Angeles emerged victorious despite strong and well-funded opposition.

Measure HLA mandates more room for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as mass transit to be built into infrastructure renovations over the next decade. It will add 238 miles of protected bike lanes as well as hundreds of miles of unprotected lanes throughout the city. It also calls for structural improvements, including designated lanes for buses.

A boost for Mobility Plan 2035

For every 660 feet of road that’s paved or improved, city agencies must incorporate elements of Mobility Plan 2035. This plan, which has seen little progress since it was published almost a decade ago, seeks to “lay the foundation for a network of complete streets and establish new complete street standards that will provide safe and efficient transportation for pedestrians (especially for vulnerable users such as children, seniors and the disabled), bicyclists, transit riders, and car and truck drivers, and more.”

Although millions of dollars as spent on the Measure HLA campaign, its opponents fought hard as well. The head of one group opposing the measure predicted that it will only increase traffic problems throughout the city. He says businesses will suffer because there will be less street parking available, and first responders will have longer response times. At least one local firefighter organization spent a $250,000 to try to defeat Measure HLA.

Measure HLA’s victory is a good sign, but by no means an end to the dangers

The accommodation of bicyclists, pedestrians and other road users besides vehicle drivers is often a contentious subject in an area that has long had the reputation of being a place where everyone relies on their car to go even the shortest distance. However, the passage of HLA shows that voters in LA agree that, as one transportation expert said, “people really value streets where, yes, they can drive, but they could also walk, they could also bicycle.”

Of course, this won’t mean the end of the risks faced by cyclists and pedestrians who share the road with millions of drivers. Those who suffer injuries or who lose loved ones should seek the justice and compensation they deserve.