Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
A Los Angeles blog
from Echo Park

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Bike-land redux

Chicken Corner is all for bicycles replacing cars on the street -- and all against bikes replacing bipedals and their dogs on hiking/walking trails in Elysian Park, not to mention bike treads flattening fauna and doing all the kinds of damage that are associated with off-trail freewheeling receration in semi-wild areas. Like the west side of Elysian Park! The issue has arisen before, and efforts to rewrite the regulations of the park -- to allow mountain biking -- have been defeated by the community and other people who already use the western side of Elysian. As far as I know, the cruisers and drug dealers, who are some of the busiest users of the park's east end, have not organized to stall off bike use.

A few years ago, the neighborhood was in an uproar -- literally, I had friends roaring in the street! -- about poorly publicized, almost secret meetings Jackie Goldberg's office was holding to discuss reopening the park to mountain bikes. That de-regulation effort was battered out of the park, after community activists got wind.

Back then, in 2000, George Ramos wrote in the LA Times:

Soil erosion and the safety of park users are the opponents' main concerns.
"Legs and wheels don't mix," said Sallie Neubauer, president of the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park. "Mountain bikers seek the thrill of the dangerous and the extreme. And we're talking about urban park space where people go walking with their dogs and baby carriages. If you allow mountain bikes in the city, you'll push out other park users."

The Times could rerun virtually every word of Ramos's article today, and none of it would be stale.

Because the two wheel beast appears to be back.

Recently I heard from a friend who sent me documents showing that the city is "working with" a biking industry consultant, The Osprey Group, to look into opening Elysian and other parks to mountain bikers.

Oliver mentioned "the fact that the city is broke and is spending tax dollars on non-objective consultants for "Trail Biking"... There is no doubt that the Osprey Group is on the side of the industry (they are being paid REI and Patagonia to push this agenda) and not a true policy consultant. This is a critical point and is proven ... on their website."

As before, it comes down to people who use the park now with their feet vs. people who say they can't use it without wheels.

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