The infamous Rowena Road Diet has had some Silver Lake residents steaming mad for years. In an effort to reduce speeds and protect crossing pedestrians, the road diet added lanes for bikes and reduced the number of lanes for cars from four to just one in each direction. Disgruntled neighbors claim the result is more drivers speeding through side streets to bypass Rowena altogether, running stop signs in the process. Last night, both pro- and anti-road diet contingencies got a chance to air their grievances at a meeting of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council reports Streetsblog L.A. And one little kid put those disgruntled neighbors to shaaaame.
It was a full house, seating at a premium, with some 200 in attendance. Both sides were there, ready to hash it out into the night. The anti-diet crowd, with their websites and petitions, stated their case with passion. One resident cried out that the road diet had "pushed millions of drivers onto our street." Millions! The phrase "living nightmare" was uttered aloud.
The pro-diet crowd spoke their piece as well, gaining an ally in LADOT engineer Tim Fremaux, who told the crowd that road diets were a "proven safety measure intended to slow speeds and make crossing safer." And yet, they have no website, no petitions to speak of. It seemed they had come without an ace in the hole.
But then, from the audience, a lone voice spoke up, and a tiny figure emerged. Eleven-year-old Matlock Grossman stood to speak, and in a clear voice he laid down some knowledge on the bickering neighbors:
Clearly there are motorists out there who are not mature enough to share the road without having the rules painted on the road to show who goes where. The road diet, by design, is meant to slow down cars because – motorists are the problem.
Even if there are zero bicyclists taking advantage of the bike lanes, it doesn't matter. The road diet effectively reduces collisions and the statistics prove this.
Stop bullying and victim-blaming the pedestrians and bicyclists as being the problem.
If motorists acted towards women, or another group of people, the way you act towards cyclists, people would be horrified by your hateful words and violent actions.
I don't understand why driving a car makes you think you're more important than someone else. You're not.
It's whiny entitled behavior you wouldn't tolerate from a kid, why should I tolerate it from adults?
That's one badass little kid. He may have done more for bicyclists in this town than any CicLAvia or Critical Mass late-night ride ever could. —Jeff Wattenhofer
· Rowena Avenue Forum Reveals Significant Common Ground [Streetsblog LA]
· Silver Lake's Rowena Slimmed to 2 Lanes Plus Room For Bikes [Curbed LA]
· Rowena Neighbors Super Angry About Bike-Friendly Road Diet [Curbed LA]
Safe Streets for Silver Lake [Official site]