Are current efforts aimed at bringing quality bicycle infrastructure to Eagle Rock a passing fad? Is it something just the newcomer hipsters are asking for to cause headache to the longtime residents? While some frame the issue in such terms, perhaps this is not the case.
According to public records available from the City Clerk’s Archives and Records Center in Downtown Los Angeles, demand for better bicycling conditions in Northeast Los Angeles goes back decades. In fact, there was so much public interest in bicycling during the 1970s that a folder kept by the area’s councilmember at the time is simply titled “Bikeways.” Included in that folder are public communications the council office had with constituents. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is the below letter one constituent wrote.
In October 1974, a young Eagle Rock child had recently returned from a trip to Amsterdam, and penned a letter to the local councilmember asking for similar Dutch-style protected bike paths here ,”so people can ride bikes safely.”
Then Councilmember Art Snyder was vocally supportive of bicycling on the city council, and championed the construction of the Arroyo Seco Bike Path in nearby Highland Park. However, the first bike lanes in Eagle Rock would not be striped until March 1998 along Eagle Rock Boulevard– nearly 24 years after this young kid’s letter, and long after Snyder left office.
How did Snyder respond to the letter?
In the other letter referenced by Snyder, he wrote of sponsoring support for State legislation to use a portion of the State gas tax fund to construct “bikeways and exclusive bike lanes throughout the State” and a forthcoming “500-mile Master Plan for Bikeways for Los Angeles.” The plan was described as “a long-term construction and street-space allocation program” and when it was time for council to vote on it, Snyder said that as a bike rider himself, he expected to give full support to the program.