Target: Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa
Goal: Encourage green transportation by creating more bike lanes in Los Angeles County
Los Angeles is known for its terrible traffic conditions, having recently been deemed the worst city in America in terms of traffic congestion. The sheer number of cars on the road in L.A. County greatly contributes to high levels of pollution, including the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, not to mention numerous health risks including asthma, other respiratory diseases and traffic-related deaths. Unlike other large U.S. cities such as New York, Los Angeles does not have an efficient, much-used public transportation system, and the fact remains that most Los Angeles residents commute via private cars.
Much can be done to help create more environmentally conscious options for those wishing to travel around L.A. County, one of the most simple and effective being the creation of more bike lanes. Many areas of L.A. County and the San Fernando Valley have very few bike lanes. Yet, studies have shown that adding bike lanes encourages more people to use bicycles. In cities such as New Orleans and New York, the creation of bike lanes helped increase the number of cyclists by over fifty percent. Much of this has to do with safety. Bike lanes have proven to be safer for both cyclists and motorists, cutting down on bicycle-related injuries in some cases by as much as ninety percent.
In addition to motivating more people to use bicycles as a means of transportation and creating a safer space to do so, bike lanes have been shown to help stimulate local economies. In cities such as New York and Portland, businesses saw an increase in sales by about fifty percent when bike lanes were added to business districts. This is likely due to the fact that bike lanes attract a greater number of people to a given area, as well as the fact that cyclists rather than motorists are more likely to spontaneously stop at businesses they happen to pass.
Furthermore, cycling as a means of transportation has been proven to have a very large, positive impact on the state of the environment as well as human health. Not only does riding a bike eliminate the need for fossil fuels and help to decrease pollution, it also provides exercise for the cyclist.
In L.A. County, nearly seventy five percent of those who commute to work do so alone, and only five percent of Californians take public transportation to work. The number of those who bike to work is even lower. This problem could be remedied simply by the creation of more bike lanes, which would help to provide a safer environment for cyclists. In fact, organizations such as the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition have been striving to create a more bike-friendly environment, and have won some victories such as the creation of the city’s first buffered bike zone. While these and other efforts have been made to create a better biking environment in L.A. County, more must be done to ensure that cycling is truly embraced.
Urge the mayor of Los Angeles to prioritize the creation of more bike lanes in L.A. County and its neighboring areas, and therefore encourage more people to turn to environmentally conscious modes of transportation.
Dear Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa,
Los Angeles County is well known for many things, including its heavy traffic and all of the problems that come with it such as air pollution, traffic-related injuries and health hazards. Among the issues created by heavy traffic are environmental concerns, as individual cars and even public transportation vehicles such as buses release hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.
One way to help decrease some of the negative effects of heavy traffic in L.A. County is to create more bike lanes throughout the city and its surrounding areas. Many areas including much of the San Fernando Valley are severely lacking in bike lanes.
Bike lanes have been shown to motivate more people to turn to this environmentally conscious mode of transportation, which in turn leads to a decrease in pollution and an increase in physical well-being.
I strongly urge you to prioritize the creation of more bike lanes across L.A. County. Not only will this have a strongly positive effect on the area, but it could also help to encourage other Californian cities and even other states across the nation to follow suit.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Daniel Foster via Flickr