"Off the Chain with Tamika" is LACBC Executive Director Tamika Butler's monthly letter to the LACBC family. Here is the final one for 2015.
Dear LACBC Fam,
As I close out my first year as Executive Director, I look back and cannot believe how fast the time has passed. It’s been an incredible first year getting to know so many dedicated people across Los Angeles who want to make our streets and neighborhoods safe and accessible for all. As a community, we’ve been able to take on big challenges over the past year thanks to your participation, volunteering, advocacy, and financial support.With 2015 coming to a close, please consider making a year-end donation to LACBC so that we can continue the work to make all communities in Los Angeles County into healthy, safe, and fun places to bike.
Bikes bring people together and build community. It’s part of why I love bikes, this job, and this organization. A huge part of my vision for LACBC has been to make our work and our community more inclusive and reflect our city’s diversity. The bicycle is a simple but powerful tool for social justice. We have aligned ourselves with partners working to address issues like displacement, housing, and community development. We want the voices of women, youth, low-income people, people with disabilities, and people of color to better inform and lead our work. As part of our growth towards this diverse and inclusive vision, LACBC has formed new partnerships, added new staff to our team, and done great work in 2015. I feel so proud of all that we have accomplished together this year.
We won a new, progressive transportation plan for the City of Los Angeles, working with partners from community, environmental, and business organizations to secure adoption of Mobility Plan 2035 by the L.A. City Council, despite vocal opposition from people who want to maintain the status quo. Hundreds of you wrote to your council members in support of this plan—our largest online mobilization ever. This plan makes safety the first priority on our streets and envisions hundreds of miles of protected bike lanes, transit improvements, and pedestrian enhancements. These improvements are balanced by a limited network of streets that will emphasize reliable travel by cars and trucks.
We launched the Los Angeles Vision Zero Alliance, a diverse coalition of walking, biking, and community-based organizations, to support Mayor Garcetti’s new Vision Zero Initiative, which aims to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2025. The Vision Zero Alliance is an important partner for the City to ensure that community voices are represented and that theCity is held accountable to our vision of safe and equitable streets.
We kicked off our fourth season of Operation Firefly, presented by the Laemmle Charitable Foundation, which promises to be bigger than ever thanks to the growing reach of our local chapters and countywide support. Based on participant surveys from last season, we learned that Operation Firefly overwhelmingly gives lights to people who use their bike as their primary mode of transportation and did not know the law about riding at night with lights. Nearly one-third of light recipients spoke Spanish as their primary language, so we know that this bilingual education program is much needed in low-income communities and communities of color.
We educated hundreds of people across L.A. County on how to ride safely in traffic with free bicycle education classes, sponsored by Metro. We also forged a new partnership with theLos Angeles Unified School District to incorporate bike safety education into P.E. programs at dozens of middle schools starting next year.
In September, we conducted the fourth biennial Los Angeles Bike and Pedestrian Count, presented by AARP and in partnership with Los Angeles Walks and the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies. With 180 locations and 547 shifts covered this year, hundreds of volunteers tallied people walking and biking to make sure their trips matter to decision-makers.
While we’re proud of all these accomplishments, there’s even more to look forward to in 2016. We need to defend the hard-won gains of Mobility Plan 2035 against efforts to dilute the bike networks. We need to grow funding for biking and walking so that these plans can become reality on your streets. And, most importantly, we need to continue to engage with you, our members and supporters, to make your neighborhoods into better places to bike.
As the end of year approaches, I hope you’ll consider making a tax-deductible year-end gift to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Our wish for the coming year is for you to continue to be engaged, get involved, and let me know what we can do to make your community better. I’ve loved getting to know so many of you and look forward to talking and working with even more of you in 2016. Together we will accomplish even more in the coming year.
Thanks for your support,
LACBC Executive Director
P.S. Did you know that you can donate directly to one of LACBC’s 12 local chapters?
P.P.S. This year’s 15th Annual Los Angeles River Ride had over 2,500 participants, our most successful River Ride to date. We hope you’ll mark your calendar for June 12th, 2016, and join us next year!