BY LEAH JOANNA HOWITT
“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.”
- H.G. WELLS
Sustainability is not just an environmental concept. It is a concept that encourages decisions that maintain a healthy balance between economics, politics, popular culture, and ecology. This balance would ideally allow both natural and engineered systems within our planet to endure, and even thrive, indefinitely. Actions starting in areas as simple as personal wellness can make an impact.
Switching from driving to biking can have multiple ripple effects down various pathways that are all headed toward a sustainable way of living. The average persons loses about 13 pounds in the first year of riding to work, and can save over $500 in medical costs (Bikes Make Life Better 2015). This, in turn, allows more economic spending on projects like sustainability. The switch to biking would also improve air quality. In fact, if everyone who lived within five miles of work switched to biking just one day a week, almost five million tons of global warming pollution would be eliminated (Environmental Defense Fund).
One way UCLA students and faculty could encourage a switch to biking would be to support the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition’s current efforts to implement a more thorough system of bike lanes in Westwood. A better network of bike lanes would encourage more people to start biking because they institute a higher level of safety and respect. You can sign the petition on their website, http://la-bike.org/ridewestwood, or email Councilmen Koretz. A draft of a possible email is as follows:
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Councilmember Koretz,
People who bicycle on Westwood Blvd. are looking to you for leadership in implementing bicycle facilities that will improve riding conditions in your district. In response to your concerns about congestion and safety, we urge your support for this alternative plan proposed by Ryan Snyder Associates and supported by the UCLA Bicycle Coalition and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.
The Remove Nothing Plan will have no affect on traffic flow but will add bike lanes where they fit, enhanced sharrows, and additional signage that will undoubtedly improve conditions for the most vulnerable users of the road. Please work with LADOT to implement this strategy as quickly as possible.
The Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition’s current plan does not remove any current vehicle lanes, thus not affecting the flow of traffic at all, especially during crucial rush hour times. The fight for a bike lane on Westwood Blvd. is part of their more comprehensive proposal, the 2010 Bike Plan, which can be read HERE. This Bike Plan is meant to connect a larger system of bike paths and routes. It was passed in March 2011, and the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition is currently working on its implementation.
As John F. Kennedy said, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”
Header image by Dodo (Flickr)