Would like to see ‘functional’ rather than mostly visual improvements on bike path

To the Editor:

Re: “Expanded scope of improvements along Ballona Creek bicycle trail approved by Board of Supervisors” (Argonaut, Oct. 20):

It’s always nice to see improvements along the bike path on Ballona Creek.

Unfortunately, the $850,000 being spent seems to be just for cosmetic purposes: ornate gates, a “green zone” in the wetlands (?), and new signage.

I ride this portion of the path three or four times a week and after talking with other regular riders, we’d actually like to see some of this money spent on functional improvements rather than purely visual enhancements.

For example, riding five miles down the path from the South Bay turnoff (to half a mile past National Boulevard), I counted eight potholes or pot-humps that could cause crashes, flats or wheel damage. This does not include the virtual cobblestone nature of the road in front of the UCLA Boathouse.

Three or four times in the last 20 years this section has tried to be re-paved. And each time they must have gone with someone’s uncle or a very low bidder, because it’s only been made worse.

And speaking of unrideable sections, starting half a mile east of National, the path should be shut down. The humps, which shouldn’t even be there, are falling apart and causing serious crashes. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Another quibble is that the motor vehicles which cruise along Ballona are the wrong size. The thrice weekly anti-graffiti truck could be replaced with a golf cart, and the tree trimmers should likewise use a smaller vehicle. Give riders just enough room to avoid head-on collisions when we pass the trucks or so we can see other bikers coming.

Finally, the path rarely sees street sweepers. This results in perhaps 10 times more flats than on the bike path along the beach. Lots of glass, staples, and shells cause these flats, along with the aforementioned potholes and pot-humps.

Oh, and if a sweeper were to return, talk to the folks in Manhattan Beach about where they got their narrow, sidewalk-width sweepers. It’s much safer for bikers if any vehicle on the path takes up only one of the two lanes – not both.

Steve Dougherty, Playa del Rey

Elaborates on mayoral candidate’s position on DWP measure

To the Editor:

Re: “Beutner makes another Westside campaign stop in quest to become next mayor of Los Angeles” (Argonaut, Oct. 20):

Austin Beutner was not opposed to Measure I. He was an early supporter of a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power ratepayer advocate.

In 2010, he created a DWP advisory committee that planned for a ratepayer advocate function. His concerns about the ballot measure were that it was unnecessary since the mayor, City Council and DWP Board of Commissioners already has the power to create the function and that the effectiveness of the function would be impaired if its organization was left to the City Council.

My hope was that, with strong support from the voters, our elected elite would keep their promise to rapidly create an effective ratepayer advocate function. Instead we have gotten delay, duplicity and dysfunction. The ratepayer advocate could have been created a year ago using the DWP plan. Now the DWP Office of Public Accountability will not be in operation until sometime next year.

Sadly, what we’re likely to get will be considerably less than the comprehensive organization that was planned by the DWP last year.

The current city process is likely to produce an organization that is not transparent, independent or objective — three characteristics that are the foundation of the plan created at the DWP last year under Beutner’s direction.

Chuck Ray, Mar Vista