P.S. Burbank, Horses & Bicycles…

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February 1, 2016 · Posted in Commentary 

Last month I wrote an open letter to The Burbank Leader thanking our City Council for voting 5 to 0 on a compromise measure last Dec. 14 to have the Mariposa Ave. Bridge continue to be open to all, including bicyclists. Little did I dream that immediately afterwards the local horse riding community would be organized by the owners of the Circle K Horse Stables to use their considerable local political power to reverse that decision, although I suspected something was amiss when I saw one of the Council members meeting at the bridge with Circle K people only a couple of days after the vote. He would say to me then that he was there “for personal reasons only” and then refusing to say more to me.

I was not surprised, then, when I learned that a second vote was scheduled for Jan. 26 to reconsider the previous vote, which I sadly then expected to see reversed as a result. I was unprepared, however, for the throng of horseback riders who showed up for that Council meeting, all bitterly angry at the previous vote to allow bicyclists to walk their bikes over the bridge and go southward on the asphalt service road towards the Victory Blvd. overpass and the LA River Bike Path beyond. Dozens of the horse folks got up to address the Council to angrily denounce bike riders as interlopers on “our bridge”, stating that there would be inevitable horse stampedes, injuries, and an end to their neighborhood way of life itself! None of them, however, were able to cite any accidents or injuries that had ever occurred on the bridge resulting from the presence of a bicycle, and none seemed to understand that the bridge does not exclusively belong to them, but is owned by ALL Burbank taxpayers.

I later asked a Leader reporter present at the Council meeting if he was aware of any previous unanimous decision being re-considered for a do-over only six weeks after a decision had been made, and then being it reversed by another 5 to 0 vote, and he said he was not aware of any such precedent for that, but that’s what did happen at that emotionally charged meeting on Jan. 26.

So now, for the first time since the Mariposa Bridge was first opened in 1938, it is still legal to hike across it but its forbidden by the City of Burbank to not only ride, but also push or even carry a bicycle over it, which can then result in a citation for “Unlawful Possession Of A Bicycle”.

Sincerely,
Doug Weiskopf

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