Manal J. Abolata, Managing Director of the Prevention Institute moderated a well versed panel discussion about bicycles as a realistic and contending solution to many environmental, health, transportation and economic woes currently challenging many Los Angelenos. Panelist Allison Mannos of Multicultural Communities for Mobility drove home a strong message focusing on grass root mobilizing to leverage resources and shift funding priorities to improve bike/walk-ability in low-income communities of color. Eric Bruins, the new Policy and Planning Director for the LA County Bicycle Coalition engaged thought provoking conversation by asserting that Metro can figuratively paint bike lanes on every street in Los Angeles at a fraction of the $8,000,000,000.00 it's proposing to spend on the 710 Freeway. Also on panel, Dr. Richard J. Jackson, a Professor and Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA's School of Public Health made a clear argument that a united front between the biking and walking communities will ultimately yield results for infrastructure retrofits that lend to a healthy and more vibrant Los Angeles.
The underlying theme that stemmed from this evening was that our environment shapes our behaviors but we the people have the ability to shape our environment through a well organized movement and united advocacy.