Tuesday, March 3, 2015

obituary/news - To Live and Die in LA, on Two Wheels


Alex Baum, a Los Angeles bicycling advocate who over decades successfully pushed for bike paths,
bike lanes, and a greater consciousness of bikes as legitimate transportation in a sprawling city built
around cars, has died. He was 92.       [ Read the LA Times article here ]

Baum was a former member of the French resistance who was imprisoned in a Nazi labor camp and
immigrated to the United States after the war. By trade he was a caterer, but he was more well-known
for his involvement in sports organizations, including the committee that organized the 1984 Los Angeles
Olympics.

For more than 30 years, Baum was head of the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee -- a  group he organized
under former L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley to work with city transportation officials on cycling issues.

"He was a voice for cyclists at a time when cyclists had no voice in L.A.," said Michelle Mowery, the city
transportation's department's senior bicycle coordinator. "He used to call us the poor stepchild of transportation."

Without Baum's lobbying, the city's 56 miles of bike paths and 369 miles of bike lanes would probably not
exist, she said. Current plans, which Baum was instrumental in developing, call for 1,680 miles of bike paths,
bike lanes and bike-friendly streets.



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