When last we checked in with Aaron Kunz, Deputy Director for Transportation in the Department of Public Works in Beverly Hills, he sounded an optimistic note about future bike planning efforts here:
- Monday’s meeting of the Ad-Hoc Bike Plan Update committee was freshly agendized;
- The city is seeking a paid intern to honcho bike improvements in the city, like the rack program now in the works; and,
- We will be scheduled for a meeting with the City Manager, Jeff Kolin.
When we expressed skepticism, Aaron responded, “I understand your frustration,” but emphasized that now things are moving. Are they? We’ll know more after Monday’s meeting with the Commissioners from the Ad-Hoc Bike Plan Update Committee: 345 Foothill Rd. @ 5 pm.
Is there cause for optimism? Well, this was literally Aaron’s call. He picked up the phone to let us know about the meeting and the next steps – a positive change from begging updates. Second, we’ve met with three of five Council members. They see the problem and generally understand the need for bike-friendly improvements. We’ve also met with the city’s IT department who assured us that the city will in the future be more forthcoming with information like the public documents we need. (More on transparency….)
Is there cause for concern? The city’s track record on bike improvements and programs suggests that skepticism is warranted. The city still has not a word on bikes outside of the 1970s-era bike plan [pdf] re-adopted in 2010. Second, we don’t have in hand an official agenda for Monday’s Ad-Hoc meeting, and we may not even get a written work program for bike improvements (as we requested back in June). And most significant, bike lanes on Santa Monica Boulevard is very much a political heavy lift still, so we have our work cut out for us if we’re looking for true regional connectivity on the ‘bike backbone’ as we say.
A Stakeholders’ Agenda
Without an official agenda in hand we thought we should create our own. We don’t want to cover the same ground as in our last meeting with the Ad-Hoc Bike Plan Update Committee. And we’ve expressed our displeasure with progress to date in our open letter to the Traffic & Parking Commission.
Here we outline a stakeholders agenda for much-needed improvements that we want the city to embrace. Call it a down payment on the inevitable integration of Complete Streets principles into transportation planning and, at the very least, a basic road safety program to keep cyclists safe.
Read the recap of the last Ad-Hoc meeting and have a look at our meeting agenda. Drop us a line if there’s something that you want to add or leave it in comments. See you tomorrow, Monday 8/29 at 5 pm at 345 Foothill Rd., Beverly Hills.