West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition Up to Speed!

West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition logoWest Hollywood has sprouted the latest local cycling organization, the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition. An outgrowth of the WeHo Bicycle Task Force, this regional affiliate of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, it was founded by community members who sat on the Task force to help generate the pro-bike recommendations [pdf] now before West Hollywood City Council.

The West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition (WeHoBC) is a nonprofit that works with community service groups, local businesses, and municipal leaders to serve cyclists of all ages and skill levels. But its best opportunity to advance the interests of people who ride in and around this small Westside city comes through its provenance: it is uniquely positioned to voice support for implementation of the recommendations.

Kevin Burton of the West Hollywood Task Force

Kevin Burton makes a point at the inaugural meeting of the West Hollywood Task Force

They’ve already passed through the transportation and planning commissions and will come before City Council on December 5th.

This is not only a huge step ahead for West Hollywood cyclists (and would-be cyclists); it shows just how far ahead are the policymakers to the east. We share Santa Monica Boulevard, a critical ‘backbone’ of a larger regional bike network, of course, but WeHo long ago took the initiative to protect cyclists on the corridor with a dedicated lane.

Bike Backbone Network map

The proposed Bike Backbone. Yes, that's a tentative dotted line through Beverly Hills!

The City of Beverly Hills, in contrast, still appears quite reluctant to take that step. We’re both cities of about 35,000 astride one of the busiest auto and transit corridors on the Westside, but that’s where the similarity ends. West Hollywood policymakers convened a citizen-driven deliberative body; Beverly Hills continues a tokenistic ad-hoc Bike Plan Update Committee comprised of three Traffic & Parking commissioners.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that our enlightened neighbor will show us a thing or two about planning for active transportation when it takes up the Task Force recommendations. We’re like to watch from the sidelines as West Hollywood City Council builds upon the city’s active lifestyle-friendly reputation with a raft of new improvements.

Beverly Hills will likely get busy planning yet another money-losing public parking garage. When the proposed ‘Bikeway to the Sea’ concept for the boulevard takes shape, will Beverly Hills still be an impediment to people-powered mobility on the Westside?

For that matter, the WeHoBC may show us a thing or two about the impact of successful bike advocacy. WeHoBC already holds monthly meetings and organizes local rides; it has tabled at a booth shared with the Bicycle Task Force at the West Hollywood Book Fair; and it has organized a feeder ride to Tour de Fat for the LACBC bicycle parade. Members were represented at the California Bicycle Summit in November (as was Better Bike – read our brief recap).

Co-organizers Kevin Burton and Tess Lotta urge all cyclists to support the activities of the WeHoBC by subscribing to its newsletter – and joining via membership in the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Contact them if you want to help!