Open for Comment: Westside Cities COG Bike Gap Closure Plan

COG gap closure map overallThe Westside Cities Council of Governments (COG) is inviting comment on its program to close gaps in bicycle infrastructure on the Westside. Five priority routes have been identified by bike advocates and COG staff over three meetings in 2011, and now it’s time for you to have a say. Did we get this right? Is there a route that’s been overlooked? This is our opportunity to encourage Westside elected officials to view active transportation improvements like they do surface transportation and mass transit: worthy of public investment if we’re to get the Westside moving again.The Westside Cities COG effort is significant because local governments have done a poor job to date coordinating bike improvements. It’s been enough of a lift to get Westside local governments to invest politically and financially in active transportation improvements. Beyond the occasional bike lane, there’s been scant cross-boundary coordination. And efforts that benefit from regional-scale coordination like  development of wayfinding signage and safety programming have fallen by the wayside.

Let’s take the next step in creating a bike-friendly Westside.

COG gap closure map

Five routes identified in the Westside COG's gap closure process.

Open now is a 30-day comment period (closing March 4, 2012) which will provide feedback to the COG board. Take few minutes to look at the Westside gaps map and provide a comment to the COG. The selected routes are:

  • Expo Light Rail Bike Path/Bikeway (from La Brea Blvd. to the western terminus of Phase 2)
  • Santa Monica Blvd./Broadway (from La Brea Blvd. to Ocean Ave.)
  • San Vicente Blvd. (from Sunset Blvd. to La Brea Blvd.)
  • Barrington Ave./McLaughlin Ave./Slauson Ave. (from Sunset Blvd. to the Ballona Creek Bike Path)
  • Beverly Dr./Beverwil Dr./Duquesne Ave./Jefferson Blvd./Overland Ave.(from San Vicente to Westfield/Culver City Transit Center)

When looking at the gap closure priority map, ask, Are these gaps the most appropriate to be closed in priority fashion? Is there a key route not included? Can you suggest any specific ancillary additions (like signage and safety – and provide examples if you have ‘em) that are characteristic of successful active transportation programs that policymakers should consider for the Westside?

Keep in mind that existing facilities and those slated for improvements like Westwood are not gaps as such; rather it’s the spaces in between existing or planned improvements that we want to address at the scale of the sub-region to augment improvements taken at the local level.

An Opportunity for Beverly Hills Advocates

COG gap closure map BH section

Gap-closure opportunities await in Beverly Hills!

You will note that two of the routes pass through Beverly Hills. And these two key routes are already under discussion as part of our Bike Plan Update process.

Better Bike has long advocated for bike lanes on Santa Monica Boulevard. When we reconstruct the boulevard between now and 2014, we’ll be deciding the future of transportation in Beverly Hills and the region. What will this boulevard look like? Will it look like it does today with new asphalt, or will will include bike racks and possibly a pedestrian corridor too? That decision will be taken sooner – prior to this summer – rather than later. (Read more about it in our last meeting recap.)

South Beverly traffic scrum

South Beverly needs a road diet!

And then there’s our local bike network. A discussion is just getting under way (read our recap) regarding our Bike Route Pilot’s four selected routes. One of the four Pilot routes selected is Beverly Drive. Today it’s a mess of stop-and-go friction especially south of Wilshire, where it widens.

Two-lanes of motor traffic and pull-in diagonal parking makes it particularly hazardous for cyclists (and this district is a designated pedestrian area!). The road begs for a diet and innovative treatments like a bicycle track to get cyclists off the sidewalk and back onto the road safely.

Fortunately, the Westside COG effort has identified both of these routes as priorities. As a Beverly Hills-based advocacy organization, we hope that we can leverage the COG effort to encourage our officials to view cycling as a mode of transportation and not simply as a recreational activity. This is your opportunity not only to support these routes as priorities, but also to contact local Beverly Hills officials to state your support. Indeed the COG effort is an excellent opportunity to raise local awareness generally about every city’s responsibility to cyclists. The COG’s Sustainability Committee next meets this Thursday. On the agenda: this gap closure and bike-sharing.

We’re all in this together, right? Not just all Westside local governments, but all of us who share the Westside roads. Take a minute to participate in the gap closure effort by providing your feedback to Bikeinput.wsccog@gmail.com. Let us know your view or contact Better Bike with any questions as they relate to our own backyard of Beverly Hills.

3 thoughts on “Open for Comment: Westside Cities COG Bike Gap Closure Plan

  1. We just dropped $1 billion to add a lane to the 405. Why can’t we get bike accomodation on the Sepulveda Pass??

  2. Well, Matt, obviously you’re not satisfied with Metro’s investment in motoring (see the fact sheet that $1b will buy – with no mention of active transportation). Now, I’ve only attended a couple of the Caltrans BAC7 meetings, but I can say that project engineers just don’t seem to understand the concept of roads for all users. If they did, the underpasses at Pico, Olympic, SM & Wilshire wouldn’t be in the sorry state that they are for cyclists while construction continues, and continues…

  3. I should also add that we dropped that $1b but didn’t pay for it yet. Decades into the coming era of active transportation, we will still be paying off yesterday’s follies like this one. As for bike facilities, note that the EIR identifies shoulders as appropriate for “joint use” (presumably with auto traffic) as bicycle lanes. Note this choice passage:

    “When current or anticipated pedestrian and/or bicycle traffic presents a potential conflict with motor vehicle traffic, every effort must be made to minimize the detrimental effects on all highway users who share the facility.”

    Seems like the “detrimental effects” would be disproportionately suffered by cyclists and pedestrians, but Caltrans decided to do it the old-fashioned way: impose no detrimental effects on vehicular flow.

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