The Beverly Hills Bike Route Pilot program was rolled out for public comment in the second of three outreach meetings at Public Works today. This is the program to select among five bike routes for suitable cycling-friendly improvements. Like the last meeting, planner Martha Eros gave an overview; consultant Sarah Brandenburg (right) presented feasibility study findings, and a few folks took turns at the microphone for 3-minute comments. Here’s the recap. Next up: the final outreach meeting before Traffic & Parking commission on May 9th where commissioners will discuss appropriate improvements.
Turnout was greater than expected at tonight’s meeting – about 30 people in the audience sitting patiently through the two PowerPoint presentations. Yet only five people spoke about the Pilot. Turns out that most who attended came from nearby UCLA urged on by the promise of extra credit. But local residents and cyclists? Not so much: if you weren’t from a household that received a flyer (or had one thrust into your hands by a bike advocate) you could be excused for not attending because outreach of these meetings was only pro-forma: the checkboxes were checked (flyers sent, press release posted) but not much active promotion.
But there was no announcement of this meeting on the city’s homepage. It was not included in the city’s online calendar nor mentioned on the ‘announcements’ sidebar. Even the webpage for the Pilot program only mentions only past meetings; it fails to notice this one or the next meeting. And you won’t even find Pilot materials linked from the Transportation division’s page. Inexplicably that link is posted to the Traffic & Parking Commission’s page. So if you’re a member of the community and heard about the meeting, you would have a difficult time learning more.
Present on behalf of the city were Committee members Alan Grushcow and Ira Friedman, staffers Martha Eros, Aaron Kuntz (Deputy Director for Transportation), intern Elias Massoud, and Fehr & Peers consultant Sarah Brandenburg. Also in attendance were Traffic & Parking Chair Julie Steinberg and Commissioner Lester Friedman. (It’s heartening to see commissioners attend in extra-curricular fashion. Planning Commissioner Brian Rosenstein attended an earlier meeting.) This city firepower seemed somewhat overkill for a relatively under-attended (and thus brief) public meeting.
After the Martha Eros update on the Pilot and the presentation of the Fehr & Peers feasibility study by Sarah Brandenburg, five speakers took to the microphone to comment on the candidate routes (basic map),
One resident from the 700 block of Crescent (a proposed bike route) described himself as a cyclists but was “befuddled” that the Pilot identified heavily-trafficked corridors for bike routes.
You’ve selected the most dangerous routes – why put cyclists at risk? And sharrows – that adds to the danger. Long Beach isolated the lanes. And these north/south routes terminate at high-traffic streets: Sunset and Olympic. What is the purpose of this short, truncated bicycle route [network]?
Another Crescent resident described how traffic has doubled and that has changed the character of her street:
We have stop signs but people race between them. Our beloved street lined with magnolia trees is not longer feeling residential. You’re taking lovely neighborhoods and changing the residential character. “Down the road we’ll study the roundabouts. But this makes one think of the law of untended consequences. We’ll do something now – like lanes – and end up with roundabouts.
Another resident called our heavily-traveled streets frustrating to the cyclist, noting that his son avoids taking Charleville to the high school.
He prefers instead a route south of Olympic to avoid motor traffic. [Charleville] is dangerous with 4-ways stops and crowded with commuters. And Beverly, in the business neighborhood, it’s dangerous too. The [pull-in] parking is not bike friendly. I don’t know that sharrows are enough there.
Noting that “connectivity is a problem,” this cyclist takes Whitworth for an east-west route. “There are fewer 4-ways [stops].”