This Thursday, November 7 at 6pm the city’s new Blue-Ribbon Santa Monica Boulevard Committee will hold its first meeting. This is every cyclist’s best opportunity to advocate for bicycle lanes on tomorrow’s Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Why? We may think a safe corridor for all road users is a no-brainer, but opponents disagree: they won’t lose a few feet of adjacent Beverly Gardens Park for our safety. In between are elected officials and transportation staff on the fence. They need to hear from you!
Why create a blue-ribbon resident committee to advise on the conceptual design for tomorrow’s Santa Monica Boulevard? Because we want a better corridor when after work wraps up late in 2015. Read the agenda for Thursday’s meeting and be prepared to speak up. Look over this list of committee members. Do you know anyone you can contact?
Whether you’re a rider or a driver (or both) there is ample reason to separate bicycle traffic from motor traffic. For one thing, it’s actually safer than mixing modes in travel lanes. Also, dedicated bicycle lanes feels safer to those who might ride but who find today’s corridor too unsafe. Not least, corridor lanes will plug the existing gap in lanes to our east and west.
And the best reason to include bicycle lanes in the design of tomorrow’s Santa Monica Boulevard? Because the available right-of-way already exists! And it’s already dedicated for transportation purposes. The rub is that the additional few feet necessary to accommodate lanes is under grass. We only need a few feet, according to the city’s engineering study, to put those bicycle lanes in.
We’re not obligated to include lanes or any complete streets improvement, however, because no strings are attached to the funding. Beverly Hills will take no state or federal money for this project. Bicycle lanes (and any other such ‘enhancement,’ as they are called) will only find a place on the boulevard via a political process. And that means getting involved.
As we previously reported, City Council created this resident committee for the purpose of opening a broad discussion about what tomorrow’s Santa Monica Boulevard should be. And that is our opportunity. Come to one of the committee’s three meetings (on 11/7, 12/10 and 1/8) and take advantage of one of the city’s two mobile tours (11/13 and 11/17). You can also submit your written comments via Better Bike (we will relay them) and to transportation staffers via the city’s contact form.
Most importantly, just keep yourself apprized of this process via Better Bike and the committee’s dedicated webpage and spread the word. The committee will wrap up with recommendations for Council later this winter. Time flies, so be sure to be heard.