Beverly Hills City Council will very likely deal the death blow tomorrow to hopes for striped bicycle lanes on the city’s section of Santa Monica Boulevard. Before Council is a recommendation developed by two council members to reconstruct Santa Monica Boulevard at its current, irregular width, which would preclude adding a striped bicycle lane for decades. Is the fix in? Only three councilmember votes are needed to give the go-ahead, so only one additional councilmember is needed to rubber-stamp this proposal. For those who support Santa Monica Boulevard bicycle lanes, this is likely the bitter end to a two-year campaign. And it could be a death blow to anybody who envisions a safe corridor for all road users.
The only reason that Beverly Hills Police Department posted these sensible safety tips in the wake of the safe-passing law is that it cribbed it right from CHP. If only the city would issue a press release or post road safety/ride safe tips on the website!
We’ve just received an update on the too-little, too-late Beverly Hills bike rack installation program. The news is not so good: To the couple of dozen sidewalk racks installed last year citywide, we might add only a couple dozen more. That would total to 50 racks or fewer citywide in the five years since we first urged officials to provide conspicuous and convenient bike parking. By comparison, City of Santa Monica had installed 1,000 racks by 2010 and called for 2,500 more in that city’s Bicycle Action Plan (2011). Why can’t Beverly Hills take this smallest step to encouraging multimodal mobility?
Governor Jerry Brown has again proven his administration to be no friend to bike riders. He’s just vetoed four bills that would have increased accountability for those who perpetrate hits-and-run. And he’s stricken a bill that would provide added protection to “vulnerable road users” like bicycle riders (Mark Levine’s A.B. 2398). Recall that not long ago, Brown vetoed safe passing bills not once but twice (before signing the third – a victory we can only chalk up to the California Bicycle Coalition’s persistence). Is this a governor who really cares about road safety?
At long last, those who ride a bicycle in California enjoy some protection as vulnerable road users under the state’s vehicular code. The new law, Three Feet for Safety Act (section 21760), for the first time specifies what ‘safe passing’ means to riders and drivers. When passing riders in the same direction, drivers must allow a three-foot margin. And if there’s not three feet available, the driver must slow and pass when there is sufficient room to present no danger to the rider.
Fifty years after NJ bike-maker Kent first started sourcing production from Europe, the manufacturer brings some of it back home to South Carolina. Call it not a bike renaissance but a low-wage naissance: the right-to-work state’s hungry for jobs. But at $120 per bike, not much margin for livability.
The Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Committee is inviting for a discussion debate representatives from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, the pro-bike community, and northside neighbors opposed to lanes for tomorrow’s Santa Monica Boulevard. Scheduled for August 21st at 8am, the GAC meeting will also fold in a discussion of this fall’s ballot propositions. But the sparks will likely come from the pro and con views on the bicycle lanes. We hope you can make it! Scroll for details.
We’re looking ahead to mid-September when California’s Three Feet for Safety Act takes effect. You won’t need the details of AB 1371 to know that under the law, safe passing means giving riders three feet of room on the road. California Bicycle Coalition took the lead on the issue; have a look at their FAQ to know how you can hold drivers accountable.
City of Beverly Hills may be inclined to speed traffic through our city, but others are reducing speed limits to safeguard walkers and riders. Two years ago, City of Portland reduced the limit to 20mph on streets adjacent to greenways. City of New York’s Mayor De Blasio signed a new law to reduce the default limit to 25mph. Santa Monica too is looking to lower limits. When it comes to street safety, we’ll be alone in cheering-on speeders.
The challenge of making North Figueroa safe for road users became more formidable when Councilman Gil Cedillo tanked bike lanes there as already planned (and funded). Why? For backstory we looked at election contributions in 2013 to see who pays-to-play with Cedillo. The answer? Real estate firms and unions. What about North Fig locals and transportation advocates? More contributions came from Beverly Hills than all three of Cedillo district’s Northeast Los Angeles zip codes.
Have you been involved in an injury collision only to find that the responding officer didn’t take your story seriously? Or that the report understated your account and you don’t recognize the basic facts of the crash? Or perhaps the officer let the offending motorist off without a citation because, well, you assume the risk of injury when you ride? Ventura County police reservist Laura Weintraub embodies the misconceptions that often make it difficult for us to get a fair shake from public safety.
Note your bike’s serial number (on the underside of the bottom bracket) and photograph identifying details today because loss happens too easily. In the Bay Area, a suspect walks free despite 130 stolen bike frames discovered by the cops armed with warrants.
If you have been eagerly awaiting a City Council decision on Santa Monica Boulevard bicycle lanes, you may be disappointed (or perhaps heartened) to know that no decision is forthcoming soon. The item originally scheduled for last Tuesday is now rescheduled for this coming Tuesday’s study session and only provides information to Council about an upcoming traffic mitigation study. The next decision will wait until September.
Reading the Complete Streets June newsletter‘s call for federal action on safe streets, we see that not one of our representatives (Waxman, Boxer or Feinstein) has cosponsored either the House bill or Senate bill under consideration. Beverly Hills can use the support: we’re one of the state’s most dangerous little cities for walkers and riders.
The LA Times reported that only 5% of Beverly Hills employees actually live in the city. Seems reasonable: the interests of City Hall staffers are not necessarily aligned with those of residents. And because fewer than 2% – two percent! – of recent new hires live here, that gap will widen. We agree with Mayor Mirisch: let’s ‘hire local.’