Today we tuned into the live stream of an off-schedule Beverly Hills Planning Commission meeting but found it preempted by City Council. Yet a quick call to BHTV got a live stream up and running and a today-only link on the ‘watch now‘ page to the live feed. Kudos to the tech staff for the last-minute problem-solving.
Looks like the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia will return to Beverly Hills November 2-3. It will reprise last year’s package of ceremonial events, city marketing tie-ins, and ride kick-off on Rodeo Drive, with 1,300+ riders converging afterward at City Hall. It will be a good time to ask City Hall: Why roll out the red carpet for a bike event while providing zero safety measures for everyday people who choose to ride a bike here?
Update on SM Blvd: Reconstruction will commence in early 2015 with public outreach on the design coming as soon as this fall. That is our opportunity to make this corridor safe for multimodal travelers. Open question: how will the design process proceed? Will a select committee choose and then communicate particulars to the relevant committees? Will committee chairs sit alongside representatives from the public and staff? Stay tuned.
City of Santa Monica is reaping rewards from its considerable investment in bike infrastructure: it snagged silver-level ranking from the League of American Bicyclists. And it is deserved: high-profile road diets and well-marked bike lanes are changing the mobility picture there, while the hundreds of new racks means never hunting a pace to park. It pays off: cycling is big there. Guys, you’re making Beverly Hills look bad! Read more at SM Spoke!
In light of the Traffic and Parking Commission’s seeming disinterest in cyclist injuries, we’ve asked the BHPD for bike-involved collision data from 2012 as provided to CHP. BHPD’s response: merely a bare-bones list of March-to-March crashes packaged in an image-based PDF that’s impossible to copy. So much for government transparency! Stay tuned.
The bike rider’s favorite foil, the Automobile Club of America, has just released data showing that the cost of car ownership and operation are up 2% over last year, making annual upkeep for the average midsize sedan at $9,122/yr. Contributing to the rise are maintainence (up 11%) and insurance (up 2.7%). The study finds the average insurance bill to be about a grand – a reality check for Angenelo drivers who we bet pay twice that. This makes car ownership possibly the worst mobility bargain on the planet (download the AAA costs flyer).
Guardian UK kicks off its new GuardianWitness feature inviting reader participation in reporting. Among the first initiatives: “Britain’s cycling infrastructure: Is it fit for purpose?” Judging by the early submissions it’s clear that the US isn’t the only nation with sub-standard facilities.
With outgoing Public Works Director David Gustavson not yet out the door, is it too soon to talk about which concerns his replacement should take to heart? We don’t think so, and have been calling around to find out how that process will work. The short story: nobody knows but it’s up to the City Manager to decide. Stay tuned.
We’ll be sitting on the city’s ad-hoc Sunshine Task Force for its inaugural meeting on Tuesday, April 30th at City Hall [agenda]. The task force will examine opportunities for enhanced public participation in city business and better communication between City Hall and stakeholders. (Improved communication could start with listing the meeting on the city’s official calendar, we suggest.) We hope to see you there.
Incredibly, enthusiasm for the automobile continues to wane across Europe. For the 18th consecutive month, new car sales have declined, according to March new-car registrations. Sure, the macroeconomic picture isn’t pretty: unemployment is up across the Euro zone and renewed political turmoil over Cyprus didn’t help. But even Western Europe marked a first quarter drop of 10% over last year. In Germany, the financial anchor of Europe, new registrations plunged 17%. Has Europe lost its appetite for motoring, or simply that new car smell?
Date released by Traffic solutions firm Inrix draws upon its vast reservoir of traffic data to break the bad news: our Los Angeles area suffers the worst traffic congestion in the nation. Our freeways are the most crowded, our drive times longest, and the time sitting in traffic (59 hours in 2012) is the most egregious waste of productivity. We’re the perennial over-achiever, battling Honolulu year-after-year for worst-city honors. We also place highly across the globe and fall behind only Brussels and Antwerp globally for time spent in traffic.
LA Times today reports on the I-405 expansion running over budget and behind schedule. They could talk about the hazard of negotiating southbound West LA exit ramps (and unpredictable closures) too, but what we’d really like to see addressed pronto is the utter disregard for cyclist safety as exhibited by Caltrans & Metro. Every E-W crossing from Sunset to Pico is a hazard. We’ve posted on it and complained to Caltrans to no effect. So now we’ve dropped Zev a line. With the project now running over by an extra year, there’s time to make it right for cyclists.
Now approaching hour five of tonight’s Beverly Hills City Council meeting, we can see the difference a refreshed dais makes. From bollards to cell towers, pawn shop signage to a major development project, City Council turned each issue nearly inside out to remind residents what oversight really looks like: bringing facts to bear, asking insightful questions, and (not least) holding staff and each other to higher expectations. Must see TV!