Our Campaign for Better Transportation Choices
Better Bike is all about making our streets safe and accessible for travelers. Since 2010 we have pressed City of Beverly Hills to leave behind twentieth-century thinking and join our city neighbors to support safe, multimodal mobility. After all, that’s exactly what our own city plans say we should do! But follow the advice in our Sustainable City Plan and we risk injury. Indeed for walkers and riders, Beverly Hills is among the most dangerous small cities in California, according to the Office of Traffic Safety. And the trend is toward more injuries and fatalities.
The First Step to Safer Streets: A Real Plan
We look forward to complete streets one day and the planning process is currently underway. City Council has engaged a consultant, Iteris, to move us through the process this year. Public workshops will commence in late February with the process scheduled to conclude with a final complete streets plan in September. We will be watching every step of the way.
Since 2010 Better Bike has called for facilities that would make walking and cycling safe: on-street bike lanes, intersection improvements, better signage for safety, and bike parking. These are measures we’ve seen embraced by other cities but only haltingly implemented in Beverly Hills (when implemented at all). “We’re not Santa Monica,” we’ve heard councilmembers say many times. “We’re not West Hollywood.”
Indeed! We are far from being a city of complete streets. A deputy director for transportation recently conceded to City Council, “We’ve got some work to do.”
We can start with a designated citywide bicycle route network. It could look something like this the one envisioned in our 1977 Bicycle Master Plan, still on the books but never updated. Or it could look like something that riders ourselves would suggest:
A citywide bicycle route network could include:
- Class II bike lanes on key corridors;
- Intersections designed for rider safety; and,
- Signage throughout the city alerting drivers that we can lawfully use the entire lane.
Getting There from Here
A first step toward a city of safer streets came in 2016 when councilmember Lili Bosse persuaded a bare majority of the City Council to support complete streets by making it an A-level priority.
A second step came when City Council agreed in 2017 to include bicycle lanes on the reconstructed North Santa Monica Boulevard. Our current City Council doubled-down on that promise in February of 2018 by directing the Class II bicycle lane would not only be reflective but colored green from end-to-end.
Now as we look ahead to the complete streets plan process we seem to have City Council support for a robust process in contrast to past window-dressing efforts that produced ‘shelfware’ plans. Those did nothing to make streets safe for users. (Ironically the best mobility plan we have on the books is forty years old: the Bicycle Master Plan from 1977.)