With the Santa Monica Boulevard Blue-Ribbon Committee having wrapped in late January, our recommendations will go to Council for consideration as early as February 18th. Then we’ll know if tomorrow’s boulevard will be a replay of the last century or a break with the past. Let’s look back at the high and low points of this public outreach process as we anticipate Council’s direction.
By a vote of 9-2 last night, the Beverly Hills Santa Monica Boulevard Blue-Ribbon Committee will recommend to City Council that tomorrow’s corridor should include a striped class II bicycle lane. In a fourth meeting marked by comity and good humor, resident appointees agreed that separating riders from motor traffic would facilitate flow and create safer conditions for those who choose to ride.
The Santa Monica Boulevard Blue-Ribbon Committee meets for a fourth and final time this week to discuss design options and enhancements for the future corridor. From the committee dais (and from the sidelines) we’ve argued that complete streets treatments and class II bicycle lanes should be part of this project. But the committee has been more interested in vehicular traffic flow than a rider’s safety. This Wednesday the committee will vote on the lanes. Here’s what to expect.
Santa Monica Boulevard reconstruction consultant Psomas acknowledges that Class II bicycle lanes reduce bike-involved collision injuries, yet lanes are not recommended for the corridor. Why not? Separated lanes get riders out of motor traffic; on that basis alone the Beverly Hills Blue-Ribbon Committee should support them because unimpeded traffic flow is the committee’s top priority. But there are many other reasons to put bicycle lanes on Santa Monica. Following up on our earlier baker’s dozen, we enumerate here a second dozen reasons with the hope that minds wiser than our transportation consultants will recognize that bicycle lanes are a necessary ‘enhancement’ for the corridor.
With the last of three Santa Monica Boulevard Blue-Ribbon Committee meetings now behind us, we can recap our work to date, take stock of the public outreach process, and finally look ahead to the next step for this 15-member Council-appointed body. And we will start with the last, because the next step will look much like the past steps. January 22nd we’ll continue our deliberation on width, features and boulevard enhancements. And still on the table – spoiler alert – bicycle lanes! Don’t count ’em out yet.