Halfway to one Complete Street (if not a ‘Complete Streets’ Plan)

Santa Monica Boulevard easbound bicycle lanesAs we approach the upcoming complete streets workshop this Wednesday, a full ten weeks will have passed without a single word about the process from consultants Iteris or Alta Planning. Gotta wonder if our complete streets consultants aren’t off chasing other business. In the meantime, progress continues on Santa Monica Boulevard: eastbound bicycle lanes are striped bright green. Folks we are halfway to a complete street!

But that doesn’t mean we’re anywhere near halfway toward a complete streets plan. The process seems to have taken a summer hiatus. There has been no email blast about progress or any update to the project website in about ten weeks. An email inquiry went without a response for days. With the third workshop (‘Draft Plan Progress’) fast-approaching on Wednesday, August 22nd, I can’t help but feel the momentum is lost.

The earlier workshops were valuable for illustrating the concepts. The walk audit was useful for its in-the-field exploration. That’s the kind of hands-on planning that should inform the draft plan. However it’s been in short supply: only two streets were covered by the walk audit; that leaves much of the city unexplored — and many problematic conditions unacknowledged in the outreach process.

Contrast that with the tangible progress made on the boulevard: continental crosswalks, raised crosswalks for Beverly Gardens Park users, and of course those bicycle lanes – a gift to riders from our current City Council. Going into Wednesday’s complete streets Workshop #3: Draft Plan Progress it’s some motivation to press on for the best draft plan we can get.

Join us on Wednesday, August 22nd at 6:30 pm in the City Hall Municipal Gallery. Bicycle racks are adjacent to the library.

Concerns About our Complete Streets Process

Here I present my letter to our Traffic and Parking Commission about the state of our complete streets planning process as I see it. There will have gone ten weeks between the last event (the walk audit) and the upcoming workshop on August 22nd without any substantive communication with the public. Has public input to date effectively informed the process? Has the participation component been just a check-the-box exercise that hews to the city’s request-for-proposal? The RFP wasn’t a particularly imaginative document and it seems like we have a singularly unimaginative complete streets process on our hands. Continue reading

Complete Streets Walk Audit Recap

Complete Streets Walk audit overview of the roomBeverly Hills conducted a Complete Streets ‘walk audit’ on June 9th. It followed on the first Community Workshop (read the recap), the Workshop #2 (recap) and an Earth Day Complete Streets pop-up (pic). After those earlier conceptual discussions and associated mapping exercises, this event was a hands-on opportunity for participants to evaluate our environment for accessibility and safety.  And of course to make recommendations. “Everything is on the table” in terms of improvements, said Aaron Kunz, Community Development Department Deputy Director for Transportation. Continue reading

Complete Streets Workshop #2 Recap

City of Beverly Hills has hosted the second in a series of complete streets outreach events. At workshop #1 general concepts were presented and key concerns identified. This workshop was rubber-meets-road as participants hovered over city maps to drill down on opportunities for pedestrian and bicycle networks and ‘vehicle technology streets.’ Good ideas came from five roundtables. Read on! Continue reading

Lend Your Voice to the Beverly Hills Complete Streets Plan

Several years ago Metro added a condition to the transportation grants the deep-pocketed agency makes to localities: money is contingent on a Metro-approved complete streets mobility plan in place at the local level. Our 1977 Bicycle Master Plan won’t cut it, so City of Beverly Hills city stepped away from a decade of talk about a plan update and instead chose to focus on a brand-new complete streets plan. That planning process is under way now. Mobility advocates please lend your voice! Continue reading

Complete Streets workshop #1 Recap

Complete streets workshop #1 flyerThe first Beverly Hills complete streets process community workshop was held on Monday, March 12th, to kick off the drafting of the city’s complete streets plan. This is the first step in the creation of a complete streets plan. More workshops and city meetings will follow, but this event suggested that Beverly Hills is ready for complete streets. Here’s my recap. Continue reading

Mark Your Calendar: Complete Streets Workshop #1

Better Bike invites you to attend the Beverly Hills complete streets visioning workshop tonight, Monday, March 12th at 6:30pm. This event kicks-off a planning process for which our alternative mobility community has long waited: the preparation of an actual complete streets plan 40 years after the city adopted our first, and only, Bicycle Master Plan. Continue reading

Beverly Hills Signed on to the USDOT Mayors’ Challenge. Now What?

MayorChallengeSignUpEarlier this year, then-Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation challenged American localities to make travel safer for bicycle riders and pedestrians. In March he invited US mayors to sign on, and Beverly Hills accepted the challenge back in February. But we’ve heard nothing from City Hall about it since then. Is our city doing anything to meet the Mayors’ Challenge for bike-friendly streets? Continue reading

Time for Beverly Hills to Adopt a Complete Streets Policy!

Chattanooga, Tennessee beat Beverly Hills in the broadband arena a few years ago with citywide 1gigabit-per-second Internet. Back then nobody paid much attention: Chattanooga is hardly on the minds of many Angelenos. But our own city dithered on broadband, which left Time Warner with a broadband monopoly. Now Chattanooga leaps ahead with a real complete streets policy to make travel safer for all road users. Yet our our “world class” city can’t seem to entertain a discussion about street safety or plan effectively for multimodal mobility. What gives?

New York City’s Transformation

NYC bike rack

Over the past decade New York City has been transformed from a hardscrabble city where motorists practically had the run of city streets (perhaps our greatest public space!) to a hardscrabble city where those of us who walk and bike have at least a fighting chance to survive. And while the playing field is not exactly level, the transformation of high-profile thoroughfares suggests the problem is recognized. With appropriate policies, better enforcement and continued infrastructure improvements, we’ll at least put non-motorists back on the scoreboard after a century+ shutout by motor traffic interests and an ongoing assist from unaccountable policymakers.

Will Complete Streets Become the Law of the Land?

Complete Streets principles state that our roads must be safely accessible to all users regardless of mode choice. That represents clear break from the the Mesozoic era of automobility when the blacktop was the exclusive province of motorists. Yet it has yet to catch on with state transportation agencies and local departments of transportation. To the rescue comes the Safe Streets Act of 2013. Co-authored by California’s Representative Doris Matsui (Sacramento), the legislation would to force states and localities to recognize their responsibility to finally make our streets more safe.

PTA Hosts BH Community Forum on Bike-Friendly Streets

Horace Mann on Wednesday evening hosted a PTA-organized forum intended to jump start a community conversation about making city streets near our schools safer and more bike-friendly for children and parents. The forum was organized by current Horace Mann PTA president Jeffrey Grijalva and past President Howard Goldstein and moderated by Horace Mann parent Jeffrey Courion, who is an advocate for building community the old-fashioned way: by walking our streets and running errands by bicycle.

City Council Study Session: Complete Streets Mentioned

Visualization of a bike lane and active transportation corridor on Santa Monica Boulevard

An update following today’s City Council’s April 17th Study Session. In our earlier review of the draft request for proposals (RFP) for the Santa Monica Boulevard conceptual design, we noted that RFP language seemed to slight the bike lanes option. We also noted that it presumed community opposition to boulevard expansion for lanes, and we also observed that the draft RFP failed to include Complete Streets principles. We argued that because the RFP establishes bidder expectations, it’s important to craft it carefully. Councilmembers agreed and sent it back for revisions. Here’s the recap.