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.
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.
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.
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.
Since we’ve first talked about bi-directional Class II bike lanes for the Santa Monica Boulevard corridor, City of Beverly Hills officials have said that widening the boulevard for any purpose (including bike lanes) was a no-go proposition. Former Mayor Jimmy Delshad put a fine point on it in City Council in mid-2010 when he said, “We’re not widening the boulevard!” That was just after he said, “All options are on the table.” All options were clearly not on the table.