Beverly Hills City Council Disses Road Safety, Slaps Riders in Santa Monica Boulevard Session A split Beverly Hills City Council last night dismissed the safety concerns of over two hundred riders (and twenty who showed up in person) to blithely wave off any prospect for class II bicycle lanes on tomorrow’s Santa Monica Boulevard. Those of us who hoped that the corridor would close the regional backbone network gap, or perhaps illustrate the current thinking in complete streets principles, will be sorely disappointed. Living up to our reputation for insularity and parochial thinking, a majority on our City Council last night affirmed our city’s disregard for connectivity and road safety by ruling out bike lanes.
Beverly Hills City Council just created a ‘blue ribbon’ residents committee to coordinate public input about conceptual designs and alternatives for the first phase of the Santa Monica Boulevard reconstruction project. Expected to break ground in early 2015, the project will reconfigure this key corridor. Many design questions remain, however – not least whether bicycle lanes will one day find their place here to complete the regional ‘backbone’ bicycle network that cyclists care about.
Beverly Hills City Council took a major step forward on Santa Monica Boulevard reconstruction today when councilmembers agreed to create an appointed blue-ribbon committee to manage public outreach this fall. This move broadens stakeholder participation beyond the limited opportunities afforded by commission oversight and instead puts oversight of the process in stakeholders’ hands. In other developments, the Council recognized that cyclists have a place on this key corridor and said safety was paramount. Let’s recap!
The Beverly Hills Courier ran a cover article last week titled, ‘Mirisch Says City Manager Kolin “Usurped” Authority.’ Attention-grabbing headlines are a staple in the tabloid’s toolbox precisely because they beg a look. And indeed the Courier has been known to swing a provocative headline now and then. But ‘usurps’ is a serious charge, and it merits attention because the City Manager already exercises control. Does he exercise too much control? Let’s look more closely at the City Manager and the Courier’s claim.
Did you know that Beverly Hills broadcasts a cable TV television station with its own talk show called Inside Beverly Hills (Time Warner channel 10)? The show opens a window onto the process behind the politics and until Rudy Cole, the city’s unofficial political wonk and host, passed recently, we saw it as a big step that City Council took last year to reach the public. In honor of Sunshine Week (“open government is good government”) we will revisit one episode of Inside to celebrate Rudy’s handiwork and to learn how the public fits into this we the people enterprise, local government.