Beverly Hills City Council may have punted on Santa Monica Boulevard, but they can’t turn their back on street safety entirely. Consider what confronts road users every day on this corridor: pavement hazards and intersections seemingly engineered to fail riders. While councilmembers continue to discuss reconstruction cost, let’s talk safety. There’s much we can do to make this corridor better today: repair that blacktop and intersections like Santa Monica-Beverly Blvd and Santa Monica/Wilshire more safely accessible to riders.
If you’ve been on your seat-edge waiting to find out what Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills will look like for the next half-century, you’ll wait a bit longer. Tomorrow City Council will defer a decision on the corridor’s conceptual design as it again hears about the project budget and why, low-balled by staff, it has doubled since the fall to $35m. How will the project might funded? How wide should the boulevard be? Wide enough to include bicycle lanes? We’ll know more on Tuesday.
Deputy Director for Transportation Aaron Kunz apprized us this week that no decisions have been made about bicycle lanes for Santa Monica Boulevard because staff and the contractor, Psomas, are still refining cost projections for the reconstruction project.
City Council in study session today received some answers from city staff to March 4th questions about ballooning cost projections. But councilmembers unhappy about imprecision and dissatisfied with past staff candor turned the project back with even more questions. Today much remains in flux: cost projections, financing options, and traffic mitigation measures, to name a few things. Consequently there is no resolution on project scope, much less even a firm position on bicycle lanes. Given the uncertainty, that’s good news: that option remains on the table for Santa Monica Boulevard.
On Tuesday, Beverly Hills City Council will receive a Santa Monica Boulevard reconstruction update at its 2:30 pm study session. The Council will likely focus on project cost and the key question of whether to expand the boulevard. Unfortunately the surprise reveal of near-doubled project costs distracted attention from issues like road safety, so at present bicycle lanes appear to be off the table. Let’s briefly review the project and look at what’s up for Council consideration on April 1st.
Beverly Hills resident Danielle Salomon is a bicycle lane proponent. She (and daughter Nina) spoke at the Blue-Ribbon Committee meeting #3 and she followed up with an appearance at the March 4th City Council meeting to urge councilmembers to incorporate class II (on street) lanes on tomorrow’s Santa Monica Boulevard. But sentiment from a majority on the dais ran against lanes (read our recap). So Danielle and husband Gene reached out to their neighbors in advance of next Tuesday’s Council meeting, where the project will come back for Council action. Consider reaching out to your neighbors. Follow their template (at bottom) or roll your own.
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.
Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) has consistently supported our efforts to secure a bicycle lane for Santa Monica Boulevard. Policy Director Eric Bruins not only attended the meetings but also corresponded with the Blue-Ribbon Committee. Indeed the institutional heft behind this campaign for class II bicycle lanes has been a crucial factor in our success to date.
Update: We will meet up before the meeting at Peets Coffee (258 S. Beverly Drive) Tuesday at 5:45 pm. We’ll grab a drink and at 6:45 ride north on Beverly Drive to City Hall. Here is the City Council agenda (item F1) and the accompanying staff report. See you there! Put this in your calendar: City Council will consider the Blue-Ribbon Committee’s recommendation to incrementally expand Santa Monica Boulevard and add a class II bicycle lane in each direction. The meeting is March 4th at 7pm. The key question before Council: Should the city increase the curb-to-curb width of the boulevard? And if expanded, should the city stripe bicycle lanes as the Blue Ribbon Committee recommended? Proponents of a separate … Continue reading →
On the Mid City West Community Council’s upcoming February 11th agenda: “The Mid City West Community Council moves to write a letter to the Beverly Hills City Council in support of installing bike lanes as part of the city’s Santa Monica Boulevard reconstruction project, to comply with the state’s Complete Streets Act, enhance safety, improve traffic flow, and promote access to Beverly Gardens Park.” We’ll look for it!
Kimberly Reiss makes a good argument for rechristening Santa Monica Boulevard as Historic Route 66. In this corridor’s reconstruction she sees Route 66 highway signs, lamppost banners, landscaped medians and bike paths to recall the history of travel and be the gateway to our business triangle. We’re totally on board!
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.