You can’t say that your two minutes at the City Council microphone is totally wasted. After Better Bike members showed up in Council Chambers for a study session back in September to highlight the inadequacy of the bike plan, the city has taken the first step forward by creating an ad hoc committee to look at evolving it. This is a long-overdue effort that should have preceded the adoption of the General Plan this past January, when City Council stamped its approval on this 5-page skeleton of a plan – one without significant detail and with no implementation timetable in any case.
In Council we expressed our concerns about putting bike lanes for Santa Monica Boulevard, but this new effort by the Transportation and Parking Commission, is more broad. It will scope considerations for the Bike Plan v.2, but it looks like it will take shape with no input from the cycling community.
Although we’ve been in contact with various folks from the city about bike planning in Beverly Hills, the Commission appointed three of its members (Chairperson Ira M. Friedman and members Jeff Levine and Alan Grushcow) but didn’t mention a word about it to any of us. We found out only by keeping a sharp eye on the Commission’s agenda:
At this meeting, the Transportation and Parking Commission will be receiving its first update from the ad hoc Bicycle Committee this coming Thursday at 9 am. This is our opportunity to represent our interests to the Commission so that hopefully the ad hoc committee will take them forward. (Better Bike Beverly Hills will be hand-delivering a letter to the Commission to underscore the point that the pubic should be included in the bike planning effort.)
But we can only hope. As an ad hoc committee under state law, the committee meetings need not be announced, nor open to the public. A representative from the Transportation department said (when asked) that the Bicycle Ad Hoc Committee will first meet on November 15th, but we won’t know precisely because it meets in private, where three of the seven members of the full Commission (including the chair) will decide the agenda.
At most, we will have the opportunity to comment in our two minutes at the microphone in Commission – after the committee has done its work – which is a reactive posture rather than the proactive stance we have taken in organizing our group. Why not reach out to the community most affected? Shouldn’t the cycling public be invited to shape the effort, rather than have to spy it on a Commission agenda?
That’s why it’s necessary for us to be represented at the Commission meeting on Thursday morning to let them know that we have thirty members who have an interest and personal investment in safe facilities for cycling.
Beverly Hills can do better. West Hollywood and Culver City have bicycle task forces. City of Los Angeles has a Bicycle Advisory Committee. The models exist for an inclusive process. Business as usual, on the other hand, gets cyclists more of what we have: zero miles of bike lanes, no signage, and no shared lanes.
Mark your calendar: November 4th at 9 am room 280-A Beverly Hills City Hall to hear an update from the city’s brand-new Bicycle Ad Hoc Committee.