The Westside Cities Council of Governments (COG) meets this coming Thursday to discuss and adopt COG policies that will affect this joint powers authority for the coming fiscal year. By way of background, the COG is a creation of the cities of Beverly Hills, Culver City, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, the City of Los Angeles (with participation from the County). The COG serves as a forum for information exchange and, loosely, policy coordination across member cities, which pay approximately $20,000 in dues per year. (Read more about the COG.)
At this annual meeting [agenda], COG member representatives will review the proposed budget (about
$190,000 $120,000 inclusive of a one-time energy grant), appoint a chair and vice chair, and staff committees, including the key Transportation and Sustainability committees. The COG operates with a minimum of staffing and no specific policy analysis support.
The COG has embarked on an a bicycle plan coordination effort to bring some coherence to member cities’ bike-related policies and, hopefully, identify and address gaps in the system of regional bikeways just now being fashioned through bike plan updates across member cities. Recently a second meeting (right) with Westside bike advocates produced many useful suggestions for knitting together our sub-region’s disconnected system of planned bike lanes, routes, and paths
Read the bike coordination staff report [pdf] and consider lending your voice as a bike advocate to the COG discussion. It’s important to speak up to the full COG board in the annual meeting if we want a role in shaping the bike plan coordination effort.
This annual meeting presents an opportunity to address the full COG board, members of whom have been supportive of bike planning generally. Bill Rosendahl of Los Angeles, Abbe Land of West Hollywood, and Kevin McKeown, in particular, have spoken in favor of progressive alt-transportation policies.
Not all members are as supportive of COG’s role in coordinating bike policies and improvements across the sub-region, though, so do consider attending if only to speak out in favor of continued COG participation. We have to remind member city representatives that making our streets complete for all road users is not only federal and state policy, but good local policy too. Attendance will not only show the COG that we care about moving alternative transportation issues and pro-cyclist safety and planning forward.
Now, we won’t have a vote on their budget, and we’re not appointing any Chairs, but we can press our interests and call for in-house policy analysis support and, even better, a part-time Westside mobility coordinator. That’s a COG responsibility long neglected, and without a warm body advocating for smarter transport policies the issue can fall by the wayside.
Attendance will also bring bike advocates up to speed with what this little-noticed policy-setting organization actually does. Few people really know because zero – zero! – stakeholders attend these public meetings. So keep up with the COG by watching for coming meetings and right now have a look at the May 19th agenda.
The COG will meet May 19th at Annenberg Beach House’s Garden Terrace Room, 415 Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica. Bring your beach umbrella & sandals! Direct questions about the COG to staffer Maria Rychlicki or about our advocacy with the COG to Better Bike.