Westside Cities COG recap 9/15

Westside Cog logoHere’s an update fresh from the Westside Cities Council of Governments meeting at the Skirball yesterday. The short story is that the COG board approved moving $5,000 from its promo budget to fund an intern to manage the bike coordination initiative.The challenge now is to find an intern knowledgeable enough to honcho the thing, and to make that $5,000 stretch though the fiscal year (ending in June).The initiative is guided by the COG’s ad-hoc bike coordination committee, which includes Beverly Hills Transportation division deputy Aaron Kunz and two other COG delegates. COG executive staffer Maria Rychlicki handles administration. The committee last met with advocates back in May, and has shaped the COG’s initiative without further input. The ad-hoc last met on September 14th – a meeting not open to the public and not noticed on the COG meetings page.

What we do know about the program then is outlined in the Bike coordination staff report 2011-9-15 [pdf]. It includes development of education and training programs; posting of online safety tips & resources (and perhaps generating a template for city sites); mapping bike improvements across the Westside and integrating existing facilities into mobility maps, most likely Metro’s bike map [pdf]; and continuing to identify gaps where infrastructure or facilities is needed.

Currently there are no specific deliverables identified and no timetable established, so much will hinge on finding an intern. While a mobility coordinator or transportation policy expert would help shape the effort, it looks like we’re marching with the army we’ll have (and don’t even have yet). The COG board has indicated its general backing for the effort. Moreover, COG delegates like Bill Rosendahl (Los Angeles) and Kevin McKeown (Santa Monica) have stepped forward to clearly voice support in the past, while our own Beverly Hills representatives remain quiet.

The challenge for bike advocates and active transportation supporters will be to hold the COG to results. It seems like the COG may have underestimated the administrative support and expertise needed to craft a coherent program. The $5,000 approved by the COG is less than the cost of administrative support for the executive director ($6,000), for example, and about equal to meeting & postage costs for the COG ($5,000 combined). It’s difficult to imagine supporting a robust sub-regional bike coordination initiative on $5,000, but it does buy some really nice meeting buffets.