Beverly Hills Posts an ad-hoc Bike Committee Page

Ad-Hoc Bike Plan Committee website screenshotNewsflash! Beverly Hills Transportation has created a webpage for the city’s ad-hoc Bike Plan Update Committee. It sure took long enough: after beggaring the city to merely pick this lowest of low-hanging fruit – creating a webpage – we finally have something to show for our year-and-a-half effort.

Heck, Transportation has even gone ahead and posted the agenda for this Wednesday’s committee meeting. That’s about 48 hours in advance. Yet it’s too short a lead time to satisfy Brown Act requirements. That’s why it’s an ad-hoc committee.

What distinguishes this current effort is how truly insubstantial it is. Compared to the sites hosted by cites like Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Culver City, where each posts planning and policy documents and often safety-related information too, ourĀ  Transportation division has put in the absolute least amount of effort: it merely posted a single meeting agenda. No background on the committee’s work here. No supporting documents like the map of business triangle bike racks that Transportation has been working on for six months. Nada.

And what an insubstantial agenda it is: two information items, one discussion item (sans detail) and a ‘next steps’ closing item. Have a look at Wednesday’s agenda and tell us what you think.

Ad-Hoc agenda for November 16 screenshotThat’s from a department with $250k/year in transportation planning staff PLUS one bike-focused intern. The City itself employs enough outreach & communications talent (not to mention outside contractors) to add nearly $1 million to our city’s annual budget to reach out through electronic channels. How difficult is it to crib some boilerplate from another city’s website?

Indeed, how is it that Better Bike does our own outreach to membership, posts a regularly-updated blog AND can put together a detailed stakeholders agenda for less than the price of a cup of coffee? No generous salary here; nor does sick time or retirement benefits accrue.

Too Little, Too Late

Now you might ask, Why criticize the city’s single bike-related accomplishment? After a year-and-a-half, this ad-hoc committee finally posted an agenda. Simply because it’s too little and much too late.

Better Bike long ago offered to craft a bike safety page and more for the Transportation website (gratis!) but we’ve never gotten the call. In the last August 29th meeting [recap], Transportation said they’d work with us on it. But we never got that call either. We didn’t even get an official notice of this Wednesday’s meeting until two days before.

So we’re not inclined to applaud cynical efforts when every day we ride streets without bike lanes or signage (not even a sharrow to be seen) and chain up to parking meters because the city’s not deigned to provide a single additional rack in years. That’s why.