Cast Your Vote on March 5th in our City Council Election

Beverly Hills decidesTo date, Better Bike has tried to work with City Hall behind the curtain. We’ve communicated to departments and commissions what we hear from our followers, and made a few suggestions of our own concerning bike lanes and bike safety signage. We have even offered to create a bike safety page for the city’s website. But we have gained little traction with city transportation officials. Beverly Hills is no more bike-friendly today than it ever was. In the March 5th city election you have the opportunity to make a difference.

At present Better Bike can’t make an endorsement in the city election.* We’re affiliated with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (as a local chapter) and that organization’s nonprofit status precludes our support for specific candidates. But we can suggest that you take a good look at the four credible candidates running for three open City Council seats and make your own informed choice at the polls (full candidates list here).

Yes, gaining a grasp on the candidates’ views on road safety is a challenge. We Beverly Hills residents find our mailboxes stuffed with flyers that promise leadership on issues like education and the public purse, but these missives are often light on substance. Few address transportation in any detail and no candidate has to date taken a stand on road safety in particular. Will they champion on-road facilities (like bicycle lanes) and safety signage as we see implemented in surrounding cities? Will they call for on-street bicycle racks to accommodate the increasing number of people who choose to ride instead of clogging our streets with a car for a local errand? We can only put these questions to the candidates directly.

We will start this morning with council member (and Vice Mayor) John Mirisch. We’re co-hosting a coffee for cyclists and renters at the Coffee Bean, 233 S. Beverly Drive, at 11am. To date, he’s the only candidate in this election who has reached out to the cycling community, and in the City Council’s review of the Pilot bike route proposal showed his concern for the safety of those who ride.

We can’t endorse at present, but in the coming weeks we can take a closer look at each candidate beyond the messages they choose to send in their mailed materials. Running in this election are Vice-Mayor John Mirisch, Mayor Willie Brien, Brian Rosenstein [link now disabled] and Nancy Krasne. We should ask each of them whether they support measures to make Beverly Hills safer for those who choose to ride.

(*Note that this post has been updated since posting this past Friday to adhere to our obligation to not endorse any candidate pending clarification of responsibility to our nonprofit affiliate which precludes candidate endorsements.)

3 thoughts on “Cast Your Vote on March 5th in our City Council Election

  • February 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Going to check his website right now for this in hopes he’s put it out there for all to know.
    Would love to know if in your experience the others have opposed bike lanes on SMB? I remember Dr. Brien speaking about his support for bikes in BH when he came door to door (with a dear neighbor of mine whose husband is an avid cyclist )first time he ran! Thanks!

  • February 15, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Could not find any specifics on his website & google only has the August statement on your blog & another bike site, which is is more of an “if possible” than a “will fight for.”

  • February 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Today at his midday coffee, he reiterated support for bike lanes on Santa Monica Boulevard. He said he’s sensitive to community concern about losing green space by chipping into Beverly Gardens Park and added, “Let’s see if can make that work” without losing parkland. I believe he will make it work, but he’s aware that the Council as composed today is not standing up for a bike-friendly city. As he’s looking for additional green space for Beverly Hills, he doesn’t want to chip away at what we have. But the campaign for bike lanes on Santa Monica won’t be a black-or-white thing like city staff likes to believe – that we’ll have to take a big bite out of the park. That’s posturing to gin up community opposition, I believe.
    More likely, because SM Blvd varies in width, and because the reconstruction design specs haven’t even been anywhere near finalized, we’ll be discussing very marginal change to the park. In fact, we could probably add width on the East end if we have to use a foot or two at the West end (meaning no net loss of parkland overall).
    To make that kind of rational argument – not to mention to keep road safety in the forefront – we’ll need voices on Council to cut though the usual hyperventilation that accompanies mention of cycling safety improvements. I’m confident that John will be such a voice. The question is, will our other candidates speak up for cycling safety? To date, Willie Brien, and the Council majority overall, has committed only to measures (i.e., the Pilot) that appear to make change but won’t reduce the hazards faced today by those who prefer to travel by bicycle in Beverly Hills.

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