News Flash! City Council Keeps Bike Lanes on the Table

Greenway organizers at City Council
Co-organizers (L-R) Kory Klem, LACBC’s Eric Bruins, Better Bike’s Mark Elliot and Rich Hirschinger in Council chambers.

Bike lanes are still on the table for North Santa Monica Boulevard, according to City Council. Just before Council sent the $24M reconstruction project on to the design phase, councilmembers heard from no less than 33 bike lane supporters that this multimodal mobility opportunity is too important to squander. Safety for those who choose to ride a bicycle is too important to sacrifice, we said, particularly on the symbolic “not one blade of grass” argument heretofore made by lane opponents.

We presented our last-minute compromise proposal called the Beverly Hills Greenway and a veritable parade of 33 speakers supporting bicycle lanes followed on. In fact, Councilmembers effectively cleared the rest of the afternoon’s agenda to talk about the agenda item – construction mitigation – but with a healthy dose of discussion about how we could eek out another half-foot (or more) out of this relatively narrow corridor to fit bike lanes. (Talk about safe mobility consumed three-quarters of the meeting if not more.)

In the Council discussion (read the staff report that preceded the meeting) we saw hardened positions soften a little and a metaphorical space was found to talk about the prospect of lanes. And if ambiguity about the ultimate outcomes remains as councilmembers discuss design over the coming months, we believe that progressive mobility solutions can happen in Beverly Hills. As the Mayor said, “We can get there – we can find a way.” And we’re prepared to work with the city to make that happen.

Beverly Hills Greenway profile
Our proposal: The Beverly Hills Greenway. We can have bicycle lanes yet lose no green space!

Make no mistake, the clear winner today was street safety. But we are all victors too in a sense: the quality of the public process today reflected the best City Hall has to offer.

We want to thank our fellow advocates and lane supporters of all stripes who worked together to bring this Greenway proposal to Council: Drew Baldwin, Eric Bruins, Kevin Burton, Ron Finley, Mahala Helfman, Rich Hirschinger, Sharon Ignarro, Lou Ignarro, Lou Karlin, Kory Klem, Tish Laemmle, Greg Laemmle, Barbara Linder, Ellen Lutwak, Taylor Nichols, Alison Regan, Richard Risemberg, Danielle Salomon, Samuel Spencer, and Eric Weinstein.

We also want to thank those who took their time today to persuade City Council to keep this option on the table. In addition to the above, they include Susan Eisenberg, Jay Slater, Bruce Phillips, Susan Gans, Josh Padget, Marisa Schneiderman, Jim Pocras, Zachary Rynew, Kevin Winston, Paul Hekimian, Josh Kurpies, David Eichman, Jeff Jacobberger, Jon Weiss, Mel Raab, Kate Rubin, Jerry Sue Ginger, Nina Salomon, and Jennifer Wright.

We also want to thank institutional supporters Assemblyman Richard Bloom, the City Council from the City of West Hollywood, Mid City West Community Council, Finish the Ride, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and others. And a special thanks to Blue Ribbon Chair Dr. Barry Pressman, who listened to reasoned argument when few did and came to be a key boulevard bike lanes advocate.

Photo: KristaNicole Carlson
Photo: KristaNicole Carlson

5 thoughts on “News Flash! City Council Keeps Bike Lanes on the Table

  • January 7, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Wait – so this will happen? Santa Monica Blvd. will connect through Beverly Hills with bike lanes? When? Is this real? Holy crap!

  • January 7, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Hold on, tiger! We’ve got a bit of road to cover yet. Next the process moves into planning construction mitigation. On the design side, the Council ad hoc (Mayor Bosse, CM Brien) will look at options like bike lanes and a landscaped median. And at some point (maybe in the Spring) it will come back to Council as a recommendation, so we’ll know more then. (And we’ll be sure to join the ad hoc meeting.) Aside from 75 speakers since the process launched with a Blue Ribbon Committee, Council has in hand hundreds of pro-lane comments and numerous institutional letters of support. And nearly 500 signatures on the LACBC Greenway proposal petition. Pair it with the inevitability of complete streets improvements, it feels like the momentum is with the campaign for a safer street. Some perspective: this reconstruction project’s RFP was ginned up back in ’12, so it’s been slow-going.

  • January 7, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Mark. when the third coming of Christ is you get your bike lane.

  • January 7, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Has he come back a 2nd time? ‘Cause we did get a few bike racks recently, so I’m thinking it was a divine occasion.

  • January 8, 2015 at 12:13 am

    I don’t ride my bike on the street except in places like Griffith Park. Drivers have never watched out for bike riders as they should. Not only can one get hit riding along places like what is envisioned in Beverly Hills but also anywhere else. To many drivers opening their doors into traffic without looking. As a youngster many years ago I cannot count how many times I was knocked off my bike after hitting the left front door on a auto. As a supervisor for the RTD/MTA I have no idea, hundreds, of accidents I investigated where drivers opened their doors into the side of buses. Only once in over 25 years the accident involved the front of a bus, the rest were into the side usually behind the rear doors. It’s my opinion that riding ones bike in the street , especially a busy one is not very safe. All the laws to make it safe can be passed but unless there is a physical barrier it’s just not safe. And sometimes bike riders are not that smart. I know of one bike advocate that I encountered on more than one occasion blocking MTA buses so as they could not move. Another occasion a friend was investigating a bus vs bike accident. It seems the bike rider was upset that the bus cut him off. So the bike rider slammed on his brakes in front of the bus resulting in the bus bumper ending on top of the bikes rear wheel. The bike rider became enraged and as the bus operator existed the bus to see if the bike rider was OK and look at the damage the bike rider committed a Assault & Battery on him and was arrested and taken to jail. He should have been arrested just for being dumb. Who did he think was going to win this encounter?

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