About Us

About Better Bike

I am a Beverly Hills resident and longtime cyclist. I created Better Bike in 2010 to spark a conversation about street safety. After a couple of near-misses in one day underscored the peril of riding a bicycle in Beverly Hills, I began to wonder why there was not a single sign, sharrow, or bike lane in the city. There were just a few racks in the central business district.

So I looked to see what our General Plan said about safe cycling. I saw the usual platitudes about encouraging people to embrace healthier and less-polluting alternatives to the automobile. Attached to the Open Space Element was a Bicycle Master Plan, and it described a citywide network of bicycle routes that didn’t exist. The bicycle plan looked different than the rest of the plan though: it was dated ‘1977’ and looked every bit its age – like a bad Xerox.

This was a ‘shelfware’ plan at its worst! Despite a General Plan update the prior year, our new plan simply carried over a 30+ year old document without change because the original was evidently lost to history. Indeed the city upon request couldn’t provide a new printout of that citywide bike route network map.

“This is planning malpractice,” I thought. I’ve been to school for planning and no textbook or instructor would ever dare suggest to carry over a 30+ year old document into a contemporary plan. Because what’s the point? Planning is about the future.

Perusing that old plan was a fitting introduction to transportation planning in Beverly Hills. That is to say there was no planning; the transportation division’s primary duty was to repave the roads. There was no effective oversight of mobility because the Traffic and Parking Commission was more concerned with parking permits than street safety. Pleas to accommodate those who ride a bicycle for many years simply fell on deaf ears – and largely still do.

Persistence has paid off, however. People concerned about cycling safety packed city meetings and ultimately persuaded City Council to include a bicycle lanes on Santa Monica Boulevard. We made some noise about the high-and-rising frequency of crash injuries (and lately fatalities) and officials are now taking a second look at pro-forma police department crash injury numbers. We have pressed the city to embrace complete streets as a value and not just as a box to be checked to qualify for Metro grants.

By the end of 2018 we will know if the city is serious about complete streets and really concerned about street safety. In the meanwhile we’ll keep the focus on City Hall.

Help Us Make Change

Please sign up for the Better Bike email newsletter. Join us at a City Council meeting. Drop me a line with your concerns about safe streets in Beverly Hills. We’re rolling!

Recent Posts

Comment on the Draft Beverly Hills Complete Streets Plan!

After a couple of close calls on a Benedict Canyon ride about ten years ago I started to wonder why Beverly Hills had not striped even a single bike lane. Or acknowledged that bicycle riders share the road. Or gave a single thought to our safety on the streets. I found my answer at City Hall: a 35 year old Bicycle Master Plan that sat moldering on a shelf.

That a 1977 mobility plan was simply carried over decade after decade unchanged was bad enough. But the city had updated every other aspect of our General Plan. Why give bike riders the short shrift? Thus was my introduction to transportation planning in Beverly Hills where officials and staff heard no evil and saw no evil even as the crash injuries ticked upward each year and the police department’s traffic enforcement efforts diminished.

A decade later some things look different. Now Metro is coming. We see new mobility devices sharing our streets. And now we have a city council that values multimodal mobility — and is actually interested in street safety. What a difference a decade makes! On the other hand enforcement still lags and there’s not much to point to show progress in the decade. Except of course those new Santa Monica Boulevard Class II bike lanes.

Today Beverly Hills is at an inflection point. The city has posted a draft COMPLETE STREETS PLAN and we need your support as it gets to city council in January. Even now we hear auto-minded NIMBYs clamoring as they wheel out (sorry!) their usual tired arguments.

How can you help? Attend the  upcoming Traffic & Parking Commission meeting this Tuesday, December 3rd at 6pm at city hall. This is a special meeting to take public comment on the draft Complete Streets Plan and draft implementation Action Plan. Can you attend and beforehand send the city a comment? Use the city’s Complete Streets webform or send your comment by email to transportation@beverlyhills.org.

Got a question about the draft plan? Drop me a line. We want specific or general comments to help push this plan across the finish line in January.

Again, join us for the next Traffic & Parking Commission meeting this Tuesday, December 3rd at 6pm at City Hall. And please send in your comments before.


More About the Complete Streets Plan

Please take a few minutes to download and review the draft Complete Streets Plan and the draft Action (Implementation) Plan which you can find on the city’s Complete Streets portal. In the draft documents you will find:

  • A proposed citywide network of bicycle routes (with key north-south and east-west corridors earmarked for Class II and Class IV bicycle lanes — scroll down for the highlights);
  • Support for bike-friendly business districts and shop-local partnerships;
  • Expanded bike parking facilities and the creation of bike-parking guidelines;
  • Proposed policies like dynamic, variable curb-parking pricing and special assessment districts to fund neighborhood traffic calming measures;
  • Collection and analysis of crash injury data to inform policy-making and prioritize traffic enforcement;
  • Support for PARKing Day and an annual CicLAvia-type open street event in Beverly Hills;
  • Appointment of an advocates advisory board — and so much more!

These proposals represent a landmark shift in how Beverly Hills approaches mobility and street safety. Have a look at this proposed citywide bicycle network and the routes that we’ve proposed for priority implementation: The Charleville-Gregory couplet of one-way Class IV protected bike lanes to connect three schools and two metro stations; and two key north-south Class II lanes on Roxbury and Doheny.

Complete Streets Plan proposed citywide bike network map with recommended year-one routes

This proposed citywide bike route network is the step forward that Beverly Hills needs. Here we have highlighted key north-south & east-west routes that we want to see prioritized for year-one implementation. Click through for the original map included in the draft Complete Streets Plan.

We have worked hard on the advocacy side to get us this draft plan and proposed bike route network. Now we need you! Comment is the key. Even if we can’t attend the Traffic & Parking Commission meeting this Tuesday we can submit a comment. It is crucial as this is our chance to speak directly to policymakers. Use the Complete Streets webform or send your comment by email to transportation@beverlyhills.org.

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