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

Complete Streets Plan Draft is Posted: We Need Your Input

City of Beverly Hills has released the draft Complete Streets Plan for public review and feedback. We need your help to make this the best plan on the Westside. But we have a long way to go.

The draft plan is 240+ pages of community context and best practices that begins to point the way toward safer streets, but the draft is relatively light when it comes to substance. Look past the pictures, tables, colorful charts and icons to see that the infrastructure, policy and program options comprise only 30 pages. Just three additional pages suggest the proposed implementation.

Despite its heft, this draft is light on vision: it doesn’t even begin to suggest what the bikeways network should look like. Beverly Hills is already a decade or more behind our municipal neighbors when it comes to striped lanes and measures to calm motor traffic. What I see in this draft plan are half-steps and some equivocation over the safest and most efficient crosstown routes. Where is the ambition?

We who ride Beverly Hills streets have a job to do: We must make sure that the final complete streets plan reflects our hard-won seat-of-the-pants wisdom about how to navigate this city safely.

So mark your calendars for THIS WEDNESDAY May 8th at 6pm at Beverly Hills City Hall to hear a presentation from city consultant Iteris. We had great support for Santa Monica Boulevard lanes but we need to get this band back together!

Come to share your perspective on the draft plan. You have your ideas about mobility and we need them in the final complete streets plan.

Please download the draft plan and give a close read to these sections of the technical report:

  • Chapter 7: Recommended infrastructure (p. 85)
  • Chapter 8: Recommended policies (p. 101)
  • Chapter 9: Recommended programs (p. 109)
  • Chapter 10: Implementation plan (p. 115)

Have a few minutes to add a few comments to the online version of the draft plan? Find it here: http://completestreets.beverlyhills.org/draft-plan-technical-report/

There is much work to be done in order to make the final complete streets plan the roadmap to safer streets that we need. Otherwise we will be stuck with only more well-illustrated shelfware. And the shelf is too crowded already!

Got any questions? Give me a shout!

  1. Complete Streets Draft Plan is Out! Comments Off on Complete Streets Draft Plan is Out!
  2. Recreation and Parks Commission: Bicycles Ain’t Our Thing Comments Off on Recreation and Parks Commission: Bicycles Ain’t Our Thing
  3. Halfway to one Complete Street (if not a ‘Complete Streets’ Plan) Comments Off on Halfway to one Complete Street (if not a ‘Complete Streets’ Plan)
  4. Beverly Hills Puts the Brake on Shared-Mobility Devices Comments Off on Beverly Hills Puts the Brake on Shared-Mobility Devices
  5. Concerns About our Complete Streets Process Comments Off on Concerns About our Complete Streets Process
  6. Complete Streets Walk Audit Recap Comments Off on Complete Streets Walk Audit Recap
  7. Bike Skills via WeHo Bicycle Coalition & Mid City West CC Comments Off on Bike Skills via WeHo Bicycle Coalition & Mid City West CC
  8. Complete Streets Workshop #2 Recap Comments Off on Complete Streets Workshop #2 Recap
  9. Beverly Hills Complete Streets Needs You Comments Off on Beverly Hills Complete Streets Needs You
  10. Lend Your Voice to the Beverly Hills Complete Streets Plan Comments Off on Lend Your Voice to the Beverly Hills Complete Streets Plan
  11. Collision Injuries in Beverly Hills Sill Reach for Record Highs in 2017 1 Reply
  12. Complete Streets workshop #1 Recap Comments Off on Complete Streets workshop #1 Recap
  13. Mark Your Calendar: Complete Streets Workshop #1 Comments Off on Mark Your Calendar: Complete Streets Workshop #1
  14. Traffic Citations Reach Record Lows in Beverly Hills in 2016 Comments Off on Traffic Citations Reach Record Lows in Beverly Hills in 2016