Complete Streets Draft Plan is Out!

City of Beverly Hills has finally released a draft Complete Streets plan! Transportation consultant Iteris and bike-planners at Alta have posted a two-parter for our review: a 43-page executive summary and a 200-page technical report. Now is time to get busy! Sharpen that pencil and get ready to provide your hard-won local knowledge so that the final complete streets plan is as good as it can be.

The Beverly Hills Complete Streets Plan draft report comes eight months after last August’s “draft plan progress” public workshop. That workshop used a powerpoint presentation and some poster-board maps to suggest the direction the plan was taking.

If that workshop was intended to gauge the public’s interest in new solutions to old mobility problems, the lack of enthusiasm from the smallish crowd suggested only ambivalence.  Was it the reheated presentation? Or were the “enhanced network” maps too much to take in? The workshop was a disappointing coda to that summer’s public outreach phase.

What then followed was quiet. Months and months of quiet. Consultant teams were reportedly reorganized. A new councilmember rotated in as mayor. And now the draft plan comes a bit too late to tee-up first-year projects in time for the budget process.

Next Up: Plan Feedback Workshop

Next we look ahead to the May 8th draft plan feedback workshop where Traffic and Parking commissioners will receive public feedback on the plan, the technical report, and most important the “enhanced” travel networks posted on the project page:

We will have plenty more to say about the plan and these proposed networks soon. But don’t wait on us. Give these documents your attention. And be prepared to add your voice. Heck you can put your feedback right there on the plan!

Indeed the most intriguing aspect of the presentation so far may be the interactive comment feature. Both the executive summary and the technical report accept comments. (Downloadable PDFs of the plan and report are available there too.)

Mark your calendar for the Draft Plan Feedback Workshop on May 8, 2019 at 6 p.m. in City Hall (Room 280-A). If you can’t make it do add your comments online through Friday May 17, 2019. We need all the support from the pro-bike community we can get!

Recreation and Parks Commission: Bicycles Ain’t Our Thing

Recreation and Parks commission this January formally decided to abandon the bicycle safety and training program the city undertook in 2015. Every month at a city school a trainer was on hand to educate children about bicycle safety and to provide hands-on ride-safe instruction. But the sessions were under-attended so it came as no surprise when the program was put on hold in 2017. More recently the commission showed little interest in revisiting the program. That was just the latest sign of the commissioner’s lack of enthusiasm for pro-bike park policies. Continue reading

Beverly Hills Puts the Brake on Shared-Mobility Devices

Beverly Hills City Council adopted a total ban on shared-mobility devices effective immediately. The sweeping action came at a special meeting called 24 hours prior. The ad-hoc regulation targeted device companies like Bird and Lime but would ban all ‘dockless’ devices (including motorized bicycles). The action prohibits any device from being placed in any public right-of-way or on public property, operated in any public-right-of-way or on public property, or offered for use anywhere in the City. Penalties include impound and fines. Read the press release. Continue reading

Collision Injuries in Beverly Hills Sill Reach for Record Highs in 2017

Nearly 5,000 road users have been injured on Beverly Hills streets in the eleven years that our police has been disclosing monthly traffic data. That’s about ten crash injuries every week – enough for the state’s Office of Traffic Safety to rank our city among the most dangerous small California cities for those who walk, bike and drive. And it is especially dangerous for seniors. This dubious distinction reflects the both city’s lack of multimodal planning and the declining enforcement of traffic laws. Continue reading

Mark Your Calendar: Complete Streets Workshop #1

Better Bike invites you to attend the Beverly Hills complete streets visioning workshop tonight, Monday, March 12th at 6:30pm. This event kicks-off a planning process for which our alternative mobility community has long waited: the preparation of an actual complete streets plan 40 years after the city adopted our first, and only, Bicycle Master Plan. Continue reading

Beverly Hills City Council UNANIMOUSLY OKs SM Blvd Bike Lanes

In an incredible turnabout tonight, all five Beverly Hills councilmembers agreed to include bicycle lanes on our segment of Santa Monica Boulevard. The unanimous vote demolished the specious claims put forth by NIMBY opponents. And it recognized the solid arguments brought forth by forty speakers and scores more comments from proponents of safe multimodal mobility. In sum, bicycle lanes not only make riders feel safe, they actually make us more safe. Continue reading

Santa Monica Boulevard Bicycle Lanes Come Back to Council

Back in 2014 Beverly Hills City Council disappointed riders, active transportation boosters and safe-street advocates when it could not summon just three votes to incorporate bicycle lanes on tomorrow’s Santa Monica Boulevard. Despite hundreds of written comments and scores of speakers, all calling for lanes to increase rider safety on the city’s busiest transit corridor, councilmembers John Mirisch and Lili Bosse then could only hope in vain for a third vote to stripe a bicycle lane. Lanes seemed to be off the table for Santa Monica Boulevard. But hold on! Continue reading

Is a Mandatory Bike Helmet Law the Answer?

State Senator Carol LiuState Senator Carol Liu recently introduced a bill that would require every bike rider regardless of age to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Though a well-intentioned safety measure, SB 192 and its helmet mandate has spurred a backlash among some riders and several established statewide bike advocacy organizations. Why the opposition? Why not mandate helmets for adults? Continue reading

Beverly Hills OKs Bike-share Feasibility Study

Beverly Hills City Council recently gave its preliminary OK to city bike-share and authorized a feasibility study to explore the merit of a 50-bike system. We’re following Santa Monica’s lead here: it has tapped vendor CycleHop to implement a ‘smart bike’ system (as we previously reported). Should we piggyback on that contract, would this be a significant step forward for mobility in Beverly Hills? Or would it be only a tourist amenity for the ‘golden’ triangle?

TPC Commissioner Alan Gruschow Passes

We are very sorry to hear about yesterday’s untimely passing of Beverly Hills Traffic and Parking Commission member Alan Grushcow. In our experience working with transportation officials at City Hall, Commissioner Gruschcow distinguished himself as a near lone voice for bike safety in the city. And he was always a voice of reason on the commission dais.

Bike Share for Beverly Hills?

Santa Monice bike-share system promo

In study session this week, City Council deferred to February a discussion about our city’s possible participation in a regional Westside bikeshare program. (Ours would piggyback on the coming Santa Monica system.) It’s very early for a substantive discussion about our participation, but that the question even comes up might herald a new approach to multimodal mobility for Beverly Hills. With new(ish) bike lanes on Burton and Crescent and Mayor Bosse strongly behind a bike-friendly city, are we turning the page on our auto-centric past?

Santa Monica Boulevard Meetup This Monday

City of Beverly Hills will reconstruct Santa Monica Boulevard in the coming years. Do you believe the boulevard should be made safe for travel by bicycle? Do you agree that this regional backbone route should reflect ‘complete streets’ principles when rebuilt? Join Better Bike, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and local riders in organizing around a proposal to put bike lanes on Santa Monica. Mark your calendar: Monday, December 22nd from 7-9pm at the Beverly Hills Public Library south meeting room. Read on for more details!

Reminder: Police Reports Often Slight the Rider

Aside

In a reminder of our own experience that police crash reports can be biased against a rider (even if following the law), Chicago Bicycle Advocate tells how CCTV video provides a necessary correction to the drivers story as parroted in the official report: “A man on a bicycle struck her vehicle and hit her windshield.” Lesson: Never trust a PD report to reflect your own account of a crash; always verify it.