Get to Know City Hall

Get to Know City Hall

City of Beverly Hills is a small city relatively accessible to stakeholders. But concerning issues like transportation policy, the obstacles to making our city bike-friendly are maddening. Political capture is the culprit: for too long a small circle of influential citizens and business exercised outsized influence over city policy. That is changing, however, as councilmembers like John Mirisch and Lili Bosse make priorities of good government and transparency. Read on for more about how City Hall works, or simply consult our handy cheat sheet of city officials to know where to direct your inquiry.

Navigating City Hall

The first step is to figure out which department handles the issue that is of concern. Refer to the organization chart to see how the city says it is organized.

In Beverly Hills the City Manager has responsibility for the day-to-day running of the city. The City Council makes the policy (our five members represent every district in the city in an at-large system) and hires the manager. And our departments implement the policies and programs.

Commissions are merely advisory to City Council (with the exception of the Planning Commission which is a policy-making body).
A rough metaphor is that the Council runs the railroad; the City Manager makes the trains run on time; and the commissions & committees do the engineering.

Where mobility issues are concerned, Traffic & Parking Commission is the place to begin. It advises City Council on traffic and parking issues. Have a specific complaint? Introduce yourself to the Commissioners during public comment; describe your issue; then follow up with staff. Follow-up is key. Without persistence nothing will happen. Traffic & Parking meets once per month on the first Thursday at 9 a.m. Public comment comes near the beginning.

City Council meets twice monthly in both in afternoon study session and evening formal meetings (the latter is where important decisions are taken). The city publishes but does not promote a Policy and Operations Manual that clarifies how the process works.

Your Cheat Sheet for Contacting City Officials

  • City Council is the key policy-making body for Beverly Hills. Five Council members represent every district in the city (an at-large system) so you need to talk to more than just one. Reach the City Council at (310) 285-1013 or email Council at mayorandcitycouncil@beverlyhills.org. The Mayor is a ceremonial office with a 1-year term and is elevated by fellow councilmembers each March. The Mayor largely sets the Council agenda.
  • City Manager is Mahdi Aluzri. The manager is hired by the City Council to run the city. Reach him at (310) 285-1014 or by email at maluzri@beverlyhills.org.
  • Traffic & Parking Commission is advisory to City Council on matters related to traffic, parking, and mobility. Reach Traffic & Parking Commission staffers at (310) 285-1128 or by email at transportation@beverlyhills.org.
  • Transportation Division (now a part of Community Development) provides staff support to the Traffic & Parking Commission and implements programs and policies at the direction of City Council. Reach Transportation at (310) 285-1128 or by email at transportation@beverlyhills.org. For better results, contact deputy Aaron Kunz directly at (310) 285-2563 or by email at akunz@beverlyhills.org.
  • Community Services oversees parks, landmarks and recreation programming. Reach the division desk at (310) 288-2220 or drop director Nancy Hunt-Coffee an email at nhuntcoffey@beverlyhills.org.
  • Recreation & Parks Commission is advisory to City Council on matters of mobility. Policies come here first before reaching Council. Contact the Rec & Parks Commission staff at (310) 285-2537.
  • Planning Division of Community Development implements land use policies, reviews applications, and supports City Council with information regarding development issues. Reach Planning at (310) 285-1141.
  • Planning Commission is the policy-setting body for land use. Reach a commission staffer at (310) 285-1124.

We always encourage cyclists to drop in on City Council and commission meetings in order to learn first-hand how your city government works (or doesn’t). Join us in reminding officials that safety matters. When you call City Hall, let us know what you find out.

Our Plans: The Policy Context for Making Pro-Bike Change

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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