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!

Halfway to one Complete Street (if not a ‘Complete Streets’ Plan)

Santa Monica Boulevard easbound bicycle lanesAs we approach the upcoming complete streets workshop this Wednesday, a full ten weeks will have passed without a single word about the process from consultants Iteris or Alta Planning. Gotta wonder if our complete streets consultants aren’t off chasing other business. In the meantime, progress continues on Santa Monica Boulevard: eastbound bicycle lanes are striped bright green. Folks we are halfway to a complete street! Continue reading

Concerns About our Complete Streets Process

Here I present my letter to our Traffic and Parking Commission about the state of our complete streets planning process as I see it. There will have gone ten weeks between the last event (the walk audit) and the upcoming workshop on August 22nd without any substantive communication with the public. Has public input to date effectively informed the process? Has the participation component been just a check-the-box exercise that hews to the city’s request-for-proposal? The RFP wasn’t a particularly imaginative document and it seems like we have a singularly unimaginative complete streets process on our hands. Continue reading

Complete Streets Walk Audit Recap

Complete Streets Walk audit overview of the roomBeverly Hills conducted a Complete Streets ‘walk audit’ on June 9th. It followed on the first Community Workshop (read the recap), the Workshop #2 (recap) and an Earth Day Complete Streets pop-up (pic). After those earlier conceptual discussions and associated mapping exercises, this event was a hands-on opportunity for participants to evaluate our environment for accessibility and safety.  And of course to make recommendations. “Everything is on the table” in terms of improvements, said Aaron Kunz, Community Development Department Deputy Director for Transportation. Continue reading

Complete Streets Workshop #2 Recap

City of Beverly Hills has hosted the second in a series of complete streets outreach events. At workshop #1 general concepts were presented and key concerns identified. This workshop was rubber-meets-road as participants hovered over city maps to drill down on opportunities for pedestrian and bicycle networks and ‘vehicle technology streets.’ Good ideas came from five roundtables. Read on! Continue reading

Lend Your Voice to the Beverly Hills Complete Streets Plan

Several years ago Metro added a condition to the transportation grants the deep-pocketed agency makes to localities: money is contingent on a Metro-approved complete streets mobility plan in place at the local level. Our 1977 Bicycle Master Plan won’t cut it, so City of Beverly Hills city stepped away from a decade of talk about a plan update and instead chose to focus on a brand-new complete streets plan. That planning process is under way now. Mobility advocates please lend your voice! Continue reading

Complete Streets workshop #1 Recap

Complete streets workshop #1 flyerThe first Beverly Hills complete streets process community workshop was held on Monday, March 12th, to kick off the drafting of the city’s complete streets plan. This is the first step in the creation of a complete streets plan. More workshops and city meetings will follow, but this event suggested that Beverly Hills is ready for complete streets. Here’s my recap. 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 Signed on to the USDOT Mayors’ Challenge. Now What?

Earlier this year, then-Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation challenged American localities to make travel safer for bicycle riders and pedestrians. In March he invited US mayors to sign on, and Beverly Hills accepted the challenge back in February. But we’ve heard nothing from City Hall about it since then. Is our city doing anything to meet the Mayors’ Challenge for bike-friendly streets?

Time for Beverly Hills to Adopt a Complete Streets Policy!

Chattanooga, Tennessee beat Beverly Hills in the broadband arena a few years ago with citywide 1gigabit-per-second Internet. Back then nobody paid much attention: Chattanooga is hardly on the minds of many Angelenos. But our own city dithered on broadband, which left Time Warner with a broadband monopoly. Now Chattanooga leaps ahead with a real complete streets policy to make travel safer for all road users. Yet our our “world class” city can’t seem to entertain a discussion about street safety or plan effectively for multimodal mobility. What gives?

New York City’s Transformation

NYC bike rack

Over the past decade New York City has been transformed from a hardscrabble city where motorists practically had the run of city streets (perhaps our greatest public space!) to a hardscrabble city where those of us who walk and bike have at least a fighting chance to survive. And while the playing field is not exactly level, the transformation of high-profile thoroughfares suggests the problem is recognized. With appropriate policies, better enforcement and continued infrastructure improvements, we’ll at least put non-motorists back on the scoreboard after a century+ shutout by motor traffic interests and an ongoing assist from unaccountable policymakers.

Will Complete Streets Become the Law of the Land?

Complete Streets principles state that our roads must be safely accessible to all users regardless of mode choice. That represents clear break from the the Mesozoic era of automobility when the blacktop was the exclusive province of motorists. Yet it has yet to catch on with state transportation agencies and local departments of transportation. To the rescue comes the Safe Streets Act of 2013. Co-authored by California’s Representative Doris Matsui (Sacramento), the legislation would to force states and localities to recognize their responsibility to finally make our streets more safe.

PTA Hosts BH Community Forum on Bike-Friendly Streets

Horace Mann on Wednesday evening hosted a PTA-organized forum intended to jump start a community conversation about making city streets near our schools safer and more bike-friendly for children and parents. The forum was organized by current Horace Mann PTA president Jeffrey Grijalva and past President Howard Goldstein and moderated by Horace Mann parent Jeffrey Courion, who is an advocate for building community the old-fashioned way: by walking our streets and running errands by bicycle.