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Enthusiastic Reception for Draft Bicycle Action Plan  

By Jason Islas
Lookout Staff

August 10, 2011 – Santa Monicans greeted their draft Bicycle Action Plan with qualified enthusiasm at its unveiling Monday night.

“It's not perfect but it's got a lot of great ideas in it,” Deputy Director of Special Project Lucy Dyke told the standing-room only crowd in downtown's Colorado Community Room.

A lot of those ideas, she went on to say, came from the very people in the audience and in the community.

Residents discuss the proposed 20-year outlook for Santa Monica's bike infrastructure. Photos by Jason Islas

The almost 300-hundred page document is chock full of ideas, from how to improve bike paths and bike parking facilities to educational programs.

“They wrote the book on bike plans,” said local bicyclist Eric Weinstein. “This one is really good.”

City Councilmember Kevin McKeown was also impressed.

“I hope to see some of these changes happening as soon as this fall,” he said.

With the first five years of the plan pretty much fully funded, once the council approves it, implementation can get underway.

Some people in the audience were concerned, however, by the fact that streets like Pico Avenue and Wilshire and Lincoln boulevards will remain relatively unaffected by the proposed plan.

“It seems like the plan doesn't want bikes on major routes,” someone from the audience commented.

Dyke responded that there is a real need to keep those streets available for buses and cars.

Lucy Dyke explains the new bike routes of the future.

The plan is “a living document” and it will change as the needs of the city change, said Senior Transportation Manager Michelle Glickert. If the five-year plan leads to dramatic increase in bikers in Santa Monica, it can evolve to meet the needs of the community.

“If we think that this plan doesn't go far enough and they [the city] thinks it goes too far, then we are right where we're supposed to be,” said a young woman in the audience.

A spokesperson for local bike activist group Santa Monica Spoke, which hosted the event, announced that the organization has set up a special e-mail address for comments and suggestions for the bike plan: bikeplan@smspoke.org.

According to the plan's executive summary, “this Bike Action Plan presents a bold 20-year vision in which Santa Monicans of all ages and abilities choose to use a bike to move around the City.”

The plan outlines goals and policy vision which address in broad strokes what the city hopes to accomplish and how the plan relates to the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE).

It also provides a comprehensive look at what biking in Santa Monica is like today, including statistics on current biking trends.

The plan, of course, is also interested in the future.

Within the booklet, there is a map, showing the proposed five-year plan and another map that outlines what Santa Monica's bike infrastructure will look like in 20 years, as well as how to get there, including costs.

Also in the plan is a toolkit which shows all the different options for improving bike infrastructure, such as bike boxes, which are meant to help bicyclists make left turns more easily.

The draft plan will now be up for review, starting with the Planning Commission this Wednesday. It will then go before the City Council on August 23rd.

Afterward, it will return to the commission for a second look before it goes up for final approval by the council, which Dyke imagines will happen some time in the middle of fall.

 


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