With a turnout that exceeded the capacity of the conference room, the third meeting of the Bicycle Ad Hoc Committee headed by Traffic and Parking Commission Chair Jeff Levine convened Wednesday with a potential pilot bicycle lane project topping the agenda.
The detailed feasibility study by transportation consultant Fehr & Peers evaluated Crescent and Beverly drives as possible north/south routes. Carmelita Avenue and Charleville Boulevard were studied as potential east/west routes.
Going street by street and block by block, the study identified possible improvements that would accommodate cyclists, including designated bike lanes on streets with signage and sharrow stripping. The study takes into consideration traffic, on-street parking and travel speeds—among other factors. The study also introduced intersection treatments such as mini-traffic circles that calm traffic, which are considered by the ad hoc committee to be the best devices for bicycle routes that go through many stop signs.
Levine, along with Deputy Director of Transportation Aaron Kunz and Fehr & Peers Senior Associate Sarah Brandenburg, said that these are short-term plans that would not impact current parking or vehicle travel lanes.
City representatives said that discussions about bike lanes on Santa Monica Boulevard will be incorporated into long-term planning and implemented into the upcoming improvements of the street.
Community outreach will be conducted to determine the residential and business needs and concerns regarding biking in Beverly Hills, including public education, regional connectivity and connections to the schools. The proposals for improved biking in Beverly Hills will ultimately go before the City Council. The city approach is to ease into the plans because Beverly Hills is essentially starting “from zero facilities,” Levine said.
Civic leaders at the meeting included Human Relations Commissioner Tom Pease and Planning Commissioner Brian Rosenstein.
“This was an incredibly enlightening meeting and I learned a lot,” Rosenstein said. “The input from the community members and bicycle enthusiasts is so valuable to this process.”
Many came to the meeting to address safety issues. David Murphy, who considers himself a cautious rider, has been hit by two cars this year in Beverly Hills, destroying two bikes. He is the founder of the organization Angelenos Against Gridlock. El Rodeo parent and recent school board candidate Frances Bilak said that her son was struck by a car while riding to school this week. She questioned how the schools were involved in this process. Paul Livingston was a victim of a hit-and-run accident in Beverly Hills.
The Fehr & Peers feasibility report will be posted on the ad hoc committee’s newly created website. Agendas will be posted for upcoming meetings as well.
Also coming to the new ad hoc site is a map pinpointing the locations of the 22 bicycle racks in the Business Triangle, plus the new bike corral by the public library. Mark Elliot, founder of BetterBike.org, questioned the progress of a “request-a-rack” program where business owners could ask for racks to be installed by their shops.
“Even when we ride through the city, we need a place to lock our bikes besides lampposts,” Elliot said.
First-time ad hoc attendee and resident Sharon Ignarro is a doctor at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center. She bikes to work on occasion, but is concerned about safe crossing, especially at the intersection of Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards.
“The more of us who are out there, the more awareness there will be,” Ignarro said.
Attorney Terry Leuin, a resident since 1976, cycles to his downtown Los Angeles office at least once a week.
“Progress is slow. We’ve got to start somewhere,” he said. “The city [of Beverly Hills] has got to do it.”
Kunz said that Beverly Hills continues to participate in the Westside Cities Council of Governments meetings, which address regional biking issues such as bike-sharing programs and connectivity.