Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Santa Monica Budget Process For 2011-2012 Is Starting, Pico Neighborhood Meeting Tonight, More To Follow

(cross posted on Bay City Urbanist)

The Santa Monica budget for the next fiscal year is in it's preliminary stages, and local bicycling activists are working to ensure we get bicycling dedicated funding in the next budget. The more people we can get voicing support for this the better. City Manager Rod Gould has been hosting neighborhood meetings  to get residents initial thoughts on their spending priorities, and to present the issues with the city's budget management in light of the financial downturn and reduced state funding.

Two of these neighborhood meetings have already been hosted, and 3 more remain. The one for the Pico Neighborhood, which is where I live, is tonight, and I'll be attending. I encourage Santa Monica residents who come out for some of these and speak up. Particularly for bicyclists, having our bike plan go through an update (public input for a new bike plan will begin soon) doesn't do us much good if we still get the crumbs of table scraps in spending priority as we have had in the past.

Particularly regarding the Pico Neighborhood, Pico is often short changed, and when it comes to bike improvements and basic accommodation, is the least served neighborhood from my observation, even though there are probably more people living car free or car light around Pico. Particularly because of the community college and many students who rent apartments together in the area, including the building I live in.

None of the businesses along Pico accommodate cycling ( the very few exceptions all provide terribly designed, poorly placed or entirely non-functional bike racks), and the city makes no effort to provide for the need using public resources. I like to sum up the state of bicycling in the Pico Neighborhood with the following photograph of two bikes haphazardly locked to a shopping cart at the 99 cent store, for lack of anything much better to attach to.

The schedule and information for tonight's meeting and the following two neighborhood budget meetings are below. The web page with further information on budgeting is here, and there is also a form for making online submission of comments. This is a critical time to start getting involved, we don't get bike improvements unless we get dollars to pay for them, and in the big picture, the amount of money cyclists are asking for is peanut shells compared to what we shovel into subsidizing driving every year.

November 17, 7 p.m.
Cosponsored by Pico Neighborhood Association
Virginia Avenue Park Thelma Terry Community Room, 2200 Virginia Avenue

November 30, 7 p.m.
Cosponsored by Friends of Sunset Park
Grant Elementary School Auditorium, 2368 Pearl Street

December 2, 7 p.m.
Cosponsored by North of Montana Association
Montana Branch Library, 1704 Montana Avenue

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