Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Dream Of A Michigan Ave. Bike Boulevard Could Move A Step Closer To Reality

Bike Lane Begin On 17th And Michigan Ave


At this upcoming Tuesday's Santa Monica City Council meeting, the council will vote on a staff recommendation to seek grant funding for what is being called the Michigan Ave. Bike Boulevard. This is the kind of game changing transformation so desperately needed to improve conditions for existing cyclists, and perhaps more importantly, make bicycling accessible to so many people afraid to do so now. We often show up to meetings to complain about things, but this something we can enthusiastically support.

For those unfamiliar with bike boulevards, they are streets, usually low traffic volume neighborhood streets which use a variety of traffic calming measures to bring car traffic down to reasonable speeds, to encourage bicycling and discourage cut through car traffic. They often use roundabouts and other intersection treatments more friendly to the flow of cycling, while keeping speeds low at those intersections, as well as reducing the worst kinds of crash risk. [Portland BTA overview of bike boulevard]

Santa Monica appears to be following in the footsteps of Long Beach in designing a route around a major school connection, making the project potentially eligible for safe routes to school funding in addition to other grant source funding being sought. However if what is on the proposed map is fully realized, this project is much more than a way for kids to get to school safely. It would connect to the Bergamot Station Metro stop and the Expo Line Bike Path to the east, and in to the West, in tandem with other project proposals, it would create new connection to the beach bike path and the pier.

As a resident of the Pico Neighborhood who has lived at 2 different apartments right off of Michigan Ave., I cannot say enough how enthusiastically I hope this project happens. Let's make it happen.

If you can come out to say a few words of support, it would be good to hear other voices than the usual suspects. The last time Santa Monica tried to get a bicycle boulevard route, homeowners, against their own interest and property values, shot it down with a vengeance. That was a different time, but we may still encounter some resistance, so it's important to show community support for this when ever and where ever we can. You never know when some nimbys will come out of the wood work to argue their 30 second shortcut to avoid Pico Blvd on the way to the freeway will be slowed by 5 seconds by a Michigan roundabout and that concern somehow trumps the safety of kids trying to ride a bike to school.

It will be item 3-F on the council agenda, with the public session beginning at 6:30pm on Tuesday the 22nd. The full staff report can be seen here, and the pdf of the proposal map can be found here.

2 comments:

sewa mobil said...

Nice article, thanks for the information.

Kelly said...

Gary,
I am a graduate student at Arizona State University and am writing a paper on the Bicycle Action Plan in Santa Monica. Would you be willing to answer some questions for me about the biking community? Or recommend someone who would? You can contact me at kelly.guffey@gmail.com

Thanks! Kelly