City planning Archive

Can We Count On You? Bike Counters Wanted

Posted September 19, 2013 By Frank Peters

Are you good at golf?
Not your swing necessarily, or putting either, but at scoring?

It turns out all that 1+1+1+1 is a lot like counting bicycles as they traverse the city.

If this includes you, do we have a job for you!

As part of the City of Newport Beach’s Bicycle Master Plan, we’ll be doing bicycle counts to track usage across the City. We need volunteers to assist with the count effort.

Here’s how you qualify:

Can you count? I mean on either 7-9am Thursday October 17 or 10am-1pm Saturday October 19? Maybe both times?

Good! You’re in!

Now we don’t just throw you out there with a clipboard and sunscreen! You’ll get training!

Volunteers must attend training on the counting procedure at 6:30pm Thursday, October 10th in the Community Room at the Newport Beach Civic Center. At the training, volunteers will be assigned count locations throughout the city and given count forms and instructions. Bring your own damn clipboard.

HOW TO SIGN UP: If you’re available, email Brad Sommers by Tuesday October 8. Tell him, “Count me in.” Indicate whether you can count one or both times.

Questions? I probably left out something important, so call Brad at 949-644-3326.

Thanks for helping to improve cycling within Newport Beach.


Agencies On Board

Posted September 11, 2013 By Frank Peters
Supervisor John Moorlach kicked off tonight's meeting

Supervisor John Moorlach kicked off tonight’s meeting

Wow! What an encouraging meeting tonight in Costa Mesa as OCTA showed off their latest revisions for 11 regional corridors that will span Orange County from east to west and north to south.

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach kicked off the event, setting the stage for what would be a night of many impressive presentations. Next up was the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Shawn Nelson. He got right to the point:

Don’t make these meetings a forum for re-litigating old problems. This is us trying to get it right going forward.

Then he goes on to describe how besides just the Supervisors and OCTA, but the AQMD, where he also sits on the board, and many other regional agencies were aligned in their commitment to improve bikeways planning and assist the cities in Districts 1 & 2 to connect the paths and bike lanes that will greatly increase safety and encourage more people to get out and ride. Nelson hit it out of the park!

Download a printable map

Download a printable map

Of course, this effort is still in the early stages; there’s much more to do. Tonight Alta Planning‘s Paul Martin, who is also the lead consultant for the Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan, showed the scores that determined the rankings for the 11 routes. Coastal cyclists will be pleased to hear that PCH ranked #2; although it was a little disconcerting to see only $1.7 million earmarked so far, while other routes justified as much as $30 million. PCH is the longest of the routes at 21 miles.

The meeting adjourned to the easels where each route was displayed in finer detail. Attendees were encouraged to pick up a pen and write on the maps to indicate any missed opportunities.

The Q&A part was almost an afterthought and only half a dozen people raised their hands to speak; perhaps, like me, they were a little blown away by the overwhelming commitment the Supervisors and OCTA leaders displayed.

Bicycle advocates from all over Orange County contributed their opinions

Bicycle advocates from all over Orange County contributed their opinions


Costa Mesa Bicycle Master Plan Workshop

Posted September 11, 2013 By Frank Peters

Download the details

There’s a Workshop in Costa Mesa next Wednesday that will focus on their Bicycle Master Plan Update and Circulation Element.

All Costa Mesa bike advocates are invited.

If you ride through or to Costa Mesa you’re invited.

If you just want to contribute your thoughtful comments, you’re welcome to attend.

6:00-7:30 pm September 18th, 2013

Costa Mesa’s Emergency Operations Center
99 Fair Drive
right next to City Hall


A Plea from PEDal’s Brenda Miller

Posted August 31, 2013 By David Huntsman


Just a few days short of the 1-year anniversary of the gruesomely tragic deaths of two female bicyclists, yet another bicyclist, this time Debra H. Deem, was killed on Newport Beach’s racetrack-inspired roadways. Debra passed away last week from injuries suffered a few days earlier.

Not coincidentally, Newport Beach is creating its first Bicycle Master Plan, a policy document that will set the priorities for how the City allocates public right-of-way among the different modes of travel.

According to California’s Office of Traffic and Safety, Newport Beach consistently ranks as one of the 5 worst cities of its size for bike/pedestrian safety. The only way to change this statistic is to shift the priority from minimizing motorists’ delay to protecting bicyclists’ and pedestrians’ lives. 

Your voice is needed to send a loud message to decision-makers, staff, and consultants that you’re no longer willing to accept the risks resulting from prioritizing motor vehicle speeds over the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

WHAT: the Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee’s monthly meeting 
WHEN: 5PM Tuesday, September  3 
WHERE: Community Room at the Newport Beach Civic Center  
Link to agenda: here
Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Website

View Larger Map

Brenda Miller is a San Clemente-based bike advocate. Visit her blog and Facebook page.


Advocacy Evolves

Posted August 30, 2013 By Frank Peters
Protected Bike Lanes by the Numbers, from Momentum Magazine

Protected Bike Lanes by the Numbers, from Momentum Magazine

Four types of cyclists

Four types of cyclists

As the upcoming Bicycle Master Plan Committee meeting approaches I keep finding more info on Protected Bike Lanes, or Green Lanes.

In the graph on the right notice the biggest piece of the pie, the 60% who would ride if conditions were safe. For bike advocates this is the Invisible Constituency — we can’t see these future wanna-be cyclists because they’re not on the roads yet, but protected bike lanes bring them out.

In “How to Build a Better Bike Lane”, Sarah Goodyear quotes Martha Roskowski,

Green lanes are meant to serve a more cautious group, people who might want to ride to work, to socialize, or to do errands, but who are intimidated by pedaling through hectic urban traffic.

What routes come to mind when you think of hectic urban traffic?

If you ride anywhere in Southern California you may have a long list. For me, the list includes the roads with high speed cars mixing it up with bicycles — routes like Newport Coast Drive, Jamboree, MacArthur and Coast Hwy.

So protected bike lanes are an innovation and although they’re having a big impact in the cities that build them, there are plenty of naysayers — even among the bike community some say they’re more dangerous, but as the numbers show, cyclists are “voting with their feet” and flocking to the safety of a protected bike lane.



The Green Lane Project

Posted August 29, 2013 By Frank Peters

At cdmCyclist I’m always looking for my next interview, so when my recent guest, Ed France of the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition, mentioned Martha Roskowski’s recent visit and the presentation she made, I had to find her.

Martha runs the Green Lane Project which works closely with just a handful of cities at a time to build separated bike paths. Cities who have already worked through the design process and have a supportive political environment qualify for this support. Her goal is to demonstrate how some of the infrastructure that’s so commonly seen in Denmark and the Netherlands can boost the number of people on bikes in this country.

What I didn’t know, but would soon learn, is Martha’s 20 year advocacy efforts, how she’s made big contributions at the local and national levels. I didn’t know of her involvement with the founding of the Alliance for Biking and Walking; I didn’t know of her efforts to create Safe Routes to Schools, but now that I do I want you to know, too.

She’s a big contributor to making cities safer for cyclists.

Listen to her describe the Green Lane Project:


Two Cities, Two Parking Plans

Posted August 28, 2013 By Frank Peters

When you think of Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, they both have a lot in common. They’re both affluent coastal communities that struggle with too many cars and, on some days, not enough parking, but the way they’re addressing the problem differs greatly.

There’s the “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” mantra as espoused by Fred Kent at the Project for Public Spaces, which the CdM BID must adhere to with their new plan for adding parking in the village. They’ll install 100 new VIP parking places for a measly $10-15,000. Granted, that’s bike parking, but it’ll bring 100 more people to CdM and reduce congestion at the same time — make parking for those that choose to drive a bit easier at the same time, too.

Then there’s Laguna Beach’s “Heavier, Slower and Obscenely Expensive” approach as reported in the Laguna Beach Independent, “Village Entrance Moves Ahead, Finally“. Laguna will add 200 parking places at a jaw-dropping cost of $42 million! Before I’m accused of exaggerating, the Laguna project also includes some landscaping, which they’ll need lots of to camouflage a big ugly parking garage at the village entrance. They call it a “park and parking structure” and it does have a nice ring to it, until your brain goes back to reconciling the grotesque costs.

How can anyone make sense of these two radically different approaches?

Is it simply that the BID is spending their own money?

Granted, it’s money contributed from local businesses, but it must feel like their own money. In Laguna it’s a boondoggle of a $29 million revenue bond measure.

In Corona del Mar I could be locking up my bike to a new bike rack in time for some local holiday shopping. I’ll have a little extra jingle in my pockets because I’m not paying for gas and I’m not paying down a $29 million bond either. Local merchants should see a difference…


The Invisible Constituency

Posted August 27, 2013 By Frank Peters

It started with a simple question,

Who is our constituency?

in Momentum

in Momentum

Why did I stumble with my answer? And at one of the worst possible moments — when I’m one-on-one with my local City Councilman meeting over coffee to discuss bike safety.

I mumbled some sort of reply — I know there’s potential to attract more than just the Saturday morning cycling athletes, which is mostly what you see here in Corona del Mar — but I was a little flat-footed with my answer. There’s got to be an untapped market out there; the people who aren’t riding now, but might if conditions were right.

Like when someone mentions, “Who was that actress?” and you know you’ll remember if you just give it some time, so too I kept trying to retrieve a better answer to the constituency question.

That’s how this concept I’m rebranding as the Invisible Constituency has been working its way through the far reaches of my mind. My most recent guest on cdmCyclist, Santa Barbara’s Bike Coalition Executive Director Ed France mentioned the four types of cyclists — it helped to jog my memory. Then the fog lifted late last night as I was reading Alliance for Biking and Walking President Jeff Miller’s article “Push for More”, in the latest edition of Momentum magazine.

Four types of cyclists

Four types of cyclists

Now I was just a single Google search from a Portland DOT study which categorized four type of transportation cyclists:

  • The “Strong and Fearless” who will ride in any conditions; think NYC bike messengers of 2 decades ago. Today they’re known as Vehicular cyclists and add up to less than 1%. This is who your City Councilmembers see and likely think of as the bicycling constituency.
  • “Enthused and Confident” riders, like me, who take what we can get in terms of infrastructure, but prefer quiet routes like the Back Bay loop. In Portland, this is a whopping 7%, locally it wouldn’t add up to half this number.
  • The “No Way, No How” crowd who isn’t getting on a bike either from fear, a bad attitude or a physical limitation, 33%.
  • That leaves a whopping 60% who would ride if conditions were safe. This “Interested but Concerned” crowd is the Invisible Constituency — the answer I wish I had on the tip of my tongue that day last year.

Last week Laguna Beach approved a Complete Streets initiative; earlier this year Newport Beach retained Alta Planning to design a Bicycle Master Plan and over a year ago Huntington Beach hired San Diego’s KTU+A to craft their Master Plan. We beach cities are all just taking the first of many steps towards improving bicycle safety.

For cities have been at this for a decade or more, what are they doing to lure this group onto bikes? They’re building protected bike paths to keep cars and cyclists separated on the roadways. It’s something we should consider as we work to find safer options on routes like Coast Hwy which all 3 cities share.

Building the right infrastructure to lure this Invisible Constituency out onto the roadways will cause a snowball effect. As they venture out they’ll like whatever separated treatments we can start with then they’ll want more and our elected officials will see moms and dads and kids on bikes and their concept of constituency will expand beyond the minuscule mode share we enjoy today.


City Bike Survey

Posted August 26, 2013 By Frank Peters


The City’s getting revved up as the Bicycle Master Plan process begins. Your input will help steer the process in the right direction.

This past Saturday the City hosted a pop-up at the Newport Pier; cyclists that stopped by were encouraged to take a survey.

Download the fact sheet

Download the fact sheet

I came by to help. Getting people to stop long enough to talk was one problem I noticed. When I finally cornered one fellow I begged him, “Take the survey, please; you’ll be my first!” He did.

Next I met a tourist lady from Germany. “Wow! You have very bike friendly cities in Germany,” I knew this much, “like Berlin.”

She wasn’t sure she’d have anything to contribute survey-wise, but she did offer this observation:

You have too many cars.

And no, I didn’t have a clever retort. As we finished up our chat, I remember how she phrased her goodbye, “Have luck.”

I’m guessing you might have more to say.

Don’t make me beg — download the fact sheet and take the bike survey, please.

And remember, the next Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee meeting is 5pm Tuesday September 3rd, the day after Labor Day, at the Civic Center.

Come and share your bicycle safety insights.


Friday Night Out

Posted August 9, 2013 By Frank Peters

On the ferry

On the ferry

What a week — time for dinner out tonight. By bike, of course.

I’ve been sending the fleet in for tune-ups, one bike at a time. Earlier today my wife’s bike was completed, so it was time for a test ride.

Our destination would be Mint Thai at Main and Balboa on the peninsula, via the Balboa Island ferry — that’s hard to beat for a change of pace.

We had to wait for a table, the joint was jumping. As we’re sitting on a sidewalk bench it’s hard to ignore — the sidewalk, the nearby intersection, are swarming with pedestrians and cyclists.

The sidewalk is crowded, our bikes are parked making it worse, then other bikes arrive — pedestrians can barely walk by. It’s only after dinner that I see the problem — the sidewalk width is compromised to accommodate parked cars. It’s another example of automobiles compromising the pedestrian space.

The sidewalk is narrowed to accommodate parked cars

The sidewalk is narrowed to accommodate parked cars