City planning Archive

The Draft Plan, Part I

Posted March 3, 2014 By Frank Peters

I’m a member of the Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee and to avoid any possible conflict with the open government dictates of the Brown Act the City Attorney has asked that all committee members submit their comments and suggestions relating to the Draft Master Plan separately. I’m happy to comply and my 19 comments spanning 3 pages were included in the agenda of tonight’s meeting.

I couldn’t attend tonight’s meeting as I’m in Washington, D.C. as a sponsor of the Women’s Bicycle Conference preceding the National Bike Summit.

This much snow closed the Federal government today.

As all 19 of my comments would make for too long a post I have broken my remarks up into 3 parts. Rereading them tonight in my hotel room I see a typo and more than one opportunity to add clarity to my comments, otherwise they are the same comments you would’ve heard at tonight’s meeting.

1. First, I strongly support the extension of the beach boardwalk, in both directions to the Wedge and to the Santa Ana River Trail. This would be the best use of funds as it would be very popular with bike riders. Newport Elementary arguably, has the highest number of kids biking to school — that number would only go up which has the benefit of fewer car trips on the busy peninsula. My boys always wanted to go to the Wedge — it’s a teen hangout. To get them there safely is every parent’s wish. Please place all my ‘chips’ on this issue.

2. In CdM, heading eastbound on Coast Hwy: the Sharrows end, but the dangerous conditions continue past Poppy and Hazel. Motorists know all too well how the speed limit increases to 45mph, so they are hitting the gas while cyclists must negotiate the threat of car doors due to the parked cars. Please remove the approximately 8 parking places past Poppy or continue the Sharrows.

3. Related to #2, I recommend a separated bike path from Seaward eastbound all the way to Crystal Cove State Park. This could bring a wonderful bicycling asset into reach of many CdM casual riders. There’s roadway space for such a treatment and where else should the City experiment with a separated, protected bike lane?

4. Palm Street at the Balboa Island ferry — there are 5 parking places on the street between E. Balboa Blvd. and the West Oceanfront boardwalk — remove them and create a safe path for cyclists coming off the ferry onto the boardwalk. (This should’ve been considered at an earlier point in time, when the City purchased the old grocery store land across the street and built 32 parking places. Every time new parking is added someone should look around to find other spaces worth removing so as to improve safety for peds and cyclists. Because we didn’t have the foresight to do this we may end up petitioning Coastal to remove these 5 parking spaces.)

Next up, The Draft Plan, Part II.


Santa Ana Bike Safety Forum

Posted February 23, 2014 By Frank Peters

On the way home

On the way home

Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez sent me an invite – there would be a meeting to discuss bike safety. It was a meeting I wanted to attend.

For starters, it would be a great ride. San Clemente bicycle advocate Brenda Miller suggested riding together from the Newport Beach Civic Center where the monthly rides have started. That would make it a 30-mile round trip ride.

I got busy planning the route. Since I’d never biked to downtown Santa Ana and because route planning is the key to safe riding; I got to work on Google Earth.

Mapping bike routes has become a hobby for me. I enjoy the tedium of drawing the routes, click, click, clicking the waypoints from point A to B. Over the past few months I’ve remapped all the rides here on the site; check them out here.

Mostly off-road

Mostly off-road

For this trip I have a new toy – a Garmin Edge Touring trip computer. Like all bike computers, it tracks speed and distance, but this unit has built-in maps and I can trace my route and download it to the gadget for turn-by-turn directions. Since I knew the way along half the route, but not the downtown Santa Ana streets, this would be just the thing to get us there.

The GPS device did as I hoped it would; call it beginner’s luck – drawing the map and downloading it into the gadget – it all worked great.

As we arrive the room is filling up. It’s a youthful, diverse audience. Gerardo Mouet, Executive Director Parks, Recreation and Community Services Agency leads us through a discussion of the issues. There’s been a fatality, just 2 nights ago, which underscores the importance. Everyone in the room has a challenge navigating the city streets. The highlight of the session was the small group discussions around the easel to get everyone’s input on topics like safety, bike lanes, bike trails and riding on sidewalks. A lot of good feedback is shared.

The City will convene a Bicycle Task Force and it looks like there are several willing participants.

Before I leave I tell Michele: she’s got everything she needs – all this youthful enthusiasm will make the process a success.


Making Progress

Posted February 3, 2014 By Frank Peters

Last night the City hosted another update in the process of creating a Bicycle Master Plan.

A good-sized audience appeared, just as they have the past few months; it’s encouraging to see the public engagement.

It would only take a few minutes before we learned why some were present — objections started surfacing with the draft plan‘s proposal to extend the beach boardwalk to the Wedge in one direction and to the Santa Ana River Trail (SART) in the other.

Affected homeowners in each direction came out to speak against the plan. The meeting was delivering fireworks just minutes into the agenda.

Chair Petros heard them out and suggested counter arguments might wait till later. So the objections to the boardwalk extension hung in the air for the better part of an hour.

Continue reading “Making Progress” »

Bicycle Master Plan Draft Online

Posted January 30, 2014 By Frank Peters

It’s online and it’s fun to click around. Leave a comment on your favorite, or least favorite intersection.

The next meeting of the Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee is 5pm Monday February 3rd at the Civic Center. Make plans to attend.

Although some of the prior meetings have been light on details, this new online draft plan indicates we’re moving into high gear.


Steve Clark Audits Long Beach

Posted January 17, 2014 By Frank Peters
Allan Crawford introduces Steve Clark

Allan Crawford introduces Steve Clark

Today is Allan Crawford’s last day as the Long Beach Bicycle Coordinator. He’s hoping to go out with a new Gold rating, Bicycle Friendly Community-wise.

That’s why the League’s Steve Clark was in town. Steve’s doing audits of the BFCs throughout the west — last night it was time to share his observations.

We met in the Long Beach Library and Steve kept saying, “We have the room til 9pm,” but I never thought he’d have that much to say. Eventually Security came in to clear the room which was the only way this well-attended session was gonna break up.

Public Works was well represented – after all, it’s their handiwork that’s being judged. Everyone else that’s part of Long Beach’s bike royalty was present, too: Charlie Gandy, Georgia Case, Melissa Balmer, April Economides and others I was meeting for the first time.

Since my LB friends have taught me everything I know, I wanted to bring a couple of friends to this Ph.D.-level review of “The Most Bicycle Friendly City in America”.

Long Beach is clearly on its way to earning that distinction. Steve’s PowerPoint slides included more than a few shots of Long Beach infrastructure — a dead give-away of the esteem the city has earned.

Will he walk out with the Gold? Allan’s done an amazing job improving conditions for cyclists. A Silver-rating would be nothing to turn your nose up at either.

As I sat in the audience I experienced many emotions — comparisons to Long Beach point to so many places where we need a lot of improvement. Long Beach doesn’t have to contend with Levels of Service as mandated in our case by OCTA – some of our obstacles are institutionalized.

Steve held his biggest critique for the end of the evening – equity, as the League calls the 6th “E”. Mayoral candidate Doug Otto arrived late, but echoed similar sentiments,

In 10 years Long Beach will be 70% Hispanic, yet they’re not here at the table.

Crawford’s successor will inherit a great foundation, but there’s still a lot of opportunities to improve cycling in Long Beach.



Dutch Intersection Design

Posted November 28, 2013 By Frank Peters

It started out slowly — in October HuBBa‘s Dan Hazard invited me to a meeting with Caltrans Bike Coordinator Romeo Estrella. After this meeting we planned to meet again soon; there’s just so much to talk about.

Our initial focus has been Coast Hwy through Orange County. It’s the kind of challenge that should unite bike advocates up and down the coast.

This month Long Beach Bike Coordinator Allan Crawford and OCBC board member Bill Sellin joined us. We’ve been focusing on the poor roadway designs that contributed to the death of Debra H. Deem on Aug 27th at Newport Coast Drive and PCH.

It may not be part of the eventual design solution, but this Dutch Junction design video will challenge the thinking of any MUTCD aficionado.

Next year the audience will expand and we hope to attract bike advocates from across the county to our lunchtime discussions.

October Meeting

Posted October 7, 2013 By Frank Peters

Tonight the Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee met at the Civic Center. The consultant, Alta Planning, was not in attendance — they’re busy working on technical aspects of the plan — so how would we fill the time?

Committee Chair and City Councilmember Tony Petros browsed his rolodex to invite Alan Thompson of the Southern California Association of Governments to enlighten everyone on regional bikeway plans.

Alan runs the SCAG Active Transportation Subcommittee, which apparently, is all about bikes. Pardon me if I get a few facts mixed up because after Alan announced $6.7 Billion in available funding over the next decades, I was too excited to hear correctly. His presentation reinforced all the good things many of us already know about bikes — its booming popularity is diverting more funding to building out the needed infrastructure. Alan gets it — he knows that to get many more people riding bikes we need to build safer infrastructure. He knows, we’re not going to achieve 20% of all trips by bike by telling people to just get out there in traffic.

Next up, surprise guests from Caltrans. Last month after the Debra H. Deem fatality, Kelley Gast turned her grief and anger into action – she encouraged her friends and fellow bike riders to write to Caltrans. They did to the tune of over 400 letters. Tonight Caltrans Bike Coordinator Romeo Estrella brought Gary Snyder and his boss to the meeting to tell everyone how they’re on it and already in discussions with the City regarding possible roadway improvements.

It was an encouraging evening. Much like the recent meetings with OCTA, we seem to be at the tipping point where many regional agencies are working together to facilitate better conditions for cyclists.


Rock, as in Rockstar?

Posted September 19, 2013 By Frank Peters

Rock Miller

Rock Miller led the bike discussion

Yesterday I bumped into Rock Miller again, this time at the Costa Mesa Bicycle Master Plan Update meeting. He’s everywhere these days.

Last night he was leading the discussion of bike paths and the opportunities for increasing the number of folks on bikes.

He was doing a good job, especially when it came to handling objections, like,

What do we do about scofflaw cyclists?

That can derail a meeting; I’ve seen it happen. Rock took it all in stride and handled the concern nicely; like many of us know, if you get 3-5x more people out on bikes there will be not so subtle pressure to fly right and obey traffic signals, for example.

Rock’s worked in Long Beach on the Green Sharrows in Belmont Shore and he’s part of the team working with Newport Beach on our Bicycle Master Plan.


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