Coastal Commission Hears PCH Plea

“Someone should speak during Public Comments,” a friend encouraged. That someone would be me this morning at the kick-off of 3 days of Coastal Commission meetings at the Newport Beach Civic Center. My plea? Right now too many public officials swat away any discussion of removing parked cars along Pacific Coast Hwy, but cyclists find themselves in dangerous pinch points as they ride along the coast. I’ve had too much time to anticipate my remarks, but I was so up for it — the issue is too important.

Chair Shallenberger, Commissioners, my name is Frank Peters. I’m a member of the Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Committee; as such, I’m working to improve safety for everyday bike riders.

Virtually everywhere in California you see the dramatic change that’s occurring — cities are working to provide safer conditions for cyclists. It’s part of a worldwide trend.

Increasingly people are riding their bikes to the beach, but our most popular bike route, Pacific Coast Hwy, is also popular with motorists, so dangerous conditions persist.

from the Huntington Beach Bicycle Master Plan

from the Huntington Beach Bicycle Master Plan

Design consultants have proposed a bike lane along a hazardous stretch of PCH — it calls for removing 100 parking places to paint a bike lane that would serve thousands. Many feel this is a good trade, but Caltrans officials say, “The Coastal Commission will never approve it!”

So I’m here today to ask for your help.

A redesigned Coast Hwy can safely transport people to the beach by bike, but to do that we need to remove some on-street parking.

A Portland bike corral

Portland bike corral

Imagine for a second that we do – now we have a bike parking issue! Those bicyclists will need a place to lock up.

What many cities are doing is converting a single parking space to bike parking for 10 — it’s called a bike corral.

If you’d consider such a swap then 100 parked cars on PCH convert to 10 bike corrals, preferably off-street.

That 10 to 1 ratio makes it a compelling trade!

As a bonus, this plan benefits public health as it reduces traffic congestion and lowers the cost of a day at the beach for thousands.

You’ve seen how Northern California cities have embraced the bicycle; here in Orange County we need more flexibility on Coast Hwy to accomplish the same.

Thank you.
 
 

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Frank Peters

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