Consensus Builds Around Bike Safety Fund

Santa-ipadIt’s kinda like writing a letter to Santa, but worthy of some serious thought…

Of course, it’s not my list; it’s the list of what to do with the funds raised at the Memorial Bike Ride and last month’s silent auction.

There’s still time to contribute. The clock is ticking on the Bike Safety Improvement Fund; it sunsets December 31st.

So far April Morris, Joan Littauer and a handful of volunteers have raised over $76,000. After the City makes the 3:1 match it’ll add up to over $300,000.

At the December Bike Safety meeting I asked Public Works’ Brad Sommers how far these funds would go. “It all depends; if you’re talking about road widening, it won’t go far, but if you’re thinking of Sharrows…”
It would buy a lot of Sharrows.

I have my wish list and I’m sure you can picture some safety improvements along your favorite ride. April called a few days ago, over coffee she shared the most frequently asked-for improvements from the people who donated. It boiled down to two:

The intersection at Bayside and Coast Hwy where Sarah Leaf was killed, and the ‘pinch’ at Dover and Coast Hwy westbound, where Betty Bustrum was seriously injured the day prior.

Those would be great safety improvements.

Betty Bustrum was injured at Dover and Coast Hwy. She spoke at the Memorial Ride.

Betty Bustrum was injured at Dover and Coast Hwy. She spoke at the Memorial Ride.

I added a wish of my own: by all means, make improvements at these critical spots and if there’s money left over, let’s buy some bike racks. Even a small portion of the funds could buy a lot of bike racks, enough to spread them around the whole city.

When I bounced these ideas off long-term Bike Safety Committee member, now City Councilman, Tony Petros, he immediately pulled out a pencil and started sketching possible solutions for these problem intersections. Even though Coast Hwy at Dover is under Caltrans control, he felt something might be done relatively soon. He suggested I share the list with Councilwoman Leslie Daigle.

It’s a short list, with both medium-term and short-term items. Leslie was quick to see the benefits of the bike racks. “There’s no bureaucracy; they could be installed quickly. If they’re not expensive they could be placed in front of shops cyclists visit.” Like when running errands, I pictured.

Would bike racks readily available at the hardware store, the grocery store, and the drug store tempt more people to shop by bike? It’s happened that way in other cities.

Next up: the Citizens Bicycle Safety Committee’s charter expires in January. Should it be renewed? If so, what priorities will it have for 2013? Can the committee focus on more safety improvements? Is it too scattered because of all the needs? How could its charter be changed to gain more lasting value and productive efforts in the new year? Tony Petros has a proposal for a unifying effort that could take all year.

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