August can be a tough month to have a quorum for any type of meeting; last night the Citizens Bicycle Safety Committee barely achieved one, but the light attendance, in the audience, too, had no affect on the outcome: it was a productive session.
Public Work’s Brad Sommers is our chief make-it-happen person and as usual he reported on the state of grants pending and other projects, but the big news is the anticipation of the upcoming Sharrows on Coast Hwy through Corona del Mar. There are the infrastructure issues, but perhaps more important are the outreach efforts; the effectiveness of these efforts can sink or swim the project. Mayor Gardner likes a program implemented in Sausalito, CA that used light pole mounted banners with bike safety messages.
Denis LaBonge heads the Outreach sub-committee and will return next month with suggestions for messaging. NB’s Communications guru Tara Finigan will speak to her peers in the City of Long Beach to gather ideas, since Long Beach pioneered the Sharrows in Southern California.
Got a suggestion for a banner? Many were tossed around last night: “The Sharrows Are Coming” was my favorite, and I also like, “Bikes May Use Full Lane,” which is what they’re all about in the first place.
A new sub-committee has formed since last month that includes Tony Petros, Bob Kahn and myself, Chaired by Brad; we’re looking at areas and intersections identified by NBPD as high incidence of collisions and crashes. Tony plotted 6 years of crash data onto maps of the peninsula and Newport Heights neighborhoods for a striking presentation. Next month we’ll contribute more in the form of observations we’ll be making in the field. One thing that’s clear already, the 3 worst intersections for cyclists can be linked together and you see a corridor from Newport Heights to the beach boardwalk on the peninsula.
I raised concerns with a proposal by Public Works to widen Newport Blvd at Via Lido to 6 lanes. More traffic lanes will mean higher speeds and this is the #1 worst intersection in the city. Mayor Gardner said she’ll invite Public Works Director Steve Badum to present the plan to the Committee next month.
Mayor Gardner asked the committee if we’d like to entertain a presentation by a company that is interested in proposing a Bike Share system for the city. Most of us felt that a separate session, perhaps immediately following a regularly scheduled meeting would be the best format to review such a plan. I suggested inviting Alta Bike Share, which supplies Boston and NYC with their bike share systems, to also present at the meeting.