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Frank Sinatra sings,

Call me… irresponsible, tell me… I’m impractical

But impatient is what most of my friends would call me.

I come from the business world yet today I operate in government as a member of the Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) Oversight Committee. This is my third year participating in local government, starting on the Bike Safety Task Force then the Bicycle Safety Committee — I’m pretty well committeed out.

So today I’m starting a new series of posts, the Bootleg Bicycle Master Plan.

Why Bootleg? Because the official BMP is still more than a year from completion, but more to the point, I’m concerned that some really great ideas for improving connectivity while enhancing safety will get diluted or worse, completely ignored in the formal process.

Why all this paranoia? There’s no evil force at work at City Hall, it’s just that when human nature is combined with an automobile saturated society, some really good ideas will never make it to the final draft of the City’s BMP. So we’re gonna rectify that right here.

Where did this scheme get hatched? On this morning’s bike ride around the Back Bay loop with my pal Dan Murphy. We met on the original 2009 Bike Safety Task Force and pretty quickly sized each other up as not suitable for lycra. We started riding and together we expanded our range, visiting nearby cities and exploring new routes.

Dan Murphy

Dan Murphy

Today Dan’s asking me,

Will the beach boardwalk be expanded? It should go from the Wedge to Huntington Beach!

Bingo! We have our first post for the Bootleg Bicycle Master Plan.

This totally qualifies on a number of levels. First, it’s a great idea and bike riders of all types would enjoy it. Plus, we have a great starting point – the beach boardwalk already spans half this distance. And thirdly, this is the kind of recommendation I can see getting left in the dust. This is a great way to pack the Council Chambers with irate homeowners. They’d complain about trash, increased theft, noise and everything else they could think of to quash the concept.

But extending the boardwalk from the Wedge to Huntington Beach would be a super, signature project. It would attract even more bike riders to the beach.

Let's extend the beach boardwalk from the Wedge to the Santa Ana River Trail

Let’s extend the beach boardwalk from the Wedge to the Santa Ana River Trail

So there you have it — the first installment of the Bootleg Bicycle Master Plan. Notice I left out the technical drawings, the renderings, the 3-D models, the impact on Levels of Service and the Master Plan of Arterial Highways. The BBMP as presented here will be conceptual — we’ll leave the details and approvals to the professionals.

Update: See the more recent and most popular post ever: Extending the Beach Boardwalk, with a simple proposal.




Frank Peters

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