Last night OCTA hosted a well-attended Bikeways Workshop. Alta Planning staff led the discussion of new proposed corridors, listed A through J, that cut north and south, east and west across Orange County Supervisorial Districts 1 & 2. I don’t think anyone left the meeting unimpressed.
(See the details and take the Bike Planning Survey.)
For all the great presentation though, much of the eventual work and the funding for it, will be up to the cities where these proposed routes traverse.
Some routes will take advantage of abandoned rail routes, others like Pacific Coast Hwy, Corridor C, will be optimized to accommodate bikes and cars. How so? The devil’s in the details, of course, and much of the discussion that tried to peel the onion was politely deflected as a future effort, whereas this night was to introduce the opportunities and solicit ‘big picture’ input.
I spotted UCIrvine’s Supervisor of Sustainable Transportation, Ramon Zavala shortly after entering the room; he saved a seat for me in a SRO crowd. As friends are oft to do, we kibitzed during the Q&A – “One freeway off-ramp would pay for everything here,” which of course, is a jab at OCTA’s primary mission, that being paving the planet to accommodate ever more cars. “Don’t forget ‘Social Equity’,” which is the latest of the League of American Bicyclists’ E’s – it requires that communities and counties seeking it’s Bicycle Friendly Community designation must now optimize for under-served, low-income neighborhoods. “I hope they run this past the Coastal Commission,” my 2-bits because petitioning the CCC to eventually remove parking along Coast Hwy, well, that’s better done by a sister agency than by cities individually.
Of course, these were all whispered conspiratorially between friends. Several of my thoughts did make it onto the Comment Cards.
It was an encouraging meeting. History is about to be made in Orange County, probably at a glacial pace, but nonetheless, there’s a lot of momentum gearing up to support safer bicycle routes.
Why involve OCTA and the OC Supervisors?
Because all these new proposed bike routes span city boundaries; this is where a little nudge from a regional authority might get things moving, get routes connected and get more people out of their cars and onto bikes.