Tonight the Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee met at the Civic Center. The consultant, Alta Planning, was not in attendance — they’re busy working on technical aspects of the plan — so how would we fill the time?
Committee Chair and City Councilmember Tony Petros browsed his rolodex to invite Alan Thompson of the Southern California Association of Governments to enlighten everyone on regional bikeway plans.
Alan runs the SCAG Active Transportation Subcommittee, which apparently, is all about bikes. Pardon me if I get a few facts mixed up because after Alan announced $6.7 Billion in available funding over the next decades, I was too excited to hear correctly. His presentation reinforced all the good things many of us already know about bikes — its booming popularity is diverting more funding to building out the needed infrastructure. Alan gets it — he knows that to get many more people riding bikes we need to build safer infrastructure. He knows, we’re not going to achieve 20% of all trips by bike by telling people to just get out there in traffic.
Next up, surprise guests from Caltrans. Last month after the Debra H. Deem fatality, Kelley Gast turned her grief and anger into action – she encouraged her friends and fellow bike riders to write to Caltrans. They did to the tune of over 400 letters. Tonight Caltrans Bike Coordinator Romeo Estrella brought Gary Snyder and his boss to the meeting to tell everyone how they’re on it and already in discussions with the City regarding possible roadway improvements.
It was an encouraging evening. Much like the recent meetings with OCTA, we seem to be at the tipping point where many regional agencies are working together to facilitate better conditions for cyclists.