South Bay Bicycle Master Plan approved by Planning and Harbor Commission
Late last Thursday night, after much discussion, the Redondo Beach Planning and Harbor Commission approved the highly anticipated South Bay Bicycle Master plan, which now moves on to the city council. Of the seven cities included in the plan,Gardenais the only city left to approve the program.
The plan would expand Redondo Beach’s current bicycle system of 14.1 miles to 38.1 miles and could cost an estimated $1,895,000 for the expanded bicycle network. It would include bicycle paths, lanes, routes with sharrows and the encouragement of bicycle-friendly streets and facilities. The proposed master plan would add 213.8 miles of bikeable roadways to the already 73.2 miles of bike friendly roads that span the seven beach cities.
The city council discussed keeping the cost down by implementing the different road signage and re-striping with already planned road maintenance. Members and others also discussed possibly cutting the time of implementation in half by 10 years instead of the proposed 20.
The hot topic of the night was how to incorporate the bicycle plan into Harbor Drive. Of concern was the location of the bike path and the possibility of creating a bike walking zone near the pier to alleviate pedestrian related injuries and make it possible for more business for pier shops. Although no decisions were made final, the commission was able to hear different suggestions from the public and was able to discuss the issue more fully.
“Harbor Drive could be the crowning jewel of this program,” said Marissa Christiansen, the South Bay Initiative Director for the L.A County Bicycle Coalition. “Obviously, the discussions regarding Harbor Drive were a clear concern to the commissioners. Ultimately, I am confident that the facility will be designed with the utmost safety considerations by the City of Redondo Beach.”
The plan includes safety education and will be carried out in cooperation with various bike clubs in the area with the goal of keeping serious bicyclists and less frequent riders safe.
With growing concerns of air quality and traffic, many citizens voiced their approval and disapproval and suggested various ideas to move the project forward. One proposed sticking point included how to keep traffic moving on busier streets with the added bicycle lanes. Will traffic circles, for example, be a safer option to stop signs and should street parking spots be amended to angled spots? Also of concern were biker and car buffers and the safety of both.
“The purpose of this plan,” said Christiansen, “is to provide the guidelines and unified vision for improved bikeability across the South Bay. After such an intensely collaborative process I expect the cities will begin to review their capital improvement plan for opportunities to incorporate some of the proposed bikeways and will hopefully move forward with feasibility analysis, design and applying for grant funding for these facilities very quickly. The plan includes many cost-effective recommendations that the cities can focus upon in the near term.” To view the full proposal visit www.southbaybicyclecoalition.org