Tonight's city council meeting in San Marino had 3 bicycle related items on the agenda:
Bike Week Proclamation
Only formalized a few months ago by a group of San Marino residents and parents, the San Marino Rides Committee (SMR) was able to encourage City leaders to dedicate the week of November 17-23 as San Marino Bike Week for 2013. Mayor Ward presented the proclamation certificate to approximately 12 local youth and several SMR organizers. This was the first bicycle-related proclamation in San Marino's long history.
Bike & Pedestrian Master Plan
Assistant City Manager, Lucy Garcia provided a thorough synopsis of recent efforts to secure bids for the development of a City-wide bicycle and pedestrian master plan. Previous efforts to secure a consultant resulted in one proposal submission, which led to a Council decision to re-release the call for bids in an effort to encourage more applicants. Moreover, the Council approved an increase in funds, bringing the total to $30,000 to be allocated toward the project.
The second time around, the City received 8 proposal submissions of which only 5 were within budget. However, due to time constraints, City staff was unable to thoroughly evaluate the proposals and generate a recommendation for a planning consultant. According to a City Code, the City Manager has the authority to execute service contracts $30,000 or less thereby nullifying the need for a Council vote. Therefore, Vice Mayor Dennis Kneier motioned to move forward with a Bicycle Master Plan and allow the City Manager to determine the most suitable firm. The motioned carried with a 5-0 vote.
Lorain Road Bikeway
The most contentious issue of the evening was the consideration of installing a Class-II Bicycle Lane on Lorain Rd.
Despite the fact that a lane would not require any major changes to the roadway such as a loss of street parking or removal of a travel lane, an outspoken group raised concerns of reducing property value, maintaining community aesthetic and attracting non-residents. Those in favor highlighted the most important point...safety should dictate design! In this case, the striping of bicycle lanes would help improve safety by narrowing the automobile travel lane from over 15 feet to 11 feet (a step that dissuades speeding by motorists and would help address the dangerous, existing 35+mph speeds) and providing dedicated space for cyclists.
After hearing all the speakers and accounting for the numerous emails and phone calls, Mayor Ward motioned to defer the bike lane on Lorain Rd. until the development of the Bicycle Master Plan. The motion carried 4-1. No bike lane just yet.
ACTION ALERT: San Marino Council to Consider Potential Bike Plan Development, Bike Lanes, AND Bike Week San Marino Resolution 11/13/2013
The San Marino City Council has three bike-related items on its agenda this month, a record as far as BikeSGV organizers and local residents can tell for a community that currently lacks any bicycle lanes.
The meeting will kick off with the Presentation of a Resolution by the Council declaring November 17-23 "Bicycle Week" in the City, another first. Local youth, parents and supporters of the San Marino Rides Committee will be on hand to accept the symbolic resolution.
The agenda will then turn to more contentious matters, with the Council once again consider the development of a Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan and Class II Bicycle Lanes on Lorain Rd.
After a vote to fund the City's first Bicycle Plan failed to 2-1 at the Council's October 9th meeting, the 3 Council Members who were in attendance at the September meeting asked staff to solicit additional bids from planning firms after only one of 29 contractors - Evans Brooks and Associates - submitted a bid in the first solicitation in September 2013. Staff review of the process determined that the bid proposal's deadline directly after the Labor Day Holiday in September resulted in only one bid.
Round two, however, has already been more fruitful, with 9 firms submitting bids, including Alta Planning, Ryan Synder Associates, and even one international firm from the Netherlands, Mobycon. Item 5 on Wednesday's agenda - Consideration of Proposal for Professional Consultant Services to Develop a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan - asks Council Members to review the latest bids, and authorize staff to select a consultant, to be paid with funds remaining from the City's Safe Routes to School grant.
Item 6 on the agenda - Consideration of Class III or Class II Bikeway Pilot Project on Lorain Rd. and Appropriation of Funds - asks Council Members to fund a Lorain Rd Bikeway, and if so, to determine if it should consist of a Class II Bicycle Lanes or a Class III Bicycle Route. Due to speeding traffic on this residential street and existing research on the safety benefits of bike lanes versus bike routes, BikeSGV's preferred alternative is a Class II Bicycle Lane. This option would not require the loss of any street parking or travel lanes.
Although the above chart from Wednesday's Council packet underlines that support for bikeways on Lorain Rd and Del Mar is far greater than opposition, a small but vocal contingent of residents has raised concerns about the project, including the potential for attracting more "outside" bicyclists, the failure of cyclists to adhere to traffic laws, a decrease in property values, and a perceived lack of cyclists who would use the project. However specious, these points and more must be addressed by the project's many proponents if the City is to move forward with Class II Bicycle Lanes. And that's why we need you to....
Especially if you're a local resident, your support is needed in person Wednesday evening or via email. Simple, personal comments in support of the development of a local bicycle and pedestrian plan, and Class II Bicycle Lanes on Lorain Rd, are needed, as well as messages of thanks for the Council's consideration of bicycle and pedestrian safety issues. Public comment may be submitted directly to the Council via email here:
DKneier@CityofSanMarino.org , ESun@CityofSanMarino.org , AYung@CityofSanMarino.org , RSun@CityofSanMarino.org , RJWard@CityofSanMarino.org , firstname.lastname@example.org
The meeting will be held at the Crowell Public Library on Huntington Dr Wednesday 11/13 at 6pm. A full City Council agenda and packet can be viewed and/or downloaded via the city's website here.