8/19 Transportation Commission Meeting
In response to a group of local parents and students who requested that the city provide safer bicycle routes to school, the City's Transportation Commission considered the striping of bicycle lanes on both Lorain Rd. and Del Mar Ave. on August 19th. At that meeting, the Transportation Commission formally recommended that the City move forward with bicycle lanes on Del Mar Ave., but hold off on Lorain Rd., citing costs and the advantages of first allowing the City to draft and approve a Bicycle Master Plan, a process that was set into motion earlier in the summer by the City Council (Evan Brooks Associates has been selected to develop the Plan, with the first public workshops scheduled for later this fall).
Lorain and Del Mar are two-lane, residential streets with 25-30mph speed limits and enough road space to stripe bike lanes without the loss of street parking or a travel lane. According to local residents, speeding traffic is a concern on both streets, particularly Lorain Rd. east of Del Mar. The existing wide travel lanes and relatively low traffic volumes encourage speeding. However, striping bicycle lanes should help calm traffic by narrowing the vehicle travel lane.
On August 19th a clear majority of local residents who weighed in on the issue were in favor of bicycle lanes on both streets - 82 petition signatures, 9 emails, and 6 public comments were submitted in support of the proposal. Yet the concerns of a few outspoken residents appeared to sway several Commissioners, whose comments also revealed a general lack of knowledge of bicycle infrastructure, (e.g., the differences between a Class II Bicycle Lane and a Class III Bicycle Route), its merits, and how changes such as narrowing travel lanes can help calm traffic and improve safety for all road users.
Specific concerns shared by residents included the risk that striping bike lanes would encourage more "outside" cyclists, make backing out of driveways more difficult, and reduce property values. Opponents also noted that cyclists do not obey traffic laws, it is dangerous to ride in a bike lane, bike modal share is too low, and the street lights are not bright enough to bicycle at night. Unfortunately such misinformation was par for the course during the public discussion phase, underlining the need for education and dialogue in the community about bicycle-infrastructure.
Fortunately, there should be plenty more opportunities in the near future to educate residents, stakeholders and local elected officials about Complete Streets improvements and safer Routes to School can improve health, safety, and benefit the entire community!
If approved, Agenda Item 3 would authorize the use of $25,000 in Transportation Development Act (TDA) funds to stripe the City's first Class II bicycle lanes on Del Mar from the City's southern border with San Gabriel at Longden Ave. north to Huntington Dr.
What: San Marino City Council Meeting
Where: Crowell Public Library, 1890 Huntington Dr., San Marino 91108
When: Wednesday, September 11th (6pm)
To submit public comment electronically, please email the San Marino City Clerk by 4pm Wednesday.