City Council Meeting: August 23, 2011

Agenda Item: 4-A 

To:               Mayor and City Council 

From:           David Martin, Acting Planning & Community Development Director

Subject:        Draft Bike Action Plan

 

 

Recommended Action

Staff recommends that the City Council:

 

1.     Review the Draft Bike Action Plan and provide input and direction on key programs, facilities, and five-year implementation priorities.

 

Executive Summary

The City has adopted an award-winning Land Use and Circulation Element with a strong vision for a sustainable future based on integration of transportation and land use.  The community-based vision calls for livable neighborhoods and complete streets, and a policy of No Net New Evening Peak Period Trips for automobiles. Shifts from driving to bicycling are part of achieving the No Net New Trips objective and citywide targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction.  The public outreach process has identified a significant segment of the community that is interested in bicycle riding, but may be deterred by inconsistencies and gaps in the City’s facilities and programs.  The draft Bike Action plan identifies specific ways to get more people on bikes by creating better bikeways and programs that will bring out the fun in bicycling and make bicycling convenient and comfortable. 

 

The draft Bike Action Plan provides a foundation with the goal of increasing bicycling to 10-25 percent of all trips by 2030 as envisioned by LUCE.  It calls for a comprehensive array of programs emphasizing encouragement and awareness to foster new cyclists, development of a prominent bikeway network that fills network gaps and creates new and enhanced north-south and east-west bikeways, and provides supporting facilities such as bike parking and bike sharing.  From this array, the draft Bike Action Plan proposes the following priority actions to be implemented over the next five years with support from community partners and granting agencies:

·       Enhance Broadway and Main Street bikeways with green bike lanes, and extend Main Street connection up Second Street

·       Create a high-quality 17th Street Bikeway providing crosstown, Santa Monica College, and Expo Line connections

·       Improve bikeways on 11th Street, 14th Street and Yale/Stewart Street

·       Create Michigan Avenue Bikeway with 20th Street I-10 crossing

·       Expand existing network to fill gaps and provide destination access

·       Complete Bicycle Campus and education materials

·       Provide bicycle training classes to support confident city cycling

·       Implement Safe Routes to School programs and bicycle facility improvements

·       Initiate and refine programs for Downtown Bike Center

·       Install bicycle wayfinding 

·       Expand parking opportunities

·       Initiate bikeshare system 

The overall direction of the draft Bike Action Plan was generated from the LUCE and refined and extended through a community survey, a series of community workshops and meetings, staff and consultant analysis. The plan benefits from creative and constructive resident participation and significant support from community partners and many City departments. 

 

This report summarizes the approach of the plan, explains how it is organized, highlights major recommendations and looks ahead at how it will be implemented.  Based on feedback received on the draft plan and scheduled meetings with the Council, the Planning Commission, the Recreation and Parks Commission, the Task Force on the Environment and the Commission for the Senior Community, the draft Bike Action Plan will be revised and presented to the Planning Commission and the City Council in a few months for formal recommendation and adoption. The Planning Commission will review progress reporting based on this program and quantitative performance measures annually.  The public and the bicycling community will provide feedback during open meetings and the Council will receive periodic updates on implementation.

 

Background

As the City developed its Land Use and Circulation Element, the growing interest in and importance of bicycling was unmistakable. The adopted LUCE established a strong framework that supports the Bike Action Plan through:

 

Specifically, the LUCE outlined three strong bicycle goals:

 

A Complete Street balances the needs of pedestrians, vehicles, bicycles and transit while providing space for landscape and social gathering.

 

 

 

Bicyclists helped shape and promote these goals, and LUCE supporters came to understand that encouraging bicycling is an excellent way to create strong neighborhoods and commericial districts built for people rather than cars.  Bicycling offers a fast, convenient and economical transportation option in a region that many people feel is designed and operated for automobiles, often at the expense of other road users. The draft Bike Action Plan identifies the most effective ways to start realizing the travel mode shift called for the in LUCE by 2030 with a more detailed look at actions for the next five years.  It also includes a program of  community participation and progress monitoring with City Council and Planning Commission oversight to ensure success. 

 

The emergence of this draft Bike Action Plan from the LUCE and the 1995 Bicycle Plan included intensive, focused community participation. Substantive plan recommendations were presented, prioiritized, vetted and refined at community workshops in December 2010 and May 2011, at a Planning Commission meeting in April 2011, and through a community survey conducted in December 2010.  The draft Bike Action Plan benefits from the insight and contributions of many people throughout this process.

 

The draft Plan is intended to guide LUCE implementation, coordinate City work efforts and make the City eligible for bicycle funding from State and regional granting agencies.  Its adoption and implementaion will recognize and support bicyclists, encourage more people to become bicyclists, and allow people in Santa Monica to continue to experience the joy of bicycling.   It is pragmatic and optimistic with expectations for what can be accomplished and informed by available and anticipated resources including potential grant funding.  It is also flexible, identifying action priorities and toolbox recommendations rather than making future commitments to specific technologies or designs as a means to reach performance goals.  By incorporating ongoing communication with the community and a program of monitoring effectiveness against specific quantitative standards, the plan will also allow the City to identify needed course corrections and make adjustments to ensure success.  The public outreach process identified a significant group of the community termed “bike curious” who would like to bike but are concerned (such as parents seeking safer routes to school for their children) or deterred by inconsistent facilities or lack of information, or simply need more encouragement (such as trip planning and or confident city cycling skills).  One goal of the plan is to increase the consistency and comfort of Santa Monica bike facilities to allow these people to make their desired switch to bicycling. 

 

The draft Bike Action Plan was released for public review and comment at the beginning of August. It is scheduled to be presented at public meetings during the month of August to the Planning Commission, the Task Force on the Environment, the Recreation and Parks Commission, and the Commission for the Senior Community. 

 

Discussion

What is the Bike Action Plan?

The draft Bike Action Plan is a statement of community priorities that will guide and coordinate implementation of bicycle programs and the LUCE bicycle network, and encourage residents, employees, and visitors to make bicycling their transportation of choice. The plan outlines a network of bikeways and programs that form the implementation priorities for the near and long-term. Specific implementation projects may require subsequent budget appropriations and/or environmental review, but initial grant and budget funding would allow immediate progress on many plan components.  It would support efforts to collaborate with community partners including business, employer and school groups, including elementary, middle and high school groups as well as Santa Monica College.  The draft Plan is expected to meet State Bicycle Transportation Account requirements and therefore the City would be eligible to apply for State funding pursuant to that legislation.

 

A How-to for Getting More People on Bikes in Santa Monica

At the most basic level, the draft Bike Action Plan is about how to get more people in Santa Monica out of cars and onto bikes.  Its strategies and recommendations build on Santa Monica’s strengths to create a world class bicycling experience in the City.  Santa Monica is a place where anyone can bicycle.  The Bike Action Plan develops bikeways and programs that are inviting and comfortable enough that everyone will want to bicycle.  It reaches out to the diverse population by providing a broad array of facility types, from separated bike paths to in-lane sharrows, by educating all road users, through awareness and information campaigns, and by developing encouragement efforts with businesses, employers and schools.

 

Bike Action Plan Structure and Content

The draft Plan begins by describing the vision, benefits, and need for bicycling in Santa Monica.  Chapter Two looks at bicycling in Santa Monica today, including existing bikeways and programs, supporting facilities, and relevant statistics against which the City can measure future progress.   Chapter Three provides a toolkit of bikeway and program improvements and outlines how the tools can be used to allow the City to achieve the LUCE vision by 2030.  Chapter Four proposes a specific set of implementation priorities, as the most effective ways to invest available resources in bicycling over the next five years.  It also includes a set of performance measures and a program for ongoing communication with the public, monitoring by the Planning Commission and oversight by the City Council to ensure that the plan achieves its objectives.   Appendices are included as resources at the end of the Plan and include detailed material on proposed bicycle parking requirements and facility requirements for new development projects, bicycle rack standards, existing network conditions, specific street-by-street recommendations for improvements on LUCE bike network and potential funding sources.  Most of the concepts in the draft Plan, including the toolkit, programs and bikeway recommendations, have been presented in public meetings held since December 2010, and have been revised in response to community feedback.

 

Recommended 5-Year Implementation Highlights

The Bike Action Plan five-year implementation recommendations reflect priorities formulated through a community survey, several public workshops, staff and consultant analysis, and anticipated funding sources. They include some effort in all program areas, with focused efforts in education and encouragement (comprehensive programs with schools, employers and merchant groups).  It also proposes improvements on 75 percent of the LUCE bicycle network with focused efforts on a primary north-south and primary east-west bikeway corridor. The implementation priorities include both bikeway and program investments as community feedback and experience elsewhere suggests that a balanced, supporting approach is the most effective way to get more people to bicycle.  Recommended programs include efforts in all program areas: events, awareness, information, education, encouragement, enforcement and supporting facilities such as development of a bicycle wayfinding system and bicycle parking improvements. Recommended bikeway investments include both facility improvements that are relatively inexpensive and can be applied on many streets and facility improvements that are more expensive, but critical to the development of a high-quality continuous bikeway “backbone” and showcase leading bicycle treatments.

 

Key five-year recommendations for initiatives by program area are:

Events: Events provide opportunities to reach out to large numbers of people and engage them with bicycling in Santa Monica.  Survey respondents prioritized integrating bicycling elements in other events so this program area emphasizes partnership and coordination with others, along with using events to educate potential new cyclists.  The draft Bike Action Plan recommendations include expanded support for Bike to Work and BikeIt! Day efforts, stronger requirements for bike presence at City-permitted events, car-free street events held in conjunction with other events and the creation of special events including ribbon-cuttings and openings to highlight bicycle initiatives.

 

Awareness: Awareness is the first step towards changing culture so that all people see that bicycles have a place on City streets, where all road users show mutual respect.  It includes the promotion of the Bike Santa Monica program identity, a commitment by the City to lead by example and to continue to show how to integrate bicycling into all City operations and programs and a continuing investment in annual educational campaigns including bus tail ads, City media and the provision of themed give-aways at community events. 

 

Information: This program area responds to the desire to improve communication and make it easy for people to find out what is going on with bicycling in Santa Monica.  The key recommendation is to develop a high-quality, robust web site that provides a comprehensive source of Santa Monica bike information. The site will include information on programs and facilities, reference materials, real-time trip planning, employee and visitor Transportation Demand Management support tools, and opportunities for public participation and input. The program also includes the provision of information at other city outlets such as the visitor center and events and information on how and where to make bike and transit connections. 

 

Education: This emerged as the highest priority program area as it gives people the skills, knowledge, and understanding to feel comfortable on and along-side a bicycle.  The draft Bike Action Plan calls for the creation of a Bicycle Campus, which will serve as a location for self-guided bicycle skills training as well as instructor-led classes.  Bicycle training courses are proposed to be offered to the public on a regular basis. It also includes development of curriculum-based bicycle training program for middle school students and development of a library of core educational content that can be used with targeted groups including students, seniors, violators, visitors and commuters.

 

Encouragement: Reflecting the need for collaboration with community partners, encouragement programs include coordination of efforts targeted at key groups: students, employees, customers and visitors.  The Bike Action plan supports business initiatives like “Buy Local” with a “Bike Local” component, school-based access improvements and bicycle training at select schools, additional support for bicycling in employer TDM plans and the development of Transportation Management Associations.  These programs are provided with the goal of increasing the number of people that use bicycles for school, work, shopping, and play trips.

 

Enforcement. The draft Bike Action Plan emphasizes coordination between education and enforcement. Important enforcement initiatives include the Police Bicycle Ambassador Program, proactive safety and accident analysis, consideration of alternative penalty programs that can educate violators, encouragement of bicycle registration through a national system and incorporation of education in enforcement efforts. 

 

Supporting Facilities

Supporting facilities give people access to parking, bicycles and related services, help cyclists find their way on bikeways and enable easy connections to regional transit. These facilities include the following:

 

Bikeways

Future bikeways will include improvements on 75 percent of the LUCE bike network including green bike lanes, cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes, climbing bike lanes, sharrows, neighborhood greenways and bike paths/trails. The proposed bikeway network is a balance of high-quality demonstration projects and some projects that can be easily installed without restriping or major changes to the streetscape (see attached map).  Key five-year recommendations for bikeways are:

Ř  17th Street: Link to Memorial Park Expo line Station and Santa Monica College

Ř  Michigan Avenue/20th Street crossing:  Link between beach, Civic Center, High School, Expo stations

Ř  Main Street/Second Street:  Improve visibility and comfort on popular north/south bikeway

Ř  Broadway:  Improve visibility and comfort on popular east/west bikeway

Ř  6th Street:  Emerging neighborhood greenway south of Pico

Ř  7th Street:  Better crosstown connection from Olympic to north City Limit

Ř  11th Street:  Better crosstown connection with additional lanes

Ř  14th Street:  Better crosstown connection with new lanes

 

The Ocean Park Green Street project is a good example of enhanced bicycle facilities, with green painted bike lanes that increase awareness and visibility.

 

 

 

Community Participation and Monitoring

Community partnerships with bicycle groups, school groups, merchant groups and employers have been essential to the development of the draft Bike Action Plan, and these must continue to ensure its success. Many of the proposed programs would be done in partnership with these groups to most effectively reach a wide cross-section of the community. The draft Plan calls for increased investment in technology to keep people informed of what is happening and planned, and to receive feedback and suggestions. It also calls for regular meetings with bicycle interest groups.

 

Next Steps

Following the City Council study session, staff will revise recommendations in response to priorities and comments from the public, the Planning Commission, the Task Force on the Environment, the Commission for the Senior Community, the Recreation and Parks Commission, and the Council.  The revised draft will be presented to the Planning Commission in a few months, along with the environmental analysis, for a formal recommendation to the Council for final adoption. Once adopted, the Plan will guide the City’s bicycle implementation efforts. To keep implementation on track, staff will maintain an updated implementation guide and hold regular meetings with bicycle groups and other interested people. The Planning Commission will review progress annually and the Council will receive periodic updates. 

 

Financial Impacts and Budget Actions

This is a study session on the draft Bike Action Plan with no direct financial impacts.  Budget decisions will be made in conjunction with implementation of specific projects. 

 

Prepared By: Lucy Dyke, Deputy Director for Special Projects

                       Michelle Glickert, Senior Transportation Planner

                       Francie Stefan, Strategic & Transportation Planning Manager           

 

Approved:

 

Forwarded to Council:

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Martin

Acting Director, Planning and Community Development Department

 

Rod Gould

City Manager

 

           

Attachments:

A.    Map of 5-year Bikeway Recommendations

B.    Map of Supporting Facilities Recommendations

C.    Draft Bike Action Plan (under separate cover)

 

 

 

ATTACHMENT A

 

Map of 5-year Bikeway Recommendations



 

 

 

 

ATTACHMENT B

 

Map of supporting facilities recommendations



 

 

 

ATTACHMENT C

 

The Draft Bike Action Plan which is posted for public download on the city's website here:

http://www01.smgov.net/planning/whats-new/index.html