I attended a meeting last night at City hall of the bike safety committee. It was partly on how we did as a city to be rated a Bronze category for safety and what steps were necessary to get to the next level. I didn’t know most of the people there; I’d say maybe 10-15 showed up. Michael Hoskinson and Frank LoGrasso were there from the HBCF, the HB planning manager, Devin Dyer, Councilwoman Jill Hardy and some others.
The moderator or chair of the meeting went over the problem they have trying to get schools to commit to a bike safety program. Very few schools have the funds or time it was said by someone. Councilwomen Hardy said she would continue to try to get the schools to cooperate. Apparently the HBPD is not involved as much as it used to be in giving Safety classes etc.
The chair then introduced Long Beach’s Mobility coordinator Allan Crawford who helped get a shared lane painted green on Second Street in Long Beach. He explained how it was done first as an experiment and without any input form the community. Crawford seemed to think that was okay I guess because he feels the experiment was successful. That bothered me somewhat as well as his dismissal of the cost which I believe was $500K or something like that. He also went over ways and pitfalls in getting Federal funding for programs like the one they implemented.
He did elaborate on how, in his opinion, there are fewer bike accidents and car accidents and now this area where a bike has the whole car lane. He said business has picked up in this district they painted an arrow on the road. Crawford acknowledged that the special lane did slow up traffic but felt it was not by that much.
Michael pointed out that you could never get a program like this implemented in HB without HB resident input. He feels that the city should focus on the safety aspects of the Bike master plan and leave infrastructure alone. Frank mentioned that we have miles and miles of bike paths with almost no one them. There was a little back and forth about bikers having the same rights as cars. And of course someone pointing out that the car always wins in the end.
But all and all it was interesting meeting as bike safety is becoming a bigger issue and our city is getting denser. People can’t expect the same degree of safety as ten or twenty years ago. More cars and more bikes and add in more people and you always have more accidents.
Unfortunately while some people are looking into how to have better bike safety the city allows more accelerated growth which is what is causing the safety problem.