Thursday, October 01, 2015

Cautious Progress Made By Bike Committee

The Costa Mesa Bikeway and Walkability Committee met again last night at the Costa Mesa Senior Center for the second time this month in it's accelerated schedule and is making steady, albeit cautious, progress despite more absences of members.  There were enough members to form a quorum, so the meeting could be held.  It's my understanding that a second member has resigned, but didn't get the name.(I'm advised that Donna Check resigned)  Last night the following members attended for most of the meeting:
Chairman Ralph Taboada
Vice Chair Cynthia McDonald
Member Richard Huffman
Member Jim Erickson
Member Leah Ersoylu
Member James Kane
Member Jim Kerins
Member Andrea Marr
Member John C. Merrill

Also attending were Newport-Mesa Unified School District Liaison Dr. Kirk Bauermeister and Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce Liaison Brent Stoll.  Council Liaison Katrina Foley was absent.  Four (4) members of the public attended.

Facilitator Rock Miller, from the consulting firm Stantec, was introduced to the group.  His presence will be very helpful to the committee as they move steadily forward with their tasks.
The bulk of the meeting, nearly 90 minutes, was spent carefully crafting the six (6) goals of the group.  The staff had homogenized the original presentation from the previous meeting with contributions by the committee members - a list that included proposed Goals, Objectives and Policies.  They took each goal one at a time, carefully dissecting the text to be sure the verbiage precisely reflected their opinions.  When the process was completed for each one a vote was taken and, in every case, there was unanimity on the end result.

Here is the language of the Goals as finally approved:

Goal 1 - Promote a Friendly Active Transportation System in Costa Mesa
Create a bicycle and pedestrian friendly environment throughout Costa Mesa for all types of users and all trip purposes in accordance with the 5 E's (Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering and Evaluation).

Goal 2 - To Create A Safer Place to Walk and Ride a Bicycle
Provide a safe, convenient and attractive bicycling and pedestrian environment through application of design standards, uniform signage, enforcement of traffic laws and maintenance practices to encourage and increase the the use of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Goal 3 - Integrate Active Transportation Elements into the Circulation System
Provide bikeway and walkway facililties that are integrated with other transportation systems and land use planning decisions.

Goal 4 - Improve Awarness of Active Transportation Programs
Develop Educational and Promotional programs that improve Bicycle and Pedestrian usage and

Goal 5 - Promote An Active Transportation Culture
Develop a culture that respects and accommodates all users to foster a more balanced transportation system.

Goal 6 - Promote the Positive Air Quality, Health and Economic Benefits of Active Transportation
Encourage active transportation by promoting air quality, health and economic benefits and by pursuing multiple sources of funding for active transportation programs and facilities.

Ninety minutes, you say!  Yep, it took that long to wordsmith the Goals to be sure they each accurately reflected the vision of the group.  The deliberations/discussions were done in a very positive, respectful manner.

At the next couple meetings Chairman Taboada will lead them as they will tackle the Objectives of each Goal, and then the Policies necessary to achieve them.  The process seems tedious, but those 90 minutes actually flew by as the committee members worked steadily and respectfully on this task.  The members were encouraged to review the materials provided and send questions and/or suggestions to the staff, who will integrate them into the working documents.  They were reminded to NOT communicate among themselves for fear of a Brown Act violation.
A brief discussion was held about replacements for departed members.  According to input from the staff, the City Council prefers they move forward with the current number and address vacancies early next year, when other committee recruitments will take place.

During Committee Member comments at the end a suggestion was made by Huffman that a representative from the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) be invited to brief the committee on the County plans for bicycle infrastructure, so that information could be folded into their process.  The staff suggested waiting awhile, but Chairman Taboada agreed with Huffman, so the staff will approach the OCTA about inviting a representative to a meeting before the end of the year.

The committee will meet on October 14th and 28th at the same time, 6:30 p.m., in the same place.  Beginning in November their meetings will return to the first and third Wednesday of the month.  If you plan to attend any of these meetings wear a sweater or jacket - we could have hung sides of beef in the meeting room again last night.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Here's a little bit of irony for you.  A couple members of the committee ride bicycles to the meetings, but there are no bike racks available at the Senior Center, so they bring their machines inside for safe-keeping.  When I mentioned this to Director of Public Services Ernesto Munoz - one of the staff members present last night - he told a couple of us that he's working with CEO Tom Hatch to spring loose some money to install bike racks throughout the city as a measure to seed encouragement of bicycle riding.

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