A GOOD START
The new Costa Mesa Bikeways & Walkability Committee held it's first meeting - delayed a week - last night, Wednesday, and it was a terrific start.
ALL MEMBERS PRESENT AND ENTHUSIASTIC
All 15 of the appointed members, whose names appear on the agenda for the meeting, HERE
, showed up for duty right on time. There were no members filling the two additional slots recently approved by the City Council from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District nor the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, although Kyle Woosley
from the Chamber was present. The Chamber Board will designate a future member. Unfortunately, the Pension Oversight Committee meeting that occupied the same venue ran long, so the new committee didn't get started until about 6:10 p.m.
MUNOZ KICKS IT OFF
Director of Public Services Ernesto Munoz
took the lead for the meeting and the new (they're all new) members of the committee introduced themselves and gave a little history about why they wished to be part of this group. I must admit that we have a pretty darn good cross-section of the community. We have engineers, parents, grandparents, folks who are active on other committees, politicians and more. Clearly, all bring a special expertise to the mix that should produce some very good analysis and discussions on the issues that will face them.
TABOADA AND MCDONALD LEAD THE GROUP
was chosen as Chairman of the committee. He is currently Vice-Chair of the Pension Oversight Committee. Activist Cynthia McDonald
was chosen as Vice-Chair (Her husband, Rick Huffman
, is also a member of the committee), so the leadership of the group seems to be in solid hands. Katrina Foley
is the Council Liaison for this group and seems to be providing direction to it early-on. We'll see if that changes as the meetings progress... I hope so. This committee, like all other committees, should be given their head to fulfill their charter once that is clear in their minds without micro-managing by council members.
THE BROWN ACT
Fortunately, there was a very brief discussion of The Ralph M. Brown Act and a short informational piece was distributed to keep the members out of trouble until the next meeting, at which time there will be a full orientation on this important issue.
ORANGE COUNTY BICYCLE COALITION
During Public Comments one of the speakers was Pete Van Nuys
, who represents the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, a group headquartered in San Clemente apparently devoted to making bicycling safer in Orange County.
BICYCLE MASTER PLAN
Transportation Services Manager, presented an overview of Bicycle Master Plan, which was last updated in 2002 and is expected to be updated within the next 6 months. Helping in that process is one of the reasons this committee was created. The following images capture his presentation visually.
Then Sethuraman's associate, Pritnam Deshmukh
, led the discussion of the Active Transportation Grant Applications that might apply to issues this committee will consider. They are shown in the images below. I've shown the amount of the grants in approximate numbers being requested for each beneath the image.
So, there you have it.. nearly $7 million in grants applied for to improve transportation that will affect the bikeability in Costa Mesa. It is assumed that we will know about those grants early in the fall.
INFLUENCE IS IMPORTANT TO THE COMMITTEE
During the presentation several committee members expressed concern for some of the features and asked some excellent questions. Several members expressed concern about not having input on these projects, but it was explained that these were already in the pipeline. Chairman Taboada emphasized his opinion, and those apparently of many other committee members, that they signed up so they would have a voice - that they would be able to provide influence to the City Council.
TANAGER TRAIL CONCERNS
Member Flo Martin
provided a brief Power Point presentation for the group showing the bad condition of the Tanager Bike Trail and her concerns for the safety of that route.
GETTING THEIR SEA LEGS
Both Foley and Munoz suggested that the committee take a couple meetings to get acclimated to the current status of issues to get the sense of where things are already headed. The next meeting apparently will be held the 2nd Monday of each month at the same venue, but will start later - at 6:30 p.m. That should provide the Pension Oversight Committee time to finish it's business.
A GOOD GROUP
A couple observations... Again, I was very impressed with the backgrounds of many of the members of the group and their eagerness to begin the process. And, their specific interests began to show through during the discussions in this 90 minute meeting.
Interestingly, there was virtually NO
discussion on the "Walkability" side of the equation. In fact, there seems to be no champion for that subject on the committee based on the short discussions we heard last night. In my minds-eye, "Walkability" includes not only our ability to hoof it around the city streets safely and efficiently, but also should probably include a discussion of our mobility through areas that are not as precisely delineated - like Fairview Park, for example. We'll see how that shakes out in the future.
And, I was impressed that Brent Stoll
, the young man from Santa Monica who was first appointed (in error), then un-appointed, showed up last night to observe and make notes. His wife is fully immersed in bicycle issues in Santa Monica and he has business interests in Costa Mesa. I suspect he may have insights to share as these meetings progress and hope he will continue to attend. He was one of 8 members of the public attending the meeting last night.
Labels: Bikeway and Walkability Committee, Cynthia McDonald, Ernesto Munoz, Katrina Foley, Pritnam Deshmukh, Raja Sethuraman, Ralph Taboada, Rick Huffman