Thursday, April 07, 2016

Bikeways and Walkability Committee Meeting Wrap

The Costa Mesa Bikeways and Walkability Committee met Wednesday evening at the Costa Mesa Senior Center before a very small crowd - four visitors joined the committee this time.  Ten of the twelve members remaining on the committee attended.  Leah Ersoylu and Tony Capitelli did not attend.  Nor did council liaison Katrina Foley and NMUSD liaison Dr. Kirk Bauermeister, both of whom are out of town, or Chamber of Commerce liaison Brent Stoll, who is dealing with family issues.

During Public Comments Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bob Graham stood to ask the committee to push forward to have the existing Bike Map modified to show potential routes.  He also, once again, brought up this idea of opening up the pathway along the Greenville-Banning channel for bicycle and pedestrian use.  When he brought this up to this committee the last time a couple months ago more than 30 neighbors along that channel attended and spoke out strongly against that plan, citing privacy and safety as the main reasons.  Graham is persistent, though.  After he finished Chairman Ralph Taboada said he would ask the committee to discuss putting it on a future agenda at the end of the meeting.  More on that later.

During Committee Member Comments, Rick Huffman stated appreciation for the Greenville-Banning Trail, but also recalled the vehement rejection of the idea by neighbors.
John Merrill spoke on the "Go Human" campaign.  Jim Kerins complimented the staff.
Jim Erickson mentioned the Costa Mesa Community Run, which is coming up and wondered how he could help represent the committee at that event.  He then showed a brief video clip of a Bike Park in Irvine, which includes a resting place and permanently-installed tools.
James Kane, referring to the Greenville-Banning Trail, referred to the "negativity from the NIMBYS" - the neighbors who spoke out at the earlier meeting.  He suggested a large wall could be buile and motion-detector lights installed.
Flo Martin showed slides of a homeless person receiving a citiation from a Costa Mesa Police Officer - perhaps a Park Ranger - for not having her bicycle in a proper bike rack at Wilson Park.  Martin suggested that the adjacent rack was full at the time, which launched a long discussion of bike racks in general.  The city is sorely in need of bike racks in most, if not all, public areas.  Ernesto Munoz suggested this is the time to lobby the city council on that issue since the budget is in the midst of being prepared.
Cynthia McDonald told the group of a Cyclovia in Lynwood/South Gate on May 15th.
Taboada said he will be speaking to the council at the next meeting about bike racks.
Andrea Marr mentioned the "Action Arts In The Park" sponsored by the Cultural Arts Committee, to be held in TeWinkle Park in the afternoon of May 14th.

The first New Business item was a presentation by Pat Hines, founder of Safe Moves, a bicycle education program currently being used in Costa Mesa elementary schools and is funded by the city through a grant by the Orange County Transportation Authority.  Hines formed this business more than three decades ago after her best friend was killed in a bicycling accident.  Since then she and her team have worked with thousands of children all over the state.  The following slides will capture the essence of the program.
Next up was a briefing by Director of Public Services, Ernesto Munoz, on the status of the new Harbor Boulevard Bicycle Trail.  The following slides will help you understand the scope of the project.  Basically, it's providing a 12 foot wide multi-purpose trail removed from the vehicular traffic by landscaped areas and will be lighted with bollard lighting for safety.
Transportation Services Manager Raja Sethruaman provided an update on Grant Projects and explained the status of the project for a signal on Placentia Avenue at the bottom of the hill from Adams Avenue at the northern border of Fairview Park.  That will be installed soon.  Additional funding is being sought for the 19th Street Bicycle Trail to accommodate the processing through the Coastal Commission.  The construction funds are secure.

During the discussion of items for the next meeting agenda Taboada, as promised, opened up the Greenville-Banning path for discussion.  After several minutes of discussion, the commissioners chose NOT to place it on the next agenda, citing the overwhelming negative outcry the last time a couple months ago.  Graham was not happy with that turn of events and grumbled about the residents who showed up at that previous meeting, referring to them as a mob.  Since Graham doesn't like to hear "no", I suspect he will find some other way to get this issue into the municipal discussion.

The committee meets next on May 4th.

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