Come to the High Street Block Party!

Kids! Adults! Inbetweens! Don’t miss the High Street Block Party, May 12, 13 & 14, part of the Better Block project.

Scroll down for details!

High Street Block Party

Advocacy Alert

Advocacy Alert: Bob Jones Trail Extension

Stand up for the Bob Jones Trail

Write your Supervisors & show up!

On Tuesday, May 9th the Board of Supervisors will meet to decide whether to move the Bob Jones Trail Extension project forward, or not.  At least four Supervisors need to vote in favor for the project to move ahead. Bob Jones TrailWhile the San Luis Obispo County Parks & Rec Department has found most of the funds needed to move the Bob Jones Trail forward, it is up to the county Board of Supervisors to approve the use of the money. 

If the Supervisors approve the funding, it will put SLO County in a strong position for additional funds and we could see actual construction of the Bob Jones Trail extension in the next 18 to 24 months.

Please help to move this project forward by doing the following three things:

  • Email or call your Supervisor expressing your support for the additional funding needed to move the Bob Jones Trail project forward. 
  • Show up at 9 am for the May 9th hearing to express your support for this project. We will need a large turnout for the Board of Supervisors so that the minimum four votes are obtained. The Bob Jones Trail item is currently on the consent agenda. If it stays on the consent agenda, there will be no public commentary. This is a great opportunity for signs reading “Support the Bob Jones Trail” “I <3 the Bob Jones Trail” etc. If the item is taken off of the consent agenda for discussion, public comment is encouraged. As always, be polite and respectful. 
  • Forward this request to your friends and family, especially in Arroyo Grande, Nipomo and North County.

Key points to express are:

  • Support the remaining BJT funding necessary to issue the RFP, allowing the project to move forward and become shovel-ready. 
  • SLO County will be applying for a portion of the 200+ million dollars available through ATP grants in early 2018. Having the project shovel-ready will enhance our chances of receiving $10 million in state funds for construction of the BJT extension. 
  • We have already lost significant grant money for this project due to delays, and are at risking of losing an additional $250,000 grant if progress is not made soon. 
  • Funding for this RFP will not impact the County’s progress on the Nipomo Parks projects that are in the works.  

Below is the contact information for the Board of Supervisors.

District 1: John Peschong, jpeschong@co.slo.ca.us
District 2: Bruce Gibson, bgibson@co.slo.ca.us
District 3: Adam Hill, ahill@co.slo.ca.us
District 4: Lynn Compton, lcompton@co.slo.ca.us
District 5: Debbie Arnolddarnold@co.slo.ca.us

Advocacy Alert

SLO City Alert! ACT TODAY!

Tell SLO City Council

Keep bike projects moving forward

Tonight SLO City Council will be reviewing staff budget recommendations that put the brakes on bike projects which were deemed high priorities in the budget priority process two years ago. It is important to reach out to City Council before 11 a.m. TODAY, or to attend the second part of the SLO City Council meeting this evening starting at 8 p.m. to comment directly to City Council to make sure that these projects don’t stall.

Whether you are sending email or commenting in person, please always remember to be respectful and to thank the City Council for the previous work to connect and expand the city’s bicycle transportation network.

Talking points:

  • I am part of the 20 percent dedicated to helping the city meet its 20 percent trips-by-bike goal.
  • In the last budget cycle, the City Council funded feasibility studies for three projects: 1) Safe Routes to School for Pacheco and Bishop’s Peak Elementary Schools, 2) a bicycle/pedestrian crossing on Foothill Boulevard at Ferrini Road and 3) the Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard. Please follow through and allocate funding for improvements recommended in the studies. Finish what has been started to provide a more safe and convenient connection for people living on the north side of the city to downtown.
  • Please delay the Penny Lane bridge over the Union Pacific RR tracks project and allocate the funding to the Safe Routes to Schools, Foothill/Ferrini crossing and Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard projects. This project is a temporary fix and the funds are better spent on shovel ready projects.
  • Thank you for securing the grant for the Railroad Safety Trail segment from Taft Street to Pepper Street, including the bridge over the railroad tracks behind California Highway Patrol headquarters. Support staff’s recommendation for a feasibility study for the next segment from Pepper Street to the Amtrak station. Complete the Railroad Safety Trail to provide a complete network for people on bikes and pedestrians between Cal Poly and downtown and eventually Orcutt Road.
  • Support staff’s recommendation to place a higher priority on the Bob Jones Trail segment between Oceanaire and Calle Joaquin over the segment from LOVR to the Octagon Barn because of limited funds. But please insist that the next budget cycle must fund the segment from Los Osos Valley Road to the Octagon Barn in anticipation of the opening of the Octagon Barn for public use, pending approval of the Avila Ranch and San Luis Ranch developments and extension of the county’s segment of the trail from the Octagon Barn to the Ontario Road staging area.
  • Please fund a feasibility study of a Highway 101 at Marsh Street Crossing to determine the best fix to the gap in the bicycle transportation network between downtown San Luis Obispo and the Laguna Lake area. Without this vital connection in the City’s bicycle transportation network, more people will choose to travel between downtown and the Laguna Lake area by personal motor vehicle for safety reasons even though the distance is easily covered by bicycle or on foot. The existing crossing to the Madonna bike path is so perilous that experienced bicyclists avoid it, and Laguna Middle School students rarely consider it as a viable option for safe travel to school. The proposed San Luis Ranch development is only responsible for its fair share of transportation improvements, and fixing this gap is not included.
  • Support continuation of $100,000 annually for miscellaneous bike projects and $60,000 annually for maintenance of bike/pedestrian facilities.

If you cannot attend the hearing, please e-mail the Mayor and City Council at: emailcouncil@slocity.org, preferably before 11 a.m. today. Address your e-mails to Mayor Harmon and City Council Members Christianson, Gomez, Pease and Rivoire.

Or you can send e-mails to each member individually:

Mayor Heidi Harmon: hharmon@slocity.org
Carlyn Christianson: cchristianson@slocity.org
Aaron Gomez: agomez@slocity.org
Andy Pease: apease@slocity.org
Dan Rivoire: drivoire@slocity.org

Remember, public comments on SLO City staff’s recommendations on the 2017-19 budget cycle will not be accepted until approximately 8 p.m. or later. The 4 p.m. session is for the staff presentation only. If you really want to attend and comment in person, a good strategy is to watch the meeting live from home on Charter Cable Government Access Channel 20 or streamed online via the City Council website at: http://www.slocity.org/government/mayor-and-city-council/agendas-and-minutes. Time your appearance on when the discussion on a petition to repeal or replace the rental housing inspection program is coming to a close.

Thank You!

Advocacy Alert

Finish the Bob Jones Trail Extension

Ask Parks and Rec to Move the Bob Jones Trail Forward

This Thursday, March 23, 2017, the SLO County Parks and Recreation Commission will consider “strategy for funding the Bob Jones Pathway Construction Documents and Right-of-Way consulting services” for the trail’s 4.4-mile extension from the Octagon Barn to the Ontario Road staging area.

At stake is grant funding for a Request for Proposals (RFP) for consulting services to prepare construction and right-of-way documents for the trail’s long anticipated extension. This work is needed to move the project to “shovel-ready” status and thus eligible for grant funding. Bike SLO County and other groups that support completion of the Bob Jones Trail disagree with the County Parks and Recreation Department staff recommendation to delay bringing any funding requests to the Board of Supervisors.

We take issue with any further delay for this project of regional significance for locals and visitors. The Bob Jones Trail extension is in the final stages of environmental study and review and needs to move forward. While the $775,000 in grant funding earmarked for the RFP are insufficient to cover its estimated $1.1 million cost, the Board of Supervisors can choose to cover the estimated $380,000 shortfall now with Parks Public Facilities Fees or funds from other sources. The important issue is for the SLO County Parks and Recreation Commission to recommend bringing the RFP funding request  to the Board of Supervisors. Failure to move forward endangers work already completed and paid for, adding additional cost and time to a project already years behind schedule.

The Bob Jones Trail extension has been promised for decades. Other pieces of the trail network, including the Octagon Barn and Bob Jones trailhead, are in the works.

The Parks and Recreation Commission meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors’ chambers in the county Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., SLO. Bob Jones Trail is item 9 on the agenda.

What can I do?

  • Attend the meeting and ask the Parks and Recreation Commission to recommend bringing the RFP funding request to the Board of Supervisors.
  • Email the Parks and Recreation Commissioners and let them know that you want the Bob Jones Trail to move forward now. Email addresses for the Commissioners:

Pandora Nash-Karner
pandora@pandoraandcompany.com

Bruce Hilton
bruce.hilton@post.harvard.edu

Connie O’Henley
connie@clarkcenter.org

Kenny Dahlen
kennydahlen@gmail.com

Whether you attend the meeting, email the Commissioners or both, here is some language that might help:

Dear Commission Chair and Members:

Please recommend that the Board of Supervisors allocate Parks Public Facility Fees or other funds to cover the estimated shortfall for the Request for Proposals to provide consulting services for construction and right-of-way documents for the Bob Jones Trail 4.4-mile extension.

This work is needed to move the extension project to “shovel-ready” status and thus eligible for grant funding. The county must fulfill its commitment to complete this stretch of the City to the Sea Trail. Further delays could cause work that has already been completed to expire, adding additional cost and time to a project already years behind schedule.

Sincerely,

(Your Name)

Additional Info:

WHEN:        Thursday, March 23, 2017 6 PM

WHERE:     SLO County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., SLO (map)

WHAT:       SLO County Parks and Recreation Commission meeting to consider “strategy for funding the Bob Jones Pathway Construction Documents and Right-of-Way consulting services”.

Agenda: http://agenda.slocounty.ca.gov/agenda/sanluisobispo/822/QWdlbmRh/6/n/75506.doc

Staff Report: http://agenda.slocounty.ca.gov/agenda/sanluisobispo/7205/SXRlbSBEb2N1bWVudCAoUHVibGljKSA=/14/n/75504.doc

Advocacy Alert

Let The Supervisors Know You Support The Bob Jones Trail

The next phase of the Bob Jones Trail, the section between South Higuera and Ontario Road, is ready to proceed. Unfortunately the project is stalled and in order to continue making progress the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors need to hear that people want this project completed. Please read on and then email TODAY or attend and speak at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday March 7th.

Why Does this Matter?

Though a Request for Proposal (RFP) for this portion of the Bob Jones Trail has been completed and approved by Caltrans, the County has not put it out for bids. Once put out for bids and contracted, the RFP would complete the Plans, Specs and Engineering (PSE) and Right of Way (ROW) necessary for the South Higuera to Ontario Road section of the trail to become “shovel ready”.

Why does this matter?

  • Delaying the project causes the price of the project to go up. Construction prices will continue to rise. The longer we wait, the higher the price tag.
  • A long delay may necessitate that a supplemental EIR be prepared, adding additional time and money to the completion of the Bob Jones Trail.
  • Completion of PSE and ROW will make this section of the trail “shovel ready” and thus eligible for additional grant funding that it can’t qualify for in its present state. Those grants save SLO County money that can be used on other needs.
  • Families, children and individuals from all over SLO County currently use the Bob Jones Trail. Let’s complete the entire project to improve the safety, physical fitness and quality of life for residents and visitors throughout SLO County.

What can I do about it?

EMAIL: Contact the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors by email at boardofsups@co.slo.ca.us and ask them to place an item on the agenda in the very near future to put the Request For Proposal (RFP) for Plans, Specs and Engineering (PSE) and Right of Way (ROW) for the South Higuera to Ontario Road section of the Bob Jones Trail out to bid. Remember to be respectful and to clearly state what you are writing about.

Feel free to amend, copy and paste the text included below:

Esteemed Supervisors,

I’m writing today to comment on Item 13, “Status update on the Public Facilities Financing Plan for Unincorporated Area Facilities”. I respectfully urge the Supervisors to support the completion of the Bob Jones Trail by placing an item on the agenda in the very near future to put the Request For Proposal (RFP) for Plans, Specs and Engineering (PSE) and Right of Way (ROW) for the South Higuera to Ontario Road section of the trail out to bid. Not only has the RFP been completed and approved by Caltrans, grant money will pay for roughly 75% of the cost. With $750,000 of grant money available, the County will pay $280,000 or less to award this contract. Completion of PSE and ROW will make this section of the trail “shovel ready” and thus eligible for additional grant funding that it can’t qualify for in its present state.

Delay in putting this contract out for bid may have serious repercussions. Construction costs will of course rise over time. The longer the delay, the higher the cost. In light of the time and money already been spent, moving forward now will help keep costs down on a project already in progress. Additionally, a long delay may necessitate that a supplemental EIR be prepared, adding additional costs, additional delays and once again raising the price to complete the Bob Jones Trail.

Portions of the Bob Jones Trail now in use serve the recreational and fitness needs of pedestrians and bicycle riders countywide. Families, children and individuals flock to the safety and beauty offered by the trail. Tourists and tourist dollars from outside SLO County are drawn year-round to the already completed section of the trail linking Ontario Road with Avila Beach.

I support the Supervisors efforts to improve the safety, physical fitness and quality of life for residents and visitors throughout SLO County. Completing the Bob Jones Trail accomplishes all three.  Please add this item to the Supervisors agenda as soon as possible.

Thank you,

(Your Name, Your Address)

Attend the Board of Supervisors Meeting:

When: March 7th, 2017. The meeting begins at 9. It is uncertain when Item 13 will be discussed, but to be on the safe side try and be there no later than 9:30 a.m. Please note that Item 13 is listed as “Status update on the Public Facilities Financing Plan for Unincorporated Area Facilities”, not as Bob Jones Trail. On this item Supervisors will be discussing Parks funding in general and while they will not be able to make a decision directly on the Bob Jones RFP, this is the best time to address the Supervisors and ask that they keep the Bob Jones Trail alive and moving forward.

Where: Government Center Board Chambers located at 1055 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.

How: Submit a BOARD APPEARANCE REQUEST FORM prior to the Item being presented on the agenda. These are available at Board of Supervisors meeting.

Public Workshop: The Future of Downtown SLO

The City of San Luis Obispo has announced that the Draft Downtown Concept Plan is available for review. After 13 months of work by staff, consultants, the public, and the Council-appointed Creative Vision Team (CVT), the Draft Downtown Concept Plan lays out a long-range vision for the downtown; it includes both an illustrative diagram and a supplemental narrative that together provide the story to help guide the achievement of the community’s long-range vision for the downtown.

Imagine Downtown SLOA public workshop is being held this Saturday, February 4, to review key components of the Draft Plan. Workshop participants will have a first-hand opportunity to provide feedback to help shape the future of downtown. Wants to see more bike infrastructure downtown? Show up and speak up!

Following the workshop, the public will be invited to provide additional input through Open City Hall on the city’s website, and at a series of advisory committee and other meetings. Council action is scheduled for August 2017.

Workshop Details:

Date: Saturday, February 4th, 2017

Time: 1:00-4:00 pm

Location: City/County Library Community Room, 995 Palm St

  • Drop in at your convenience
  • See a presentation from the project team at 1:15 or 2:45
  • Review key components of the draft Downtown Concept Plan
  • Give input to inform the final plan
  • Coloring station and snacks for kids of all ages
  • Help decide the future of Downtown SLO

For more information:

Visit the project webpage: www.slocity.org/downtown

Or contact project manager Rebecca Gershow: rgershow@gmail.com, or 805.781.7011

Meet Our New Executive Director

Attend a Meet and Greet This Week

We’re excited to introduce our new Executive Director, Mike Bennett who joined Bike SLO County in early January. Late last year our Board of Directors selected Mike to take over Executive Director responsibilities from Interim Executive Director and Board of Directors Treasurer Tyler Wertenbruch. 

Executive Director Mike BennettMike graduated from Cal Poly in 1989, having been an active member of the Cal Poly Wheelmen and Velo Club San Luis throughout the four years he spent in SLO. When not racing or studying, Mike worked at the now defunct Spirit Cycle Works. He recently returned to San Luis Obispo after spending 24 years serving as an Officer and Aviator in the Marine Corps and a couple of years wrenching in a bike shop.

“I am grateful that the Bike SLO County Board has given me the opportunity to lead the exceptional Bike SLO County team. Our staff, members, and volunteers have, for 15 years, been making significant contributions to the quality of life within San Luis Obispo County. I hope to help them continue to grow the organization and to make the local transportation environment safer and more enjoyable for cyclists and non-cyclists alike,” said Bennett.

There are a few upcoming opportunities to meet Mike in the Bike Kitchen. Mike will be in the Kitchen for a few hours this Thursday and Saturday wrenching on bikes. Stop in, say hi and get to know our new Executive Director. Save room for coffee, donuts and other refreshments. Bring your bike and Mike will clean your chain!

When:  Thursday January 26, Noon – 1:30 p.m.
What:   Executive Director Meet and Greet
Where: Bike Kitchen, 860 Pacific St, SLO, CA 93401 (map)

When:  Saturday January 28, Noon – 1:30 p.m.
What:   Executive Director Meet and Greet
Where: Bike Kitchen, 860 Pacific St, SLO, CA 93401 (map)

Survey

Take the Survey – Bike the Vote!

Participate: Community Priorities Survey and Community Forum

It seems like it was just yesterday, but the time for the bike community of San Luis Obispo to stand up and be counted is here again. Every two years, the City of SLO establishes the top priorities to make San Luis Obispo an even better place to live, work and play. The City Council then matches the resources necessary to achieve these priorities through adopting the budget in June.  ibikeivoteThe adopted budget sets the City’s course of action for the next two years and helps the City to continue to provide the exceptional services and programs the community cherishes.

In previous years the bike community has been a strong presence in the preliminary Community Priorities Survey and at the Community Forum that follows, resulting in bike and pedestrian improvements throughout the town. While we’re happy to see the ongoing improvements, there is always more that needs improving. 

With recent narrow failure of Measure J, which would have generated about $25 million dollars per year for local roads and transportation countywide, it is now more important than ever for people who support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements to stand up and be heard. For residents of the City of SLO, there are two easy steps to take:

  • Take the Community Priorities Survey before midnight on December 14, 2016 and your answers will be summarized and presented to the City Council at the Community Forum in January. A link to the survey site is here: Community Priorities Survey
  • Attend the City Council Community Forum on January 10, 2017  from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Ludwick Community Center, 864 Santa Rosa St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (map).  This forum is an opportunity to present your ideas to the Council and discuss them with other community members.

While many of us in San Luis Obispo will rightly raise our concerns for the projects that we see making the most difference in our daily lives, The Bike SLO County Advocacy Team suggests support for the four following priorities. Experience has shown us that when we focus on a concentrated number of projects we are able to see them adopted and built:

  1. Complete the next segment of the Railroad Safety Trail – Pepper Street to the train station – while continuing the effort to create a permanent trail separated from traffic citywide. (The city received a grant for the segment from Taft to Pepper Street, including a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks behind California Highway Patrol headquarters. Construction is scheduled to start in 2017.)
  2. Complete the Bob Jones Trail, with the priority of designing and constructing the Los Osos Valley Road to the Octagon Barn connection. (The feasibility study is complete and environmental study in the approval process.)
  3. Design and construct Safe Routes to School to Pacheco and Bishop Peak elementary schools, including the Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard from Monterey Street to Ramona Drive and safer bicycle/pedestrian crossings of Foothill Boulevard at Ferrini Road and Patricia/La Entrada. (The previous budget approved feasibility studies for these projects, which are under way.)
  4. Feasibility study for a Madonna Road protected bikeway and improvements to the bikeway crossing of Highway 101 between Marsh Street and Madonna bike path. (The proposed San Luis Ranch project may include some of these improvements.)

Survey Deadline: Midnight December 14th. Do it now! Community Priorities Survey

City Council Community Forum: January 10, 2017  from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Ludwick Community Center, 864 Santa Rosa St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (map). Put it on your calendar now then show up and be heard on January 10th.

Pro-Tip: The Community Forum has historically been extremely crowded, with all seats packed, people standing and also observing from the lobby. If you enjoy sitting down, show up to get a seat early. If you enjoy standing up for 3+ hours at a time, show up at 6:30 or later. Bottled water? Bring some, and even bring some to give to folks sitting or standing nearby. The Ludwick Community Center can get pretty hot and stuffy when packed with the many civically involved citizens of SLO.