Support SB 127

Complete Streets Bill Would Help San Luis Obispo County Bikes and Peds

The following comes to us from our friends at the California Bicycle Coalition:

We’ve all had this experience.

We’re out walking a dog or riding a bike through our neighborhood when, all of a sudden, a car zooms by, too close for comfort. Our hearts race at the close call. We shake our fist at the driver, “Can’t you see people walking here?”

But when those dangerous streets and intersections are state-owned roads, we really should be shaking our fist at the state Department of Transportation (Caltrans), which designs roads that encourage speeding and dangerous driving in urban neighborhoods and rural main streets.

We can do better, but we need help from the state legislature because the worst streets in our communities aren’t under local control. These so-called “state highways” that run through our communities as urban streets or rural main streets are wholly owned and operated by Caltrans.

In San Luis Obispo County from 2016-2017, State Route 41 (Atascadero Rd, E.G. Lewis Hwy, Morro Rd, Robert and Pat Nimmo Memorial Hwy) saw 82 crashes, injuring 109 people, and killing 7 people. Out of those crashes 10 people were injured or killed while walking or biking on or across this state-owned road. The problem is even worse when Caltrans roads go through low-income neighborhoods where more people get around via transit, biking, and walking.

A new bill now moving through the legislature will fix it. The Complete Streets for Active Living bill, SB 127, will mandate that whenever Caltrans repaves or expands a state-owned surface street that passes through urban neighborhoods, they must create safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Do you walk or bike on Highway 41? Or Highway 1? Or Highway 58? Passage of SB 127 will make these vital streets safer for everyone.

Caltrans will often claim to make streets safer when they repair them. They even have a Complete Streets policy that requires their engineers to consider such improvements in every project. But in practice, they prioritize fast traffic over the communities demanding more livable streets almost every single time. While Caltrans should fix dangerous state highways without stronger direction from the Legislature, they often don’t. That why we need the Complete Streets Bill, to provide that direction, and force the safety improvements necessary to stop the killing and maiming on state-owned roads. Caltrans calls them highways but we call them home — lined with small businesses, schools, senior centers, places of worship, parks, and people dear to us, like our children.

The bill is not strict; Caltrans won’t have to implement safety improvements if they’re not appropriate for some reason—for example, if they’re too expensive. And the law only applies to sections where you’re likely to see people walking and biking, about 17% of the total system. But it will force Caltrans to implement safety improvements when it’s cheapest to do so: when they’re repaving the street anyway.

This kind of policy has strong support. A David Binder Research poll found that 78 percent of California voters support a policy requiring safety improvements when improving a road. They want children to be able to safely walk or bike to school.

Californians want safer, more livable streets that support local businesses and local jobs. They want the ability to walk and bike safely, because it’s affordable, healthy, and fun.

Fixing state highways to accommodate all users will improve our communities, our health, and our local economy.

The Complete Streets for Active Living Bill (SB 127) passed the Assembly Transportation Committee, but it has more hurdles to go before it becomes law. Even after months of negotiations with stakeholders to get the bill approved by the Senate, Assembly Members could kill or severely weaken the bill. Every provision that elevates the importance of biking and walking safety is at risk.

That’s why we need you to tell your state assembly member vote YES on SB 127, the Complete Streets for Active Living Bill today.

Take Action here.

City of SLO Budget Priorities Meeting

Stand Up for Bikes on Wednesday, January 23!

Bike community members who live, work or play in the city of San Luis Obispo should attend the SLO Budget Priorities meeting on January 23rd to stand up for bikes and multi-modal transportation. Attendance at this event is the best way to show City Council and Staff that we need safer streets for everyone.

Unlike previous years, it isn’t necessary to attend the entire event. Attendees will be able to voice their opinions with a dot poll throughout the event. Dots will be distributed when forum attendees arrive and can be placed at various project stations during the event.

Please support:

  • Major City Goal: Multi-Modal Transportation (Prioritize implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan, pedestrian safety, and the Short-Range Transit Plan)
  • Anholm Bikeway Plan: Design, construct, and maintain bikeway from Lincoln to Ramona & install art and lighting to enhance the US 101 underpass.
  • Railroad Safety Trail: Design and construct Pepper St to the train station & Jennifer St. bridge to Iris (connecting to French Hospital Trail).
  • Broad Street Crossing Improvement: Design and construct a “HAWK” beacon (a traffic control device used to stop road traffic and allow pedestrians to cross safely) at Woodbridge Street.

This year’s meeting takes place at the SLO Vet’s Hall from 6-9 PM. Our free Bike Valet will be parking bikes throughout the event so ride your bike!

WHAT: Budget Priorities Meeting
WHERE: SLO Vets Hall, 801 Grand Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (map)
WHEN: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 6-9 PM

Advocacy Alert: Stand Up for Bikes!

City of SLO Community Survey & Budget Priorities Meeting

Every two years, the City of San Luis Obispo establishes a list of top priorities that will make SLO a better place to live, work, and play. The City is asking the community for input on the 2019-21 budget through an online survey and community forum. It is vitally important that members of the bike community participate in this process in order to convey the need for bike lanes, multi-modal transportation options and safer streets to our City Council members and city staff.

Bike SLO County agrees with the city’s Active Transportation Committee that the following three projects should receive priority during 2019-2021:

  • Anholm Bikeway Plan: Design, construct, and maintain bikeway from Lincoln to Ramona & install art and lighting to enhance the US 101 underpass.
  • Railroad Safety Trail: Design and construct Pepper St to the train station & Jennifer St. bridge to Iris (connecting to French Hospital Trail).
  • Broad Street Crossing Improvement: Design and construct a “HAWK” beacon (a traffic control device used to stop road traffic and allow pedestrians to cross safely) at Woodbridge Street.

There are two ways to provide input to the city:

1) Community members can participate by first completing the Community Priorities Survey at  https://www.opentownhall.com/portals/189/Issue_6825The deadline for participation is 11:59 AM on January 16, 2019. The City is placing increased emphasis on the survey this year so it is important that you complete it. Please consider mentioning the specific projects above as well as choosing the “Current Major City Goal: Multi-Modal Transportation” in the survey. Additionally, all of the projects above contribute not only to the city’s current Multi-Modal Transportation goals but also augment the city’s progress on the Climate Action Plan goals.

2) Community members should also attend the meeting on January 23rd where you’ll be able to voice your opinion with a dot poll throughout the event. In a change from previous years, dots will be distributed when forum attendees arrive and can be placed at various project stations during the event. Please consider placing dots on the specific projects mentioned above.

And ride your bicycle! Our free Bike Valet will be there to provide lots of secure bike parking.

WHAT: Community Priorities Survey at https://www.opentownhall.com/portals/189/Issue_6825The deadline for participation is 11:59 AM on January 16, 2019! 

AND…

WHAT: Budget Priorities Meeting
WHERE: SLO Vets Hall, 801 Grand Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (map)
WHEN: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 6-9 PM

Stand up for the Bob Jones Trail

Tell your Board of Supervisors to vote YES on the Bob Jones Trail

On Tuesday July 10th at 9 a.m., the SLO County Board of Supervisors will vote on the engineering design contract for the section of the Bob Jones Trail from the Octagon Barn to Ontario Road.

The item, #25 on the consent agenda, needs the support of at least four of the five supervisors to pass. Please attend the meeting if possible and speak in favor of approval. If you would like to speak, make sure to fill out a “Board Appearance Request Form” and submit it to the Clerk before the Board before begins consideration of the item. Please plan to keep your remarks short (under three minutes) and respectful. To make sure you get a chance to speak, it is suggested that you show up by 9 a.m.

If you can’t attend, please send an email to the Supervisors at boardofsups@co.slo.ca.us. Clicking the link should open a pre-written email. Simply add your name at the end or change the remarks to your liking and send.

The text of the sample email is also provided below if you would prefer to cut and paste:

Esteemed Supervisors,

I’m writing today to encourage you to vote in favor of the Item 25 of the consent agenda:

“Request to 1) approve a contract for professional consultant services with Wallace Group, in an amount not to exceed $1,003,051, for the Bob Jones Pathway from the Octagon Barn to Ontario Road; 2) authorize the Director of Public Works to approve amendments to the contract, in an amount not to exceed a contingency of $60,000; 3) approve a new capital project for Bob Jones Pathway from the Octagon Barn to Ontario Road Project; and 4) authorize a budget adjustment, in the amount of $1,429,427, from remaining balance of Capital Project – Bob Jones Trail Ontario Road, to fund Capital Project – Bob Jones Pathway from the Octagon Barn to Ontario Road, through the initial design phase, by 4/5 vote.”

Completion of this phase of the Bob Jones Trail project will benefit SLO County residents from all districts. This project not only provides SLO County residents (and visitors) with a great form of recreation, it also helps the County move closer to their mode-share goal of 20%, helps move SLO County towards achieving Vision Zero and addresses the goals in our County Climate Action Plan.

Please vote in favor of this item.

Thank you for your work on this project,

 Your Name Goes Here (Change this!!)

Anholm Bikeway Design Charrette

The Anholm Bikeway Design Charrette takes place this Thursday May 10th from 6:00PM to 8:00PM at the City/County Library, 995 Palm Street in SLO. (Lingo alert! A charette is an intensive planning session where citizens, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development. It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the planners/designers/etc.)

 

SLO City Council asked staff to reach out to the community to develop plans which include diverters on Broad Street and traffic calming devices along the peripheral streets in an effort to shift vehicle traffic out of the neighborhood and onto Santa Rosa. This is your opportunity to suggest concepts to be considered in the Anholm Bikeway Plan.

Bike SLO County is asking for members in the bike community to come join in the workshop and provide a voice in support of safe routes for vulnerable roadway users and to increase ridership within our city. We anticipate many vocal residents who are opposed to any significant change to the roadways to show up and argue against any diverters, changes to circulation, or removal of parking. Bike SLO County needs you to come out and provide constructive suggestions that align with the City’s modal shift goal, climate action plan, and bike master plan. We believe that the best way to attract new riders is to provide more bicycle facilities like bike boulevards and protected bike lanes. Protected bike lanes have been discussed thoroughly and are considered the backup option if the bike boulevard approach is not received well or not likely to meet the city’s goals. This workshop will only focus on developing ideas for a bike boulevard with traffic calming and we want your to help shape that into something the bike community can support. 
 
The staff will take the suggestions developed during the workshop to the Active Transpiration Committee (formally Bike Advisory Committee) on May 17th. This will be another opportunity to voice your support. Staff will then continue to refine the plans for approval from the Planning Commission in July and from SLO City Council in August. 

 

Speak up for the Anholm Bikeway!

On Tuesday, April 10th at 6:00PM, the Anholm Bikeway is on the SLO City Council agenda. Again.

As some of you are aware, the SLO City Council adopted a resolution on the Anholm Bikeway Plan on February 20th as a consent item.  Subsequently, the City received a letter from members of the public outlining beliefs that the Council violated statutes of the Brown Act, by adopting the resolution as part of the consent portion of the agenda. The City Attorney reviewed the claims in the letter and concluded that the Council acted within its legal discretion and that there was no violation of the Brown Act. However, since the City’s primary objectives in public engagement are to accommodate different perspectives and encourage more residents to be involved in shaping decisions, the item has been placed back on the Council agenda but as a regular business item with the recommendation that Council rescind the prior resolution adopted on Feb 20th and take separate action on the Plan with an updated resolution. The Plan itself remains as Council approved at the Feb 20th meeting.  More details are in the full staff report.

Staff’s recommendation is to adopt the resolution with the same outcome from the Feb 20th meeting, which allows staff to continue to explore a couple more options for the middle section. There are long time residents that live in the Anholm district, and others within our community, that are vehemently opposed to any bicycle infrastructure improvement projects, as it changes the status quo that they are comfortable with. It is crucial that we, as bicycling and community advocates, continue to voice our support of these improvements that impact and improve bicycle safety, create better community and move our community forward.

Here is where you come in. Whether your live, work or play in San Luis Obispo, we need to encourage the SLO City Council to adopt this resolution as it is presented. We need you to come to the Council meeting and speak up in favor of the adopted resolution. Below is a template letter to Council and talking points. Please modify and add to bring your own experience and voice to the letter. We have a few more efforts to make on this project, but this project will set the expectation for how the City of SLO tackles our mode shift, climate action, and vision zero goals. The item is first on the public comment so be there promptly at 6:00 to speak up on April 10th at SLO City Council Chambers (map). Keep it brief and to the point, we’ll debate the options for the middle section of the plan in the near future. Additionally, you can email your comments to the Council at emailcouncil@slocity.org

Item 1 – Anholm Bikeway

Dear Mayor and Council,

I am speaking to urge you to adopt the resolution as presented tonight and agreed upon during the Feb 20th meeting. I believe this approach/resolution is an accurate reflection of your intent after a lengthy public comment on Feb 6th. I respect the decision to adopt the resolution in a more engaging fashion. This project has been contentious, but many of us are supportive of the decisions you have made and your willingness to tackle some of the difficult issues facing our city and environment. Moving forward on this project, we need to choose the option that best meets our city goals and is best for every road user and community member. Please adopt the resolution as presented tonight.

Thank you,

(Your name)

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Support the Preferred Alternative

On the evening of Tuesday, February 6 the San Luis Obispo City Council will have the opportunity to adopt the “Preferred Alternative” for the Anholm Bikeway plan (previously the Broad St. Bike Blvd). The Preferred Alternative includes protected bike lanes along Chorro St. while the less desirable Lincoln St. alternative relies heavily on sharrows. Both connect to the planned Safe Routes to School crossing on Foothill Blvd. Bike SLO County believes that the Lincoln St. alternative won’t do enough to raise ridership or increase safety for riders. You can learn more about the two alternatives at  https://www.peakdemocracy.com/portals/189/Issue_3444

Bike SLO County urges you to consider taking one or more of the following timely actions before Tuesday’s meeting. See below for email template and attached for additional points to consider for both written and spoken comments):

1. Write an email to the city council (emailcouncil@slocity.org) supporting the Preferred Alternative. To ensure that City Council receives and reads your email, submit no later than noon on TuesdayFebruary 6th.
2. Submit your letter and comments here: https://www.peakdemocracy.com/portals/189/Issue_3444/
3. Write a letter to the editor and send via email to the Tribune (letters@thetribunenews.com) and the New Times (letters@newtimesslo.com)

At Tuesday’s meeting:

1. Attend to show your support and raise your hand when comments are made supporting the Preferred Alternative. Meeting takes place at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, City Hall, 990 Palm Street, San Luis Obispo, California 93401.
2. Speak on behalf of the project.
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Email Template 

SUBJECT: Regarding Anholm Bikeway (Broad St. Bike Blvd)

Honorable Mayor and Council Members,

I’m writing to encourage the City Council of the City of San Luis Obispo to adopt the Preferred Alternative of the Anholm Bikeway (Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard) proposal. The Preferred Alternative creates safer streets for everyone — people who drive cars, people who ride bikes and people who walk. The Lincoln St. Alternative doesn’t do enough to raise ridership or increase safety for riders.

Additionally, the Preferred Alternative will play a major role in providing Safe Routes to School for students attending Bishop’s Peak and Pacheco Elementary schools.

Thank you for working to make SLO a better place to live,

YOUR NAME

Stand up for the Broad St Bicycle Boulevard

Tell the SLO City Council what you want

Monday, December 11, 2017

On Monday, Dec. 11th, there will be another community session to review the plans for bicycle improvements in the Chorro/Broad street corridor. Bike SLO County encourages you to attend the meeting to support safer bike and pedestrian facilities. If you are not able to attend, please spend a few minutes to send an email to the city council (emailcouncil@slocity.org) regarding the importance of this connector and safe route for all members of our community. Your email and/or attendance at the meeting will make a real difference.  There are people who don’t want to see the Broad St Bicycle Boulevard get built in any form and they have been very vocal about their opposition. Please take a few minutes to write to City Council or to attend the meeting on December 11th or both.

As it mentions in the information from the City of SLO below, you can read more about the project and past meetings here: (http://www.peakdemocracy.com/3444)
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Over the past year-and-a-half, the City has conducted numerous public engagement activities for the Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard Plan—a proposed transportation improvement plan with the goal of establishing a safe, low-stress through route for bicyclists and pedestrians connecting the downtown with neighborhoods, schools and other points of interest to the north. Most recently, a City Council Study Session was conducted on August 15th, 2017 to invite public input and evaluate potential alternatives for the most challenging segment of the proposed corridor—the middle portion between Lincoln Street and Ramona Drive.  The Study Session concluded with Council directing staff to complete the technical studies and concept designs for the corridor with the following alternatives:

• Preferred Alternative – Route alignment follows Chorro Street (Lincoln to Mission), Mission Street (Chorro to Broad) and Broad Street (Mission to Ramona). Eliminate on-street parking on one side of Chorro and Broad to provide width for dedicated protected/buffered bike lanes.
• Low-Impact Alternative – Route alignment follows Lincoln Street (Chorro to Mission), Mission Street (Lincoln to Broad) and Broad Street (Mission to Ramona). Route operates as bicycle boulevard (shared street) with markings, signage and low-impact traffic calming features to convey bicycle travel. Option includes no dedicated bike lanes or on-street parking removal.

Over the course of the project planning process, the City has conducted three community meetings to encourage neighborhood engagement to guide development of the Plan. A fourth community meeting will be held at the City/County Library on Monday, December 11th, 2017 at 6:00 PM to present the latest project materials. The agenda for this meeting includes:

1. Review of project background, Council Study Session, and other work completed to date
2. Staff presentation of refined concept designs and analysis:
a. Middle Segment (Lincoln to Ramona)
– Recommended Alternative: Broad & Chorro Protected/Buffered Bikeway
– Low-Impact Alternative: Lincoln Street Bike Boulevard Alignment
b. Southern Segment (Downtown to Lincoln)
c. Northern Segment (Ramona to Foothill)
3. Project Implementation (Phasing) & Performance Monitoring Strategies
4. Upcoming meetings and next steps

The goal of this upcoming meeting is to invite public input on the recommended project concept designs and implementation strategies prior to returning to the City Bicycle Advisory Committee (January 2018) and City Council (February 2018) for submittal of the Final Plan for consideration. Two weeks prior to the December 11th meeting, direct notifications will be mailed to all properties along Broad Street, Chorro Street and along cross streets within the vicinity of the corridor. City-wide notification of the meeting will be provided by advertisement in the Tribune, the City’s website and social media platforms approximately one week before the meeting.

Those whom cannot attend the meeting are encouraged to visit the project website (http://www.peakdemocracy.com/3444) to review meeting summaries, project materials, provide comments, and subscribe to project updates.

If you have any questions, please contact Project Managers Jennifer Rice and Luke Schwartz via phone or email as follows:

Jennifer Rice
Transportation Planner/Engineer
(805) 781-7058
jrice@slocity.org

Luke Schwartz
Transportation Planner/Engineer
(805) 781-7190
lschwartz@slocity.org