Monday, June 20, 2011

Laguna Beach Plans for Bike Safety in North Laguna

The City Council of Laguna Beach approved a bill to apply Sharrow stencils,  a double-chevron bicycle symbol, on the inland side of Pacific Coast Highway in North Laguna. The Stencils signal motorists to share the lane with bicyclists on the road. Sharrows indicate that cyclists have the right of way and enough room to avoid getting “doored” from a parked car and seriously injured. Read the full article in the Laguna Beach Independent here.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

3-foot Passing Law clears California Senate

California could soon become the nation's 19th state to enact a 3-foot passing law to protect bicyclists. Last week the California Senate approved CBC-sponsored Senate Bill 910 by a 27-9 vote, sending the bill to the Assembly.

SB 910, authored by Long Beach Sen. Alan Lowenthal and cosponsored by the City of Los Angeles, would establish three feet as the minimum clearance when a motorist passes a bicyclist from behind under most conditions. Three feet is the passing distance recommended in the California Driver's Handbook.

Friday, June 17, 2011

New EV Charging Stations in Laguna Beach

Two electric vehicle charging stations are available in Laguna Beach at Broadway and Forest Avenue. The charging stations will be commissioned by City Council on 21 June 4:00pm See the Laguna Beach Independent Facebook page for more details.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Renownd Danish architect Jan Gehl compares walking cities and design

Jan Gehl writes, "Pedestrian underpass systems had the additional disadvantage of being dark and dank, and people generally feel insecure if they are unable to see very far ahead. In short, the often expensive pedestrian underpasses and bridges were in conflict with the basic premises for good pedestrian landscapes. Seen in the perspective of current visions of inviting people to walk and bicycle more in cities, clearly pedestrian underpasses and bridges can only be solutions in those special cases where major highways must be crossed. Solutions must be found for all other roads and streets that allow pedestrians and bicycles to stay on street level and cross with dignity. An integrated traffic model will also make city streets friendlier and safer as cars will have to move more slowly and stop more often.

Today the world is full of abandoned pedestrian underpasses and bridges. They belong to a certain time and a certain philosophy." Read the complete article and see photos here. 

Bike Safety increases with greater bike numbers

Washington DC Transportation Department's Jim Sebastian wants to make DC the most bike friendly city in the country, they are #6 in the nation now. Their 9 year plan started with a Bicycle Master Plan to build bike routes, lanes, and trails. Jim says it is the job of city planning departments, police departments, school districts or developers to knock down barriers to bicycle mobility. Local bike commuter Lori Leibowitz says bike safety improves with greater bike numbers, greater numbers teach auto commuters of their presence. See the BBC story and video here.

Let's $tart the Laguna Beach Car-Free Project

So you noticed the traffic in Laguna Beach and you're bracing for the busy summer tourist season? Santa Barbara sees traffic spoiling their town too, they write "Vehicles are a major source of smog pollution and greenhouse gases contributing to global climate change. The Santa Barbara Car Free Project is a cooperative partnership founded in 1998 and led by the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District for cleaner air and a healthier planet."

Car-free discounts are one intervention measure to reduce the number of automobiles using city streets. Santa Barbara has implemented a car-free plan where hotels, rentals and dining are discounted if you arrive  by other means than a private car. Read the complete story here. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pedestrian Deaths Preventable

Over the last decade 47,700 pedestrians were killed and 688,000 were injured nationwide in automobile related traffic accidents. A startling statistic shows the relationship of pedestrian fatalities to vehicle speeds. In  "Dangerous by Design" by Transportation for America page 27 says (simplified):

"Confirming the risk of vehicle speed, our analysis of NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database shows that nearly 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or greater. In contrast, only 1 percent of the 45,294 pedestrian deaths ... occurred on roads with a speed limit of 20 mph or lower."

Slowing the traffic on South Coast Highway at the Hip District and Laguna Canyon Road at Broadway would balance mixed mobility on these multi-use roadways and greatly contribute to pedestrian safety. The executive summary recommends the provisions of Complete Streets nationwide to improve pedestrian safety. Read the full report here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Freedom from Oil, a new D.C. policy proposal consistent with Complete Streets

June 2 2011 Washington DC: The  Congressional Livable Communities Task Force released a set of policy proposals they say will lead to "Freedom from Oil." These policy proposals are consistent with Complete Streets Policy to reduce dependency on imported oil, improve safety, revitalize the business district.

Here's a snip from the Executive Summary:

"Providing a range of transportation choices can help break auto dependence, giving us freedom from the increasing costs and uncertainty associated with oil... As gas prices have risen, transportation costs have become unsustainable... As severely congested roadways consume our financial resources, our time, and our quality of life, Americans are demanding more and better choices in where to live and how to get around... giving residents the option to walk, bike, or take public transportation if they prefer not to drive.

... Actions as simple as combining short car trips or replacing them with walking or biking can result in significant oil savings for the nation." Read the full article in BikePortland here.