This coming Monday, March 15th, there is going to be a public discussion on the plan to redo the streetscaping of 20th St. and Cloverfield Blvd. Currently both of these streets are not especially pleasant places to be a cyclist and have poor pavement condition. They also represent one of the biggest gaps in the Santa Monica bicycle route network, with no North/South routes between 17th and Stewart. Since street options with bridges over the freeway are limited, each street that makes that crossing becomes an important matter. With the revamp of these streets comes a great opportunity to make sure cyclists are in the discussion, and I highly urge all cyclists with an interest in making Santa Monica a better place to ride to attend. It's important our voices are ideas are heard, and equally important to simply shows numbers, a presence that says we are constituency that demands respect and is paying attention.
When this rescaping was first proposed I believe it was really only to put some trees up, and the discussion of providing better conditions for cyclists was an idea that hatched later. If we don't show our support to keep the cycling discussion going, there are some that would prefer this go back to purely a repave and "beautification" discussion. Let's make sure this project is more than just what type of tree is going to be planted.
Of the two streets I would most like to see a strong consideration for making 20th St. a class II bike route (bike lanes), as it has close proximity to two schools, including SMC, and connects all the way to Montana to the North and Ocean Park to the south. Which would add connectivity with several East/West bike routes, including Broadway, Pearl, Ocean Park and come just shy of the bike lanes of Montana Ave which begin slightly further West. Cloverfield should be made more cycling friendly than it is presently, but I think will be the more difficult of the two to make into a good place to ride, as it encounters a lot heavier traffic with it's Eastward connection to the 10 freeway. However I don't think that means we should abandon hope to reform Cloverfield. With it's connection to some of the biggest job centers in Santa Monica, if we want to encourage cycling to work, the business district is going to need to be better served by safe cycling routes.
I'm also interested in proposing if there lacks the political will for bike lanes, to make this an opportunity for Santa Monica to get with the program and try sharrow markings like Long Beach, Hermosa Beach and coming soon, The City of Los Angeles. Sharrows would not take away an inch of lane space for automobiles, but would commicate clearly bikes have a right to the road, and can take the center of the lane when necessary to avoid the door zone. In the numerous cities now that have implemented sharrows, they have been shown to influence safer behavior and passing by motorists, and reduced the number of cyclists riding the wrong away in traffic or taking the sidewalk.
I hope you can make it out. The meeting is taking place at Virgina Park, right in the heart of the communities this will impact, on Monday the 15th from 7-9pm. See you there.
Official Event Flier