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September 2 - Updates

Hello everyone! Here’s what’s going on:

Most Important Items First


Council Member Arlis Reynolds’ monthly Costa Mesa Community Ride two Sunday afternoons ago was a huge success. See tiny clip here. EVERYONE is welcome on these casual rides – hope to see you at the next one! (Details below).

On Monday, August 19th we held our second monthly meeting. The topic was on tactical urbanism. I’ve copied the recap email to the bottom of this one in case you missed it. As a result of our discussions at the meeting, our first project will be to add temporary bulbouts at Lil’ Lighthouse Preschool on Magnolia St. and Santa Ana Ave. on the Eastside. Stay tuned!


In Case You Missed It…


THE WASHINGTON POST. Author and professor Thor Hogan asks Could bicycles help save the planet and improve our cities? Spoiler alert: yes, of course! This is a hopeful little history of the bicycle in the city.


CURBED. The American Society of Landscape Architects has published a very simple and straightforward “Universal Design” set of principles for the design of inclusive spaces. With this guide in one hand, and NACTO’s Urban Street Design Guide in the other, people that want to ensure that our city streets and other public spaces are comfortable and equitable have a solid set of criteria to review the proposed projects, and to propose new ones. Curbed explains.


MEDIUM. Alex Dyer has written four excellent articles on Car Blindness. He cuts right to the heart of the great spatial problem of our city: “[t]his quest for the elusive redemption of cars means being unprepared to accept they are incompatible with cities designed for people.” All four are straightforward and well worth reading!


The WAR ON CARS podcast is not one that we intend to feature each time…but the greatest episode so far might have been released since our last email: an interview with Vox’s David Roberts on Barcelona’s superblocks. In it he tells the story of how Barcelona reclaimed miles of their streets, the subsequent reaction of the residents, and what we can learn from what they’ve done. Obviously Costa Mesa is not Barcelona – but many of the same principles that drove them to reclaim so much public space for people still apply.


Bad news


If you’re following the sad story of Senate Bill 127, here’s the latest. It is a bill that “does not mandate any street improvements…[but]…require[s] Caltrans to study the possibility of adding elements for bikes, transit or pedestrians to any project, whether building a new road or resurfacing an existing one.” It doesn’t seem like an outlandish request, but the fact that it is meeting so much resistance should give us a clue as to what we’re up against. This law would apply to state highways that are also surface streets, like Newport Blvd., Beach Blvd., and PCH. Caltrans and the South Bay Council of Governments have expressed opposition to the bill, as have – wait for it – the California Asphalt Pavement Association. See here and here if you need a refresher.


The 2-mile stretch of the 55 freeway is Costa Mesa is set to be renamed the Costa Mesa Fire Captain Michael Kreza Memorial Highway. Captain Kreza was struck by a car while riding his bike on a Saturday morning in Mission Viejo last November. Over 6,000 Americans are struck and killed by cars while walking or biking in our streets each year. Many many more are badly hurt. His wife and three young daughters are left behind.


August 17th - Someone in the Michael’s parking lot on W. 17th accidentally drove onto the sidewalk and into the building with their Porsche, fracturing a young man’s pelvis in the process.


Other News


THE PLANT PROJECT. As we all know, last year this large, mixed-use project behind The Camp was denied over the method by which its parking demand was predicted by a 3-2 council vote, despite unanimous support from the Planning Commission. Since then, the gray area in the code has been resolved, new council members have been elected, and now the project is back before the City Council. Hopefully the discussion will revolve less around how many cars the site can accommodate, and more about 1) how accessible the project is to those on foot, bike, and those using transit, and 2) how well the new buildings relate to and shape the public realm (the street). Everything you would ever want to know about this project can be found in the staff report here (and here is the LA Times article). And if you’re interested in the topic, here’s a Quick, Clear Explanation for Why Parking Minimums Hurt Cities.


Upcoming Events


The next Costa Mesa Community Bike Ride, organized by Councilmember Arlis Reynolds, will be on Sunday, September 15th. Meet up at 2 PM at Tewinkle Park. More details to follow.

We’ve heard rumors that the first public outreach meeting for the proposed Newport Blvd. roadway widening may be scheduled for Monday, September 16th.

We’ve also heard rumors that the first public outreach meeting for the proposed Paularino Channel bikeway improvement project may be scheduled for Tuesday, September 24th.

Our next general meeting will be Monday, September 16 at 7:00 PM; we will continue our discussion of tactical urbanism projects and also talk about imagining what a complete bike network might look like in Costa Mesa.


Forming a nonprofit


We are looking into becoming a formal 501(c)3 nonprofit; if you know of anyone who might be willing to help us navigate this process, we’d appreciate any assistance that could be provided. Contact Marc at marc@cmabs.org.


Schedule


Board meetings occur fourth Mondays at 7 PM (next two: Sept. 23, Oct. 28). Anyone is welcome to join, but they are more bureaucratic. Drop us a note if you’d like to join us.

General meetings occur third Mondays at 7 PM (next two: Sept. 16, Oct. 21). These meetings are when the whole group gets together to go over relevant updates in the city, discuss big ideas, and strategize about when, where, and how to act next in furthering our mission.


Website


As always, these news blasts are catalogued on the site: CMABS.ORG (under News). Check it out!


This Email Blast


Feel free to forward this to your friends and neighbors! If you would like to receive an email like this one every other week, please let russell@cmabs.org know. Twice a month we’ll try to provide a quick rundown of everything happening in the city that relates to the quality of our streets so that you can stay informed. If you have any ideas or suggestions as to how this email blast might be better or more useful, please let us know.


-The CMABS Team

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Costa Mesa Alliance for Better Streets is a 501(c)(3) public charity located in Costa Mesa, California.