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September 27 - Updates

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

Most Important Items First


COSTA MAKERS BOOTH. We will host a booth at the Costa Makers Block Party. The event lasts from 11am - 3pm this Saturday, September 28th. While it was initially planned to be an actual block party with a closed street, it was deemed too difficult and potentially controversial to open the street (close it to cars) for that long. Regardless, come and say hi!


GENERAL MEETING 9/23. Last Monday night we all gathered to share with each other and discuss how we might make our streets better - as we do at each of our monthly meetings. We had two guests who were gracious enough to come in and share their stories of their children getting hit by drivers while biking in Newport Heights. One was the mother of the boy who became a victim of a hit and run while on his way to Ensign Middle School last June (he is okay). She spoke of the anxiety she deals with now at work every day, wondering whether her boy made it to school or back home safely. The school nurse told her that they deal with about seven such incidents per year. The other person who shared with us was the father of the 8-year-old boy who was struck and killed by a CR&R garbage truck (under contract to the City of Newport Beach) 3 years ago. He spoke of his frustration with the City of Newport Beach and their inaction in making the streets around the schools safer, even in light of that tragic incident. It is a fight to get the City to do the right thing, he said. And that’s why CMABS exists - we know it’s a fight, and we are stronger together.


Marc presented on the importance of a complete low-stress bike network that is comfortable for all ages and abilities, and we strategized about how we might achieve such a thing in our city in our lifetime - using both conventional City-initiated methods and tactical urbanism. Notes and slides from his excellent presentation will be posted separately on our blog. Join us for the next meeting! We meet on 3rd Sundays at 7pm in the Ronnenberg Center at Orange Coast College. Email us if you’d like to confirm.


Good News


SOCIAL MEDIA. We now have an account on each of the following platforms:

Twitter @CMBetterStreets

Facebook @CostaMesaAllianceForBetterStreets

Instagram @CMBetterStreets


NEWPORT BLVD. IMPROVEMENT PROJECT. (Formerly known as the Newport Blvd. Widening Project). On Monday night, September 16, City staff and Onward Engineering presented three conceptual designs to the public, and invited community feedback. Despite City Council’s direction in April that proposed designs include “active transportation elements,” all three (predictably) added vehicle capacity while worsening the environment for anyone outside of a car. The Daily Pilot reported on the meeting, which you can read here. The next outreach meeting is tentatively scheduled for January 2020. On Saturday at the CMABS booth at the Costa Makers Block Party, we will be collecting signatures from the public to urge the City Council to think outside the car-shaped box and consider improvements to Newport Blvd. that make it better for everyone (not just drivers). If you would like a peek into the relationship between regular users of the street and those who are responsible for designing the street, see this timely and fiery article by plangineer Chuck Marohn.


COMPLETE STREETS BILL. As you know, SB127 is on Governor Newsom’s desk awaiting his signature. This bill “requires Caltrans to consider adding features that keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe when they repair or repave a highway that is surface street [for example, PCH, Newport Blvd, and Beach Blvd]. SB 127 would bring the public into the Caltrans planning process, for greater transparency and community input.” CA Bicycle Coalition has been covering. See here and here. A flood of emails in support of SB127 could not hurt – you can send one here (it’s very quick and simple - use the drop-down menu to choose SB00127 - about ⅘ of the way down - and on the next page click the ‘pro’ option). Likewise, if you have not yet signed the petition to get him to sign, you can do so here. Or maybe even better, give him a call. LAST MINUTE UPDATE. Council Member Arlis Reynolds has placed SB127 on Tuesday’s (10/1) Council meeting: “Staff requests that the City Council provide direction to staff on a position to take on Senate Bill 127, currently pending before Governor Newsom. Such a position would be communicated by sending a letter [with the City letterhead and signed by the Mayor] requesting the Governor either sign or veto Senate Bill 127.” You can very easily email the entire Council, urging them to support this bill here.


Bad News (Updates in green)


We’ve heard that someone was down in the street next to a bike yesterday afternoon (9/26) on College Ave. and Victoria St. That’s all we know. 


[FROM LAST NEWSLETTER] At least two people on foot have been struck by drivers in and near our city since the last news blast. These incidents are so common that they often don’t get any attention either by the media or via PD statements, so if we find out, it’s through Facebook or NextDoor. Since this was sent out, updates have made their way to us. See below.


[FROM LAST NEWSLETTER] All we know about the first is that a driver struck a boy at around 3:15pm on Friday, September 6th at the Irvine driveway to the Westcliff Plaza. We heard the fuller story from the boy’s aunt, who by chance was at our monthly general meeting to share about her son getting hit while biking to school last June. Her nephew was hit on September 6th while leaving Westcliff Plaza at the Irvine exit closest to the street corner, and was hit by a driver taking a fast turn from Westcliff Dr. Though the boy was in the bike lane, and his back wheel was crushed, Newport Beach police placed the blame entirely on the boy. Regardless of who was technically at fault, both Irvine Ave. and E. 17th/Westcliff Dr. are very dangerous streets with plenty of room for improvement. Thankfully the boy is okay.


[FROM LAST NEWSLETTER] All we know about the second incident is that a driver reportedly hit multiple pedestrians(!) in a crosswalk at the corner of W 19th St. and Placentia. At around 11:30 am, a driver was heading eastbound on W. 19th St. and made a right turn onto southbound Placentia. He struck the pedestrian in the crosswalk “who had the right of way and was crossing on a proper signal.” The person struck suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to Hoag Hospital for treatment. (Paraphrased from a PD email).


In Case You Missed It


CITYLAB. Parking guru Donald Shoup has written an excellent article  - Parking Reform Will Save the City - that sums up his jarringly logical (yet unconventional) approach to parking management. Parking policy may sound mundane, but its impact on the city ripples through almost every facet of our urban experience – from the costs of housing, goods, and services, to the strength of our local economy, to the design of our streets and the buildings that frame them. Parking, more than any other local topic, shapes our city. And it is by far the most contentious issue that dominates the debate surrounding just about every decision regarding street design, new development, new businesses, new homes, etc. Give it a read and peek into this highly misunderstood but hugely important topic.


Other Items


TACTICAL URBANISM. Our first project (of many) will be adding temporary bulbouts at Lil’ Lighthouse Preschool on Magnolia St. and Santa Ana Ave. on the Eastside. We’ve met with City staff once, and will keep pushing this project forward. If you missed this article from above about how most interactions with city engineers go when trying to get safe and comfortable streets, see here. It is uncannily accurate. But stay tuned - we’re hoping to do on a Saturday morning sometime this fall, and will welcome your help.


NONPROFIT STATUS. 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.


Other Upcoming Events


PAULARINO. The first public outreach meeting for the proposed Paularino Channel Trail is now scheduled for Thursday, October 3rd at 6pm. Location TBD.

ADAMS. Keep an eye out for a similar outreach meeting for the proposed improvements to Adams Ave.


ARROYO SECO CLOSURE. The tireless event organizers at Active San Gabriel Valley (“Active SGV”) have planned at single day 2020 closure of the Arroyo Seco section of the 110 freeway. As you may remember, this same event originally happened in 2003 and was enormously popular. After 17 years of incessantly flowing cars, the public space will briefly be open to the public once again. Bianca Barragan of CurbedLA writes that “by closing the historic stretch to cars and inviting people onto it, Angelenos will be free to look around, enjoy the scenery, and generally see this roadway in a different light. Active SGV wants that new point of view to get people interested in and excited about moving around the city without a car.”


OPEN STREETS IN CM. We want to do our own little event in the same spirit. When we talked about possible locations for an Open Streets event in Costa Mesa two months ago, 19th Street kept coming up again and again. We’d love to help make an event like this happen, but need a person or three who’d be willing to take the lead on encouraging the City to run such an event; we’ll even hook you up with a supportive City Council member. Contact Marc at marc@cmabs.org if you’re interested.  


CALIFORNIA BICYCLE SUMMIT. Every two years, CalBike hosts this three-day gathering of planners, government officials, agency staff, and bicycle advocates from around the state to work for “more equitable, inclusive and prosperous communities where bicycling enables more people to live joyful and healthy lives.” This year’s is just around the corner right in our backyard (Oct 15-17 in LA). We need to get our City staff to participate in such activities. Send a note to the City Council, urging them to go themselves and to push for more staff exposure to these sorts of events. Similarly, the annual NACTO Designing Cities Conference was this month, and the CNU Transportation Summit is next month. Is anyone from Costa Mesa soaking up any 21st century wisdom with other city transportation officials, or even aware of these conferences?  


Schedule


GENERAL MEETINGS. These occur third Mondays at 7 PM at the Ronnenberg Center at OCC (north side of the Adams parking lot – right behind the recycling center). 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.  Please come, and bring a friend!


BOARD MEETINGS. These occur fourth Mondays at 7 PM (next two: Oct. 28, Nov. 25). Anyone is welcome to join, but they are more bureaucratic. Drop us a note if you’d like to join us.

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