From a post in the Ventura Bicycle Union Facebook page – Oxnard has some work to do:
From a post in the Ventura Bicycle Union Facebook page – Oxnard has some work to do:
Eric Meyer is a former board member of the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Coalition, a former Planning Commissioner for the City of San Luis Obispo, and the former Chairman of the San Luis Obispo Land Use and Circulation Element Update Task Force. In his regular life he is a footwear designer.
Dan Rivoire is the Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition and the newest member of the San Luis Obispo City Council.
Eight years of careful planning — and a bit of luck — just paid off in a big way for the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Coalition. The central California city recently amended its transportation plan (known as the “Circulation Element” of the general plan) in three very innovative ways.
First, the city revised its transportation mode objectives, dramatically increasing the bike and pedestrian trip goals.
The new mode split goal:
50 percent motor vehicles
12 percent transit
20 percent bicycles
18 percent walking, car pools, and other forms
This is one of the most pedestrian- and bike-centric modal split objectives in the United States.
Second, the city changed its roadway analysis from Level of Service to Multi-Modal Level of Service.
San Luis Obispo rejected Level of Service — an outdated standard that measures transportation projects only on the basis of automobile delay — in favor of Multi-Modal Level of Service. MMLOS puts all modes on a level playing field so that the needs of one mode may only trump the needs of another in a manner designated by the modal hierarchy given to that location.
With this MMLOS objective in mind, the city re-prioritized the modal hierarchy of all of its streets. Some high-traffic arterials are automobile-focused, then transit, then bikes, then peds. Other streets have different hierarchies. Residential neighborhood streets are prioritized for pedestrians first. Major arterials are prioritized for transit first. It is a complex “complete streets” effort that will balance the needs of all modes in the city over time as streets are rebuilt or modified.
Third (and most important!): The city created a policy that allocates general fund transportation spending by mode to match the mode share percentage goals desired.
If you remember only one thing from this article, this is it.
This policy mandates that our city must allocate general fund transportation spending at the same ratio as the mode share goal desired. Meaning 20 percent of funding needs to go to bicycling.
This is a huge shift from business as usual in America.
These changes didn’t happen all at once. They happened over the course of about eight years under the guidance of many minds at the Bicycle Coalition and with the help of many hundreds of citizens. If we had tried to make this all happen at once during a Circulation Element update, we would have failed.
It happened because we focused on the smallest relevant plans first. San Luis Obispo’s first opportunity for meaningful policy change came when the City Planning Commission was approving a Climate Action Plan, with the aim of reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. One of the suggested strategies in this plan was to decrease single occupancy vehicle trips. One way to do that is to encourage an increase in the mode share of alternative modes such as biking and walking. Eric pitched the idea of pushing the bike mode share goal to 20 percent, thinking that we might get 15 percent as a compromise. But in a surprise vote, the entire planning commission agreed to the new 20 percent bike mode share goal.
In the context of the Climate Action Plan this bike mode share increase didn’t seem that controversial, and the audience in the Planning Commission chamber that night was very enthusiastic. The City Council later easily approved the new Climate Action Plan.
The trouble was that other older city plans, like the Bicycle Master Plan and the city Circulation Element, still had the old 10 percent bike goal. (Note that the current bike mode share is only about 6 percent.) So a year or two later, when the Bicycle Master Plan came up for review, it was modified to match the Climate Action Plan. Since city staff were able to explain that they were merely updating the bike plan to match the more recent climate action plan, it went through without a hitch.
A few years later, the city’s transportation and land use plan, known as LUCE (for “Land Use Element and Circulation Element”) came up for review and updating. Eric was appointed chairman of the citizen task force dedicated to overseeing the update. The task force again debated increasing the modal goal over what was in the old LUCE, but what ultimately led to them to approve it was the simple fact that the Planning Commission and City Council had already approved that figure in the two other plans years before.
In addition to this new modal split objective, the new MMLOS policy and the requirement to allocate transportation funding in the same ratio as the desired modal split were also incorporated into the transportation and land use update.
This 20 percent mode bike mode share goal would never have been approved in the LUCE had it not already been part of the two smaller plans.
This is a key point and may be a pathway that others can follow to create similar changes in other jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, Dan was elected to City Council shortly after the City Planning Commission approved the LUCE update, so when it came before the council, his was the deciding vote that approved it and he is now in a position to help shepherd the new prioritization of funding. Our work to get a place on city boards, as bike advocates, paid off.
Together these new policies create one of the strongest funding mechanisms for bicycle infrastructure in the nation. We hope that other cities might be able to learn from our efforts.
None of this would have been possible without the efforts of hundreds of members of the public and the tireless efforts of many Bicycle Coalition Advocates who showed up at City Planning and City Council meetings to voice their concerns and desires. It is the public that creates the demand and the advocate’s job is simply to help the public and the city find the way forward.
Photos: Top: New Green Lane markings at California Blvd. and the Northbound 101 Freeway offramp. Below: A new bike bridge being installed on the Bob Jones Trail at the south end of the city. Photos: City of San Luis Obispo from 2014.
Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets.
Instead of “cyclists,” people biking. Instead of “accident,” collision. Instead of “cycle track,” protected bike lane.
It can come off as trivial word policing. But if you want proof that language shapes thoughts, look no further than Seattle — where one of the country’s biggest bikelashes has turned decisively around in the last four years.
For a while in 2010 and 2011, the three-word phrase “war on cars,” which had risen to prominence in Rob Ford’s Toronto and spread to Seattle in 2009, threatened to poison every conversation about improving bicycling in the city.
Eleven characters long and poetic in its simplicity, the phrase could pop easily into any headline or news spot about transportation changes.
“It’s one of those ideas that makes a lot of sense if you don’t think about it too hard,” says Tom Fucoloro, publisher of Seattle Bike Blog. “Like, Yeah, cars should get more lanes!“
For several years, instead of arguing about whether biking, walking or riding transit should be improved, the city was arguing about whether driving should be made worse. A winning issue had become a losing one.
Things got so bad that The Stranger, an altweekly Seattle newspaper that supports biking investments, declared in a not-quite-joking cover story: “Okay, fine, it’s war.”
Today, the phrase seems to have receded from Seattle’s public life. And now the pro-bike, pro-transit policies championed by former Mayor Mike McGinn and continued by his successor Ed Murray are bearing fruit.
The city has lined up one of the most ambitious protected bike lane building schedules in the country. A public bike sharing system launched last fall. Jobs and residential construction are booming along Seattle’s new streetcar line. No major city in the country is growing faster.
This week, Seattle’s KING-TV devoted three minutes to a triumphant catalog of the city’s transportation accomplishments: falling congestion, rising bus frequencies, 20 miles of new bike lanes and paths this year.
Though there were many forces behind the turn of Seattle’s tide — the “war on cars” phrase in particular faded after McGinn lost his reelection bid in 2013 — no single organization has more to do with the city’s new language than a tiny nonprofit group called Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.
SNG was founded in 2011, the year the “war on cars” meme peaked. Their goal: to advocate for a citywide network of low-traffic local streets, modeled on similar systems in Vancouver and Portland, that could be optimized for biking, walking and running.
Though the group made no secret of their biking advocacy, they didn’t brand themselves as biking advocates. They branded themselves as neighborhood advocates. Executive Director Cathy Tuttle, unable to manage every project citywide, deputized advocates around the city to speak as “Fremont Greenways,” “Kirkland Greenways,” and so on.
Together, the groups fought bad language with good language.
Instead of “bikers” or “cyclists,” they said people biking; instead of “drivers” or “cars,” they said people driving. “Cycle track,” an engineering term translated from Dutch, became the more intuitive protected bike lane. Instead of “accident,” which implied that conscious choices like speeding aren’t involved in traffic collisions, the group simply called them collisions.
“When you start thinking of somebody as a ‘driver’ or somebody as a ‘cyclist’ or somebody as a ‘pedestrian’ – which is actually my least favorite – it’s easy to think of someone as part of a tribe,” said Fucoloro. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways broke down that tribalism by convincing advocates around the city to talk about “bicycling,” an activity, rather than “bicyclists,” an identity.
“It’s harder to get really angry,” Fucoloro said. “Just because you’re riding a bike doesn’t mean you’re in epic opposition to everyone who’s driving a car.”
Jennifer Langston, a researcher for Seattle’s Sightline Institute who has studied the greenways movement, said the shared language complemented Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ decentralized approach to advocacy.
“Each neighborhood group shares the same goals and can speak to the city with one voice when it comes to broad principles,” Langston said. “But because each neighborhood group is so place-based, they can really zero in on what the main problems are in their part of the city. … They have become a reasonable, strategic, and credible voice that has successfully counterbalanced and possibly begun to drown out the ‘war on cars’ arguments.”
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways didn’t invent these ideas, Fucoloro said; it watched them develop in Portland and elsewhere and imported them to Seattle. And the group hasn’t been alone in its work. The much older and larger Cascade Bicycle Club has also shifted its language, as has the City of Seattle itself.
Fucoloro said that Cascade once tended to describe anything that improved bicycling as a “bicycle project,” unintentionally implying that if you weren’t a bike commuter, you wouldn’t benefit.
“That didn’t work as well as People are getting harmed on this street for no reason,” Fucoloro said. “That’s a much better story.”
Fucoloro thinks Seattle is better, too, for having had this linguistic fight.
“In the end, I think the ‘war on cars’ is, like, this necessary step the city has to take,” he said. “Because it’s an obviously wrong idea, but it forces everyone who knows it’s wrong to figure out how to say that and explain why it’s wrong.”
“There’s so many awesome things about bicycles that a lot of people who support bicycling assume that it’s obvious,” Fucoloro went on. “But when you have to counter this ‘war on cars’ concept, you have to think about the reasons why bicycling is a smart policy choice. … So I think in a weird way it’s like this bizarre frustrating test that when you come out of it, everyone’s stronger and everyone understands it way better.”
“Even though when you’re in the middle of it, it’s the most frustrating thing in the world,” Fucoloro added.
OxnardBicycles.org is happy to present a new public service video produced by the Oxnard Police Department about bicycle safety.
On Tuesday July 22, 2014, Anthony Navarro and friends and Danna Aten made heartfelt and informative presentations before the Oxnard City Council and got a great response from the Mayor.
See the clips here:
Ride of Silence
3rd Annual Anthony Martinez Jr. Memorial Bike Ride
Wednesday, May 21st
Meet at 6:00 pm, Ride at 7:00pm sharp
905 Redwood Street in Oxnard
at – Our Savior Lutheran Church – between M and J streets.
We invite EVERYONE to ride with us to honor the memory of our loved ones killed or injured by motorists, We want to raise awareness among citizens and elected officials that PEOPLE have the right to safer roadways.
The ride will be through the City of Port Hueneme and Oxnard, starting at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 905 Redwood Street in Oxnard between M and J streets.
Any Questions? Contact Angelique Martinez at (805) 236-6602 or Anthony Martinez Sr. at (805) 616-5695
Thank you Anthony and Toby for pointing to this informative video on protected bike lanes. It’s said that in communities with protected bike lanes – bike ridership goes up at least 4 times.
A new report by League of American Bicyclists and the Serra Club highlights the increase of minorities moving towards the bicycle as a realistic means of local transportation.
“According to the report, the fastest growth in bicycling over the last decade is among the Hispanic, African American and Asian American populations, which grew from 16 percent of all bike trips in 2001 to 23 percent in 2009.”
Dear Bicycle Riders and Supporters,
It’s our pleasure to announce the 2nd Annual Memorial Ride of Silence in Oxnard.
Please support this event in the memory of Anthony Martinez Jr. and all cyclists killed or injured by motorists.
EVERYONE is invited to ride with us. Last year over 200 riders participated in this great ride – this year we are hoping for more – please ride with us.
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
Gather at 6:30pm – Ride at 7:00pm
Start at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 905 Redwood Street (in Oxnard between M and J streets).
It’s about a 7 mile ride.
Please help build bicycle awareness in Oxnard by riding in solidarity with us.
Contact Angelique Martinez @ 805-236-6602 or Anthony Sr. Martinez @ 805-616-5695
For information about the Ride of Silence:
www.rideofsilence.org/locations-domestic.php?s=CA#CA – look for Oxnard in the list