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This morning the Board of the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) unanimously adopted the feasibility study over the Corridor that will eventually contain the Edna Price Canyon trail between San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach.  This will eventually become a segment of the Anza Historic Trail.  This study has been ongoing for the last year or so and is the result of a CalTrans Community Based Transportation Planning Grant.  It was developed by Questa Engineering.

Next steps are the creation of various Environmental Impact Reports (EIR’s) that will cover the various segments of the trail.IMG_2603

The Feasibility Study identified  opportunities and and constraints along various trail segment options.  There are preferred routes… secondary options etc… all of which need to be analyzed in great detail taking into consideration all the various constraints so as to be able to create the best ultimate alternative given the constraints.

It has been about 8 years of work so far.  I started chatting with stakeholders circa 2008.. and that work led to an initial mapping outlined in previous posts… and then advocacy work with the various communities and stakeholder groups along the route.  There are many steps still to go… but we have started… and we are well along the way.

thank you to all the jurisdictions, individuals, and groups that have lent their support.

Eric

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ShowImageBy Eric Meyer (with Dan Rivoire) spring 2015

Eight years of careful planning — and a bit of luck — paid off last year in a big way for bicyclists in San Luis Obispo. We amended our transportation plan (known as the “Circulation Element”) in three very innovative ways.

First, we revised our 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, we changed our roadway analysis from Level of Service (LOS)to Multi-Modal Level of Service (MMLOS).

San Luis Obispo rejected Level of Service — an outdated standard that measures transportation projects only on the basis of automobile delay — in favor of Multi-Modal Level of Service.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, we re-prioritized the modal hierarchy of all of our 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!): We 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 Bike SLO County and with the help of many hundreds of citizens. If we citizens 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. Our first opportunity for meaningful policy change came when the City Planning Commission was approving the 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. I was on the city planning commission at that time and 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 balance of the planning commission agreed to the new 20 percent bike mode share goal.  The City Council later approved the new Climate Action Plan.

But 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 new 20% from 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 updating. Because I was a current City Planning Commissioner I was appointed as chairman of the citizen task force dedicated to overseeing the update. The task force debated where to go with the modal split percentage goals in this new Circulation Element.  But the simple fact that the Planning Commission and City Council had already approved the 20% figure in the Climate Action and Bicycle Master plans led to the task force agreeing 20% bike mode share should also be the goal in this new Circulation Element.

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 all incorporated into the new Circulation Element 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 Rivoire (Executive Director of Bike SLO County) 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.

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 Bike SLO County 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.

And our efforts have been recognized!  Last month the City of San Luis Obispo was awarded gold status by the League of American Bicyclists.  This ranking puts SLO amongst the top 30 cities nationwide for bicycling. Thank you SLO bike advocates!

 

 

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My friend John Cutter, a bicycle designer and builder here in San Luis Obispo, sent me this link this am… about a new city being built in South Carolina… called Riverwalk.  It includes a huge outdoor velodrome, a very large BMX area, permanent criterium track, and all sorts of other outdoor activity related areas for the citizens to enjoy…

here is the blog post John sent…. from a blog called redkiteprayer.com

here is the link to the community website itself

It is a community built around outdoor activities… specifically cycling… but not exclusively.

Interesting stuff… dig in a bit.

Eric

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My friend Leslie Bloom from the San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition just sent me this link to http://streetmix.net.  On this site you can design your own street.  it is a pretty fun and easy tool for visualizing street design.  Wow.  You can adjust the building height… the lane widths… the bike path width… etc etc.  A great tool for bicycle advocacy and city planners or anyone interested in creating better public places and streets.

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Click the YouTube link (see link just below) for a great TEDx talk on designing streets for all users.  By Mikael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagenize

http://youtu.be/pX8zZdLw7cs

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Every so often the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG)looks at the unmet transit needs across the county.  There is a comment section online where you can list what transit needs you feel are important.  This includes Bicycle improvements you would like to see in the COUNTY.  Regional trails are obviously big on my mind so I posted my comments on the the SLOCOG site.

Anyone’s comments are welcome… So I encourage you all to post your thoughts on unmet cycling needs (or any transit related needs) at:      http://www.slocog.org/Join/Unmet_Needs.php

Please mention the ANZA trail… and any other improvements you are interested in… such as a trail from SLO to Morro Bay, SLO to Los Osos etc.Remember… this is for the COUNTY… and unincorporated cities…  not so much for inside the incorporated city limits.

SLOCOG will be meeting in early 2013… so get your comments in now.

 

BTW…Thank You! to my friend Dallam Oliver-Lee for these links!

More info at:  http://library.slocog.org/PDFs/Agency_Mtgs_Agendas/TTAC_CTAC/2012/September%202012%20TTAC%20CTAC%20Agendas/D-3%202013-2014%20Unmet%20Transit%20Needs%20Schedule,%20%20Methodology,%20Definitions,%20and%20Criteria.pdf

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Opposite land.

In Opposite land the roles of bicycles and cars are reversed.  Every street is a bike street.  Every house has a bike garage and bicycles dominate the transportation environment.  There are elevated commuter trains over grand central Bike stations with tons of bike parking and restaurants and showers and mechanics on staff.  Roadies ride through towns on Bike Freeways with onramps and offramps.  There are large beautiful country bike loops to wineries, cafes and b and b’s in the surrounding hills.

There is a Bikotel… or “bike hotel”.   The first in the nation.  There are arterial streets for faster riders… and local streets for slower riders. There are “bike up” windows at hamburger places.   Tourists flock to the area from Europe and Japan… and Portland.   Bike infrastructure receives 98% of transportation funding…

There are cars in opposite land too… and there is a growing automobile enthusiasts network that make this “alternative transportation” choice.  There are some class one “Car-Paths” and a few decent class two “Car-paths”. But they usually end just when you need them most… before big intersections.  There is also a plan for the City to Sea Car Path… but “CalBike” is being a stick in the mud by requiring a huge Car Bridge over the CALBike freeway that nobody has the funds for.   Two of the most innovative Auto infrastructure items are the unique “Car traffic Signal” on Santa Barbara St. and the six block long “Car Blvd.” on Morro Street (which is closed to bikes in this area!) Both of these Car infrastructure improvements have been featured in automobile advocacy magazines.  Indeed… Automobile usage has been widely promoted in many circles as greatly beneficial to the public at large

But in Opposite Land… the general public says that cars are just not useful for regular people who actually go to work and need to buy groceries.  They are too difficult to get around in and too dangerous…. They just don’t make sense.

So the Opposite Land “Automobile Coalition” aims to change this.  They visualize a multi modal transit infrastructure that serves all users equally.  They have signs that say “share the road.   They explain that with more Car paths and car routes car usage would go up… dramatically.

 Yet even with advocacy… Opposite Land automobile infrastructure receives less than 2% of transportation funding.

What is it going to take to change this?  How can we convince Opposite land government that Automobiles usage is up and climbing… and deserves more than 2%?

full disclosure: BikeSnob NYC already panned Opposite Land years ago in his blog as a “parody of itself” (the author here thinks it’s important to note that Bike Snob took 6 weeks off work to drive to Opposite Land on truckroutes though… with a group of other “dieseltourists” from NYC in a Peloton of Dodge Double cab dually pickups and as such dismisses BSNY’s earlier appraisal)

BTW… the bike in the photo up top was built by John Cutter in San Luis Obispo… for the 2011 Oregon Manifest.  It received honorable mention… but probably should have won instead of that beachcruiser with a radio.

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