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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Bicycle Workshop Assigned Tentative May 7 Date

• Cyclists Say They Hope the Meeting Will Be Participatory

BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN


The City of Malibu Public Safety Commission has tentatively selected May 7, 9 a.m.-noon, as the date and time for a city-sponsored three-hour bicycle workshop to discuss the hotly debated issue of cyclist and motorist safety on Pacific Coast Highway.
Commission chair Carol Randall and commissioner Chris Frost, who is a cyclist, were chosen to be on the ad hoc committee to organize the event at the commission's March meeting.
Cyclist Eric Bruins, a cycling advocate who teaches bike safety at USC, said he hoped the workshop would be “more participatory,” with a “structure that encourages dialogue.” Bruins outlined a wish list of subjects for the event, including a report from law enforcement representatives on bicycle collisions and “action items for law enforcement and Caltrans.”
West Malibu resident Hans Laetz continued to campaign for a bike lane. Laetz said that the City of Malibu is required under the Local Coastal Program to have a bike lane on PCH.
“I want to hear what the city will do to meet its obligations,” Laetz said.
Commissioner Frost reminded the speakers that the workshop will be only three hours long. “The workshop [format] is only way we would be able to talk back and forth, converse,” he said. “It was meant to get club heads and people who are major players, the people who can disseminate [information], to get the cyclists, sheriff, city, us, all on the same page. It’s designed to clear up a lot of the points that people aren't clear about.”
Frost described the workshop as an opportunity for “cyclists, city, sheriff, us, [to] find how to straighten this out so there isn't animosity. It has to start somewhere. Once we get this part in motion everyone [will] understand the law.”
Frost indicated that he would prefer that the workshop, which will be open to the public, be attended by individuals who are serious about the issue, such as cycling community leaders who can spread the work to large numbers of cyclists. “Do I want members of the general public there?” Frost said. “I’m not going to dissuade them, but…”
“I really would like to get something accomplished,” Randall said.
A grant-funded $900 bike route improvement project slated for PCH west of Trancas was also discussed.
“It’s brave to bring this issue to the head,” City Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, speaking as a citizen, told the commission. Conley Ulich discussed the Pacific Coast Highway bike facility study that was completed in 1996. “What happened I believe is the city council got this and just brown filed it,” she said, adding that the city should look at how to spend the $900,000 bike route grant, “where it will do the most good. Maybe we shouldn’t do it from Trancas,” she said, suggesting that improvements farther east might be more beneficial. “Maybe we need to do it from, I don't know, you decide,” she said.
In essence the whole [PCH] is a bike route anyway,” Frost said, explaining the difference between a bike route and a bike path. “West of Trancas, nothing radically will change up there. Have you been in Starbucks on a Saturday morning? It looks like a bike shop. Maybe the public doesn't understand what a bike route is. It's a route not a path.”

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