Malibu Surfside News

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Staff Recommends Council Approve Bike Route Funds

• Grant Will Cover 90 Percent of Expense

BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN

The issue of bicycle safety returns to city hall next week. A staff report recommends that the Malibu City Council adopt a resolution authorizing the city manager to proceed with an agreement with Caltrans to begin the design process for planned bike safety improvements on Pacific Coast Highway from Trancas west to the city limit.
In February 2010, the city was notified that its proposal for the PCH Bike Route Improvements Project had been awarded the maximum allocation of $900,000 in federal grant funds.
According to the report, the proposed project will address safety issues and improve the existing bike route along PCH from the intersection of Trancas Canyon Road westward to the City limits for all modes of travel.
The improvements will include signage, striping, intersection improvements, minor grading and overlay work to widen the shoulder in some sections. The project does not involve creating a separate bike path, or lane.
At least one member of the Malibu Safety Commission has criticized the project, calling it a waste of funds.
Public speakers at several safety commission meetings have expressed concern that the funds might be better spent closer to the center of Malibu, since the western portion of the city is the least impeded portion of Pacific Coast Highway for cyclists and motorists.
If the resolution is approved at the April 11 city council meeting, funds for the Pacific Coast Highway Bike Route Improvement Project will be included in the proposed fiscal year budget for 2011-2012.
The city received authorization to proceed with the “preliminary engineering” of the project in December 2010. This phase “will evaluate the existing conditions and prepare recommendations for the final design,” the staff report states. “The city will work closely with Caltrans to design a project that will maximize safety benefits for all modes of travel and comply with Caltrans design standards.”
City staff estimates that the project design will cost approximately $110,000.
The Highway Safety Improvement Program grant will fund 90 percent of the total design costs, up to $99,000.
The city must contribute a minimum of 10 percent to the total design costs, approximately $11,000.
The proposed project has generated lengthy discussions on the issue of bicycle safety on PCH.
As a result of the dialogue that has developed between the safety commission and representatives of the cycling community over the past year, the city is planning a three-hour bike safety workshop tentatively scheduled for the morning of May 7, to provide a forum on the issue of bicycle safety for city officials, cycling advocates, law enforcement and the public

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