The OC Wins Bronze!

On 10/18/2012 Orange County was awarded a Bronze  Bike Friendly Community award from the League of American Bicyclists  as you can see from the snippet  of new awards. OC BronzeBFC

Despite our coverage of injuries and fatalities in the best and worst cities in the county, we’ve also been hard at work at some of the positive aspects of cycling in the County of Orange.

Moving from Honorable Mention to Bronze has not been easy, and required a lot of time and dedication on the part of many to get to this point.

Activities in District 4 under the leadership of Shawn Nelson calling for cities to collaborate on connected bikeways and actually doing something about it certainly helped in detailed league feedback.

Partnering with the OCTA, the OCBC brought stakeholders to the table to submit the application and guide the process forward.

Specifically, Dan Hazard (co-founder of the Huntington Beach bicycle Advocates (HuBBA)) and Pete Van Nuys of the OC Bicycle Coalition, Sandy Boyle, Carolyn Malmorado, and Wes Parcel of the OCTA formed the core, and brought a dozen or so local bicycling experts to review the application and make suggestions, with others that provided credible and enthusiastic endorsement for a bronze award.

Not one mayor was harmed by a taxi in our upgrade to bronze, although we note the City of Los Angeles also was awarded a Bronze award under the leadership of hizzoner Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as covered by bikinginla.

Teamwork Pays Off

Looking forward, there’s a lot of positive momentum here in the OC despite some recent setbacks.

For example; this week the City of San Clemente’s Planning Commission voted to adopt, with some minor amendments, an 88 point draft of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan that will be incorporated into the Circulation Element of San Clemente’s updated General Plan if approved by the City Council sometime early next year.

Once approved by the Council, the documents head north for legal review by the State Attorney General’s office and if everything is in order, sent back to the City Council for formal adoption probably around May at the earliest.

Any delay anywhere along the line slips the probable adoption date and the resultant benefits that the plan would provide.

Due to the lengthy time involved in crafting, negotiating, reviewing, amending, and all the other fun like public review and comment, cities in the OC  contemplating updating their circulation element with a bicycle plan as part of their General Plan update should quit the contemplation, and get started now.

With more cities adopting bicycle plans into their circulation (and even land use) plans, and coordinate and collaborate with their neighbors in connecting commuting bikeways, we may have a shot at earning a Silver!

What Does It Mean?

According to the people that hand out the awards, cycle-commuting in BFCs tends to increase faster than non-BFC’s, thus reducing pollution, decreasing congestion, and generally providing a healthier and more sustainable quality of life in addition to driving up the national cycle-commuting average ; which in turn leads to more BFCs, more cycle-commuting…well you get the idea.

In other words, a BFC designation increases the likelihood of a positive feedback loop to the betterment of all.

With that in mind, an award is not an endpoint, it is a degree of validation from an external source that confirms whether a community is on track or not with their measurement standards with respect to bicycle investment in the 5 “E’s”:

  1. EncouragementOCBronze
  2. Education
  3. Engineering
  4. Evaluation
  5. Enforcement

While it’s nice to have the whole County be recognized from the outside, we’ve got more work to do so we’ll get back to it.

Thanks to all who’ve helped bring the County to this point, clearly we’re on the right track, and we look forward to your continued support going forward.

Thanks OC!

Aliso Creek Designated as National Recreational Trail

updated 10/4/12 with answers to questions we asked

Thanks to the efforts of those that created and maintained the trail through the years, last fall Alicia Raish of OC Parks nominated the trail to receive the National Recreational Trail Designation.

Formally known as the Aliso Creek Regional Riding and Hiking Trail, after careful deliberation the Secretary of the Interior granted the nomination, so we ask that you join us in a small celebration Thursday 10/18/12 at 10:00 to witness the unveiling of a special sign designating the Aliso Creek Regional Trail as a National Recreation Trail.

The celebration will take place at the rest area on the trail located off of El Toro Road, a stone’s throw SW from Marguerite Parkway in Lake Forest. Or for those more familiar with the trail, just before the underpass by Saddleback Church.

Hike, Bike, or ride your pony to the event!

Map of Designation CeremonyRiders on the Trail

Here’s the map, ceremony takes place at the National Recreational Trail sign. See you there!

What does it Mean?

Alicia was kind enough to answer a few of our questions:

Q: What does the designation as a National Trail mean?
A: Recognition. We will be listed with American Trails; the  National resource for trails and greenways. This nonprofit organization works to enhance and protect America’s network of interconnected trails.

Q: With the designation, does ownership transfer?
A: No, ownership will always remain with the County of Orange.
The designation could help with plans to extend the trail, and obtain grants from other foundations, or partnerships.

Q: Will Federal money be used to maintain the trail, and if so at what cost?
A: No Federal money will be used on the trail.

Q: Are there any plans to implement a segregated trail for bikers and “hikers”(this includes the dog walkers, stroller moms, and runners) – this is important due to the rapid density growth that is happening along all OC trails.
A: Sections of the Aliso Creek Regional Riding and Hiking Trail are already separated from the bikeway, and are on the other side of the creek.
After construction for the sports fields in Lake Forest, we will plan on adding signs and other features to encourage slower traffic to utilize the soft trail for walking and running. We have made suggestions to acquire additional property from Home owner’s association and flood property to construct a soft trail on the entire length of Aliso Creek Trail.
Plans were also submitted to have Aliso Creek Bikeway continue to PCH.

Thanks Alicia!

NPB City Council Meeting Tonight

Whether or not you bike in Newport Beach, come to the meeting tonight to voice your support for the NPB MEMORIAL BIKE RIDE & FUNDRAISERBike Safety Improvement Fund and the offer of a 3:1 match to the fundraising efforts of the Newport Beach Memorial Ride.

If approved, funds raised will be matched, thus leveraging your contribution by a multiple of 3!

Benefits realized through this action will be quick response to identified safety issues throughout the city – and there are plenty of them! With your support through this dedicated fund, issues will not linger and fester due to other funding priorities. This in turn, limits the City from potential liability by acting quickly to remedy serious safety concerns, which provides you, rider or not, the fiscal safety of your City’s budget remaining intact and not at the mercy of the next bicycle rider killed or injured.

The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.  (or 19:00 if you prefer), in the Council Chambers at 3300 Newport Blvd. and the agenda item is last on the list of current business.

Stand up for Safety! Newport Beach is the 3rd deadliest, and 5th most injurious city to ride a bike in Orange County.  With the right leadership and community support, it can blossom into a city that’s fiscally stable, and able to handle increased density growth, while at the same time becoming a cycling destination area.

We note and commend the Newport Friends of the Library for raising $187,000 to go along with the Library’s $500,000 expansion and improvements. While we hope innovative and cheerful cycle racks are included, we have to ask, “Can you ride to the Library safely”?

Thanks for your support.