Category Archives: action alert

UPDATE: Mar Vista Great Street Initiative on Venice Blvd

September 12th MVCC Meeting Update for:

Action Alert: Mar Vista Great Street Initiative on Venice Blvd

After what can only be described as a tense and contentious meeting Tuesday night the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) voted to table a motion to recommend immediately reversing the lane reduction on Venice Blvd.

TODAYS ACTION:

Thank the MVCC for not reversing their July decision and insisting on proper procedure. They rarely get thanked! We can expect variations of these motions to come back before the Board in October and they need to know they have our support.

Email
to: board@marvista.org,
cc: ladot.veniceblvdmarvista@lacity.org, councilmember.bonin@lacity.org
bcc: Cynthia.Rose@SMSpoke.org  lyndsey@la-bike.org

The Motion: tabled 

Policy motion “M” was sited out of order in violation of Robert’s Rules of Order with the board unable to reach agreement on how to resolve the issue — the motion was tabled for the board to do due diligence and revisit it in order to verify how rules of order apply to this situation. No public comment was heard. If it is determined that the board can reconsider a motion they have already made a decision on the matter may come back for a subsequent vote. If not, their prior vote will stand and they will withhold judgement until the project’s trial period is completed. Two similar motions* N and O were sent back to the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to be reviewed with more notice and community involvement.

Your emails and turn out to the meeting meant a LOT – the MVCC board knows that the demand to restore the lanes does not reflect the majority and that the community seems to be pretty evenly divided. The room was pretty much full with representation of opponents and supporters of the Venice Blvd / Great Street Project seemingly roughly equal. Even for pro-Great Streets MVCC board members, it is difficult to vote their personal convictions if they do not appear to have support. We made our presence known and your voices were heard in support of safer streets for all.

THANK YOU!

We thank the MVCC for their careful consideration of the Venice Blvd Great Streets Project this past Tuesday.  We all appreciate the difficult choices presented by this controversial project and the willingness to deliberate thoughtfully is gratifyingl.  Special thanks goes to Sarah for navigating an extremely contentious procedural debate.

With that said — we are sorry we all had to go through this again — with a decision already rendered at the July meeting that was preceded by extensive public comment.

We must all recognize this matter may still come back – again for a subsequent decision(s) before the pilot project duration expires. Objections being heard at this point are anecdotal, based on experiences and perceptions while the project is still quite new, before traffic behavior has a chance to adapt and settle down and before the study can implement possible tweaks or modifications informed by collected project data. The are a number of studies** that confirm the need to be patient and give the modifications a chance to work — consistent with the July MVCC vote on the matter.

We will keep you updated – Again many thanks for your emails and support for safer streets for everyone!

Projects are linked here: Safe Streets for Mar Vista & Play Del Rey
More information and background on the Venice Blvd Great Streets Project can be found at LAStreetsblog


*Additional related motions:

Motion Approved: “a stakeholder petition” which called for the designation of a “point person” to write up and submit a request for performance data related to the Venice Blvd / Great Street Project / Vision Zero Project.  It was however pointed out that a request for this data had already been made to the city.  The motion was described to be a “veiled tactic to call attention to the opponent’s accusations that the city is withholding or manipulating key data”. Nonetheless it was approved.

Two additional motions N and O were sent back to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

  • One was yet another recommendation that the Venice Blvd lane reconfiguration be reversed.
  • The other was a proposal for an expansive network of bikeways intended to pre-empt the need for the protected bike lanes on Venice Blvd. This motion proposed an elaborate network of alternate routes with a conceptual network describing several bike paths that would be extremely expensive to implement and vaguely outlined a few circuitous on-road routes through neighborhoods intended to satisfy regional cycling connectivity.  It would seem the proposal was cooked up in a vacuum uninformed by existing plans or recognition of funding and engineering constraints.

** Related local case studies 


ONGOING

SHARE on social media! Tweet and post your support or photos of your ride through Venice, Jefferson, and Culver Boulevards, and Pershing Drive in the new bike lanes! Use #SaferVeniceBlvd, #SaferJeffersonBlvd#SaferCulverBlvd, and #SaferPershingDr or #SaferVistaDelMar, to build momentum and share your message with fellow safe streets advocates.

Action Alert: Mar Vista Great Street Initiative on Venice Blvd still under attack

September 12th Meeting update HERE

Update on this past Wednesday’s Mar Vista Community Council Transportation & Infrastructure committee meeting and a request for this Tuesday’s board meeting.

Wednesday night there was a strong turn out from the Restore Venice supporters and this motion was passed.

  • POLICY MOTION: The Mar Vista Community Council asks that Councilmember Mike Bonin immediately reverse the lane reductions on Venice Blvd. and implement other strategies to improve the safety, efficiency, and accessibility of our roads for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles. As representatives of your constituents and your elected advisory body, we believe strongly that this is the only remedy that addresses the constant, voluminous, community outcry on this issue.

Restore Venice is planning a huge turn out (again) to the board of directors meeting this Tuesday night, September 12th. They have also put two other related motions on the agenda.

It is very important that we:
– Attend the meeting and speak in support of the pilot (details below)
– Email the MVCC board to express our support of the pilot project and our concern regarding the lack of notification of the 9/6/17 T&I meeting (sample email below)

Even for pro-Great Streets MVCC board members, it is difficult to vote their personal convictions if those convictions do not appear to support the community will. We must show the board that residents and stakeholders have their backs if they stand with us on voting to continue the pilot.

These meetings are upsetting and exhausting – We understand not wanting to go. If not show up at the meeting to visibly demonstrate that they are not the majority, send in letters to protest.

The letters help enormously! We can take issue with the lack of notification. We were given less than 24 hours notification of these motions by email. The lack of public notification pretty much guaranteed that they would have the votes to pass their motion last Wednesday.

Note that the board is only an advisory council and its vote will not force the lane restoration, but it will put a lot of pressure on Councilmember Bonin. 

Scroll down for all the information you need. Thank you for your continued commitment and support around this issue!


MEETING INFORMATION:

Attend the BOD meeting to speak during Public Comment and ask board members to vote NO on this motion.

MVCC Monthly Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday
Sep 12, 2017 7:00 PM (they always arrive early)
Location:
Mar Vista Recreation Center, Small Gymnasium
11430 Woodbine StreetLos Angeles, CA 90066


EMAIL INFORMATION:

Email messages help enormously! Sample is below, please personalize.

Let the board know that you support the Great Streets pilot project and support the MVCC board’s July 11 decision to keep the pilot in place while the City conducts its evaluations. Another concern is the lack of notification. According to one community member, people were given less than 24 hours notification of these motions by email. A member of Restore Venice drafted one of the motions, so the group technically had at least the required 72 hour notice, probably more. The lack of public notification pretty much guaranteed that the group would have the votes to pass their motion.

Emails should go to board@marvista.org and cc councilmember.bonin@lacity.org.


SAMPLE EMAIL:
To: MVCC@EmpowerLA.org, board@marvista.org
CC: councilmember.bonin@lacity.org
BCC: Cynthia.Rose@SMSpoke.org  lyndsey@la-bike.org

RE: Support for Venice Blvd Great Streets Safety Improvements

Dear Members of the Mar Vista Community Council:

I strongly encourage the Mar Vista Community Council to continue to support the project on Venice Blvd. as part of the Mar Vista Great Streets Initiative. The motion to reverse the safety improvements on Venice Blvd. contradicts the votes made by the Council on July 11, 2017 to not reverse the project and to allow for full and continued evaluation of it. Impatience of drivers shouldn’t stop the community from building safer streets and more vibrant neighborhoods. These safety improvements will prevent future injuries and can save lives.

As a [student, older adult, mom, cyclist, person with a disability, business owner, etc], I firmly support the street safety improvements on Venice Blvd. This project was designed through community dialogue throughout a year-long open process and is meant to make all residents and visitors safer. Similar to how the farmers market has improved our community, we believe the “small town feel” of this Great Streets initiative will do the same for Mar Vista and will further improve community culture.

We must continue to improve our streets with rigorous and informed evaluations, and I urge you to remain committed to creating vibrant and safer streets in Mar Vista. Please vote NO on the motion to reverse the safety improvements on Venice Boulevard so that the project may continue to be studied and evaluated.

Sincerely,

[Your name]
[Your address]


ONGOING

SHARE on social media! Tweet and post your support or photos of your ride through Venice, Jefferson, and Culver Boulevards, and Pershing Drive in the new bike lanes! Use #SaferVeniceBlvd, #SaferJeffersonBlvd#SaferCulverBlvd, and #SaferPershingDr or #SaferVistaDelMar, to build momentum and share your message with fellow safe streets advocates.

Safe Streets for Mar Vista & Play Del Rey

Stay up to date on SAFE STREETS in Mar Vista & Playa Del Rey ROAD RECONFIGURATION & SAFETY ENHANCEMENTS on the project websites.

Open House for Playa del Rey this Saturday has been POSTPONED – info HERE

Venice Blvd

A pilot project is underway, testing new lane configurations, parking, and safer crossing points for people walking on Venice Blvd between Beethoven St and Inglewood Blvd. The changes are designed to enhance safety, support Mar Vista’s vibrant neighborhood, and enhance the small business climate.

Learn More


IMG_0296.JPG

Culver, Jefferson, Pershing

LADOT recently installed transportation safety enhancements along Pershing Dr, Culver Blvd, and Jefferson Blvd in Playa del Rey. The new street designs along Culver Blvd and Pershing Dr incorporate protected turn lanes that make the street more accessible and safe.

Learn More →


Vista Del Mar

The new street design addresses acute safety issues on Vista del Mar for beach visitors. Vista del Mar runs along Dockweiler Beach in the Playa del Rey neighborhood. LADOT took action to address the immediate safety issues on the street prior to the high-use summer months. LADOT removed parallel parking from the east side of the street to eliminate unsafe crossings, reconfigured parking to maintain/increase access to affordable parking, and added new designated areas for safe u-turns.

Learn More →

Action Alert: July 11th MVCC meeting

IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SENT AN EMAIL PLEASE DO SO NOW!

Safe street projects on the Westside are under attack from vocal opponents who prefer the status quo over safety.

>>>>>>> JOIN US IN TAKING ACTION >>>>>>>

 

Tuesday, July 11th the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) meet to discuss recommendations surrounding new street configuration with protected bike lanes on Venice Blvd.

No matter where you live, we need you to take action to protect Vision Zero projects in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey.

The LA Department of Transportation used internationally proven and evidence-based methods to design new street safety improvements in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey that was informed by community input.

We can’t let misinformation and impatience stop us from building safer streets and more vibrant communities. Some drivers using these corridors have grown impatient because they are unable to travel at the same unsafe high speeds as they previously could.

Despite the great public benefit, these projects have unfortunately come under attack amid a flurry of misinformation being circulated about the projects. There is some concern that they will be removed, thus potentially setting a troubling precedent for Vision Zero projects all across LA County.

For more information on these important projects see HERE

TODAY — Please email Mar Vista & Venice Neighborhood Councils
– Template letter and email addresses below. 

ATTEND: Tuesday, July 11th

the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) meeting at the Mar Vista Recreation Center at 7:00pm! The MVCC will be taking action on the bike lanes and it’s critical for us to show up and let them know these lanes are essential for safe Westside streets. If you plan to attend, please let us know by signing in here so we can keep you up to date and help prepare you for public comment. Don’t forget to share on social media if you show up!

ONGOING

SHARE on social media! Tweet and post your support or photos of your ride through Venice, Jefferson, and Culver Boulevards, and Pershing Drive in the new bike lanes! Use #SaferVeniceBlvd, #SaferJeffersonBlvd#SaferCulverBlvd, and #SaferPershingDr or #SaferVistaDelMar, to build momentum and share your message with fellow safe streets advocates.

EMAIL the Mar Vista Community Council and Venice Neighborhood Council TODAY to show your support for street safety improvements on Venice Blvd.

SAMPLE EMAIL: Please personalize.


To: MVCC@EmpowerLA.org, VeniceNC@EmpowerLA.org
CC: councilmember.bonin@lacity.org
BCC: lyndsey@la-bike.org, Cynthia.Rose@SMSpoke.org

RE: Support for Venice Blvd Great Streets Safety Improvements

Dear Members of the Mar Vista Community Council and the Venice Neighborhood Council:

I strongly encourage the Mar Vista Community Council and the Venice Neighborhood Council to continue supporting the project on Venice Blvd. as part of the Mar Vista Great Streets Initiative. This recently installed project has come under attack, much of it being fueled by misinformation. Impatience of drivers shouldn’t stop the community  from building safer streets and more vibrant neighborhoods. These safety improvements will prevent future injuries and can save lives.

As a [student, older adult, mom, cyclist, person with a disability, business owner, etc], I firmly support the street safety improvements on Venice Blvd. This project was designed through community dialogue throughout a yearlong open process and is meant to make all residents and visitors safer. Similar to how the farmers market has improved our community, we believe the “small town feel” of this Great Streets initiative will do the same for Mar Vista and will further improve community culture.

We must continue to improve our streets with rigorous and informed evaluations, and I urge you to remain committed to creating vibrant and safer streets in Mar Vista.

Sincerely,

[Your name]
[Your address]

Action Alert: July 5th

Safe street projects on the Westside are under attack from vocal opponents who prefer the status quo over safety.

>>>>>>> JOIN US IN TAKING ACTION >>>>>>>

No matter where you live, we need you to take action to protect Vision Zero projects in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey.

The LA Department of Transportation used internationally proven and evidence-based methods to design new street safety improvements in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey that was informed by community input.

We can’t let misinformation and impatience stop us from building safer streets and more vibrant communities. Some drivers using these corridors have grown impatient because they are unable to travel at the same unsafe high speeds as they previously could.

Despite the great public benefit, these projects have unfortunately come under attack amid a flurry of misinformation being circulated about the projects. There is some concern that they will be removed, thus potentially setting a troubling precedent for Vision Zero projects all across LA County.

For more information on these important projects see HERE

TODAY — Please email Venice and Mar Vista Neighborhood Councils
– Template letter and email addresses below. 

Volunteer to phone bank 

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) will host phone banking (anytime) between 4pm-8pm at thier Headquaters DTLA. We will be calling members and allies to take action in support of Vision Zero and the new safety improvements! Local phone banking at Santa Monica Spoke HQ is being planned if we have volunteers interested. RSVP

ATTEND  Venice Neighborhood Council

the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC)meeting at the Canal Club at 7:00pm! The VNC Parking & Transportation Committee and Board of Directors Meeting will be discussing Venice Blvd, and there will be an opportunity to provide public comment and vote. Don’t forget to share on social media if you show up!

ONGOING

SHARE on social media! Tweet and post your support or photos of your ride through Venice, Jefferson, and Culver Boulevards, and Pershing Drive in the new bike lanes! Use #SaferVeniceBlvd, #SaferJeffersonBlvd#SaferCulverBlvd, and #SaferPershingDr or #SaferVistaDelMar, to build momentum and share your message with fellow safe streets advocates.

EMAIL the Mar Vista Community Council and Venice Neighborhood Council TODAY to show your support for street safety improvements on Venice Blvd.

SAMPLE EMAIL: Please personalize.


To: MVCC@EmpowerLA.org, VeniceNC@EmpowerLA.org
CC: councilmember.bonin@lacity.org
BCC: lyndsey@la-bike.org, Cynthia.Rose@SMSpoke.org

RE: Support for Venice Blvd Great Streets Safety Improvements

Dear Members of the Mar Vista Community Council and the Venice Neighborhood Council:

I strongly encourage the Mar Vista Community Council and the Venice Neighborhood Council to continue supporting the project on Venice Blvd. as part of the Mar Vista Great Streets Initiative. This recently installed project has come under attack, much of it being fueled by misinformation. Impatience of drivers shouldn’t stop the community  from building safer streets and more vibrant neighborhoods. These safety improvements will prevent future injuries and can save lives.

As a [student, older adult, mom, cyclist, person with a disability, business owner, etc], I firmly support the street safety improvements on Venice Blvd. This project was designed through community dialogue throughout a yearlong open process and is meant to make all residents and visitors safer. Similar to how the farmers market has improved our community, we believe the “small town feel” of this Great Streets initiative will do the same for Mar Vista and will further improve community culture.

We must continue to improve our streets with rigorous and informed evaluations, and I urge you to remain committed to creating vibrant and safer streets in Mar Vista.

Sincerely,

[Your name]
[Your address]

Sunday Funday: TOUR of the WESTSIDE

Safe street projects on the Westside are under attack from vocal opponents who prefer the status quo over safety.

For July,  LACBC’s Sunday Funday Ride we will tour the westside safety improvements in Playa del Rey and Mar Vista. We will also visit the Mar Vista Farmers Market for a buy-in to show local support for businesses and share fact sheets.

This ride will be approximately 13 miles at an easy-moderate pace.

You have two options to join!

We will be leading a feeder ride from Clover Park in Santa Monica to the Sunday Funday ride start at Culver Slauson Park.

— Feeder ride from Santa Monica will meet at Clover Park (NW corner of the park at 25th)
Where: Corner of Ocean Park Blvd and 25th
Time:    9am, roll — 9:15 sharp. 
We will ride to meet up with the group at Culver Slauson Park that rolls at 10am
Please rsvp@SMSpoke.org for the feeder ride from Santa Monica 

— Meet the group at Culver Slauson Park, 5072 S Slauson Ave at 9:30am – ride rolls at 10am. See full info for LACBC’s Sunday Funday event here.

>>>>>>> JOIN US IN TAKING ACTION >>>>>>>

SHARE on social media! Tweet and post photos of your ride through Venice, Jefferson, and Culver Boulevards, and Pershing Drive in the new bike lanes! Use #SaferVeniceBlvd, #SaferJeffersonBlvd#SaferCulverBlvd, and #SaferPershingDr or #SaferVistaDelMar, to build momentum and share your message with fellow safe streets advocates.

Action Alert: Support Safe Streets

Safe street projects on the Westside are under attack from vocal opponents who prefer the status quo over safety.

In Santa Monica we know that even the best drivers can make mistakes on dangerous streets. Los Angeles is one of the deadliest cities in our country for all road users — especially the most vulnerable such as children, older adults, pedestrians, cyclists, low-income commuters, and commuters of color. Street safety improvements are critical strategies to solve this public health crisis.

No matter where you live, we need you to take action to protect Vision Zero projects in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey.

The LA Department of Transportation used internationally proven and evidence-based methods to design new street safety improvements in Mar Vista and Playa del Rey that was informed by community input.

We can’t let misinformation and impatience stop us from building safer streets and more vibrant communities. Some drivers using these corridors have grown impatient because they are unable to travel at the same unsafe high speeds as they previously could. LA Department of Transportation continues working to improve the synchronization of signal lights to help improve traffic flow, while also keeping streets safe for all who use the corridor throughout their day — including motor vehicle drivers.

Despite the great public benefit, these projects have unfortunately come under attack amid a flurry of misinformation being circulated about the projects. There is some concern that they will be removed, thus potentially setting a troubling precedent for Vision Zero projects all across LA County.

However, there are actions you can take to make sure that the streets are safer for the communities of Mar Vista, Playa Del Rey, and everywhere by supporting roadway redesigns that improve walking and biking. You can help to end this public health crisis by supporting these Great Streets, Complete Streets and Vision Zero projects whether they are in your backyard or way across town.

Mar Vista Great Streets Initiative

The Mar Vista Great Streets Initiative began in 2015 with an extensive community outreach process facilitated by Councilmember Mike Bonin and the city-wide Great Streets Initiative. The primary goal is to make Venice Blvd. safer for all road users who travel the corridor, as well as to support local businesses.

Venice Blvd. is part of LA’s Vision Zero High Injury Network (HIN), meaning the street has a higher rate of injuries and deaths compared to others in L.A. Since 2011, there have been 48 cyclists and pedestrians injured from crashes in this particular corridor.

In May the City installed four new pedestrian crossings, protected and buffered bike lanes, and improvements at existing signalized intersections–all with the goal of reducing injuries and deaths. The project runs about .8 miles from Inglewood Blvd. to Beethoven St.

Playa Del Rey Street Safety Initiative

The Playa Del Rey projects came from community interest in improving street safety and making Playa del Rey a more livable beach community for all of its residents. After two and a half years of community outreach and engagement, the community opted to install lane restriping as a pilot project, which it will continue to evaluate over the next year. According to LADOT, from 2003 – 2016, Culver Blvd. had 84 serious injury crashes and 6 deaths; Jefferson Blvd. had 96 serious injury crashes and 2 deaths; and Pershing Dr had 64 serious injury crashes.

The boundaries of each project are Culver Blvd. between Vista Del Mar and Jefferson Blvd.; Jefferson Blvd. between Culver Blvd. and Lincoln Blvd.; and Pershing Dr. between Cabora Dr. and Westchester Pkwy. Each of these streets were re-striped to calm traffic and slow vehicle speeds as cars drive through the Playa del Rey neighborhood. Each also includes added buffered bicycle lanes that will create safe routes for people on bikes to connect to destinations on Westchester Pkwy., Lincoln Blvd., and Dockweiler State Beach bike path.



Vista Del Mar

A separate but related Vision Zero project on Vista Del Mar was developed urgently with an unfortunately rushed community outreach process because these are some of the most dangerous intersections and streets in the City of Los Angeles. Playa Del Rey Safe Streets Initiative was in response to dangerous levels of speeding, a pattern of tragic crashes that resulted in serious injuries and death, and a $9.5 million wrongful death lawsuit that was settled in April of this year. The suit came in response to the tragic death of 16-year old Naomi Larsen, who was fatally struck by a car while trying to cross the street after attending a bonfire at Dockweiler with her friends.

From 2003 – 2016, there were 210 traffic collisions on Vista Del Mar, including 5 deaths. To address the dangerous design of this street before the summer beach crowds started flooding in, LADOT began working on May 21 to move all parking to the west side of the street only (parking had to remain on the street due to California Coastal Commission regulations), create U-turn pockets, and narrow the road to one lane in each direction. This project does not include a bike lane. The project runs from Imperial Hwy. to Culver Blvd.


What can you do to lend your support and help make sure these street projects are a success?

>>>>>>> JOIN US IN TAKING ACTION >>>>>>>

July 2nd Sunday Funday Ride on the Westside.

The ride will tour the safety improvements in Playa del Rey and Mar Vista and will visit the Mar Vista Farmers Market for a buy-in to show local support for businesses and share fact sheets.Ride will be approximately 13 miles at an easy-moderate pace.

Two ways to join:
Feeder ride from Santa Monica to Sunday Funday. Meet at Clover Park (NW corner at 25th) 9am, roll at 9:15 sharp to meet up with the group that rolls at 10am from Culver Slauson Park.
Please rsvp@SMSpoke.org
— Meet at Culver Slauson Park, 5072 S Slauson Ave at 9:30am – ride rolls at 10am
See full info for LACBC’s Sunday Funday event here.

SHARE on social media! Tweet and post photos of your ride through Venice, Jefferson, and Culver Boulevards, and Pershing Drive in the new bike lanes! Use #SaferVeniceBlvd, #SaferJeffersonBlvd#SaferCulverBlvd, and #SaferPershingDr or #SaferVistaDelMar, to build momentum and share your message with fellow safe streets advocates.

July 5th, Wednesday: Volunteer to phone bank,

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) will host phone banking (anytime) between 4pm-8pm at thier Headquaters DTLA. We will be calling members and allies to take action in support of Vision Zero and the new safety improvements! Local phone banking at Santa Monica Spoke HQ is being planned if we have volunteers interested. RSVP

July 5th, Wednesday: ATTEND

the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC)meeting at the Canal Club at 7:00pm! The VNC Parking & Transportation Committee and Board of Directors Meeting will be discussing Venice Blvd, and there will be an opportunity to provide public comment and vote. Don’t forget to share on social media if you show up!

July 11th, Tuesday: ATTEND

the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) meeting at the Mar Vista Recreation Center at 7:00pm! The MVCC will be taking action on the bike lanes and it’s critical for us to show up and let them know these lanes are essential for safe Westside streets. If you plan to attend, please let us know by signing in here so we can keep you up to date and help prepare you for public comment. Don’t forget to share on social media if you show up!

EMAIL the Mar Vista Community Council and Venice Neighborhood Council TODAY to show your support for street safety improvements on Venice Blvd. See sample email.

SAMPLE EMAIL: Please personalize.

To: MVCC@EmpowerLA.org, VeniceNC@EmpowerLA.org
CC: councilmember.bonin@lacity.org
BCC: lyndsey@la-bike.org, Cynthia.Rose@SMSpoke.org

RE: Support for Venice Blvd Great Streets Safety Improvements

Dear Members of the Mar Vista Community Council and the Venice Neighborhood Council:

I strongly encourage the Mar Vista Community Council and the Venice Neighborhood Council to continue supporting the project on Venice Blvd. as part of the Mar Vista Great Streets Initiative. This recently installed project has come under attack, much of it being fueled by misinformation. Impatience of drivers shouldn’t stop the community  from building safer streets and more vibrant neighborhoods. These safety improvements will prevent future injuries and can save lives.

As a [student, older adult, mom, cyclist, person with a disability, business owner, etc], I firmly support the street safety improvements on Venice Blvd. This project was designed through community dialogue throughout a yearlong open process and is meant to make all residents and visitors safer. Similar to how the farmers market has improved our community, we believe the “small town feel” of this Great Streets initiative will do the same for Mar Vista and will further improve community culture.

We must continue to improve our streets with rigorous and informed evaluations, and I urge you to remain committed to creating vibrant and safer streets in Mar Vista.

Sincerely,

[Your name]
[Your address]


This article was produced in collaboration with Dayna Galbreath from Streets Are For Everyone (SAFE) and other engaged community groups and partners.


Op-Ed Hey, Manhattan Beach, preventing pedestrian deaths is more important than your speedy morning commute

Letter to City Council on Vision Zero Implementation

How will Santa Monica’s leadership commit to this effort over the next two years? These are our asks, Agenda Item 9A.

June 27, 2017

Dear Mayor, City Council, City management and staff

With the number of crashes involving fatalities or serious injuries still climbing at alarming rates — we reaffirm that the time is now to make a strong commitment to Vision Zero and a true and meaningful investment in safer streets.

On May 9th Council gave clear direction they wanted staff to explore the creation of a staff coordinator to implement the City’s commitment to Vision Zero and the need to see real results in reducing serious traffic injuries and fatalities on our streets. Staff’s recommendation appears to be an incomplete response to council’s direction of creating a position to expedite implementation and to coordinate and capitalize on external and interdepartmental opportunities that may otherwise be lost.

In Santa Monica we have a demonstrated history of how talented and dedicated staff have produced undeniable successes and results. We are aiming for, and have achieved, huge environmental and sustainability successes, such as successful water conservation, implemented a nationally-recognized Wellness Project, and increased biking, a healthy active mobility option that contributes to a healthier environment and community. All of these successes have been reached by dedicating staff and money to achieve these results. The ultimate cost for not meeting our Vision Zero goals is loss of life. Money doesn’t have a brain or specific expertise, money cannot make the strategic and tactical decisions to achieve our ultimate commitment to our City’s safety goals and Vision Zero — Only people can, the time to start is now.

Fixing problems is more intensive and costs money. Preventative measures save money and in this case save lives. We are now faced with “fixing” outdated planning policies of an auto centric 50’s that have recently made safety on our streets exponentially worse — we must be proactive in identifying and addressing solutions. Santa Monica must continue to be a catalyst and leader in protecting the lives of our residents and visitors. We heard our City Manager recount how Bill Bratton was laughed at because he wanted to “prevent crimes”. However that didn’t stop him and he made his vision a reality in NY! Let us not laugh off proactive implementation to reach our commitment to a safer Santa Monica and Vision Zero. We must progress beyond words on a page and create a proactive, transparent system with dedicated funding and specific actions toward this effort if we truly want to succeed in reducing preventable traffic injuries and fatalities in 10 years.

We understand there are many tradeoffs as we discuss the very real budgetary and financial issues for running our city. There can be no tradeoffs when it comes to the lives of our community and the epidemic of serious injuries and traffic fatalities we are now facing locally, regionally and nationally — we must not continue to dehumanize these preventable deaths and injuries by making them so abstract that they seem as though they are someone else’s problem. With this two year budget we must demonstrate true leadership and real investment in the safety of our community. We ask that council’s direction be followed and that we expedite necessary changes in practice to institutionalize, catalyze and guide efforts and focus to achieve our goals. We fully support the monetary proposal to jump-start and implement key safety projects. However it is imperative that we use a data-driven process and capable leadership to implement strategies that evaluate our progress and institute adjustments as necessary without collectively diluting the efforts of an already busy staff who continue to implement successes in other related and important roles.

In Santa Monica we lead with initiatives like the Wellbeing Project that prioritizes human health and safety. Let’s continue this legacy and keep our streets safe as we encourage active transportation that must also reflect council’s priority to our Vision Zero Policy and infrastructure that removes safety barriers to make it a viable choice for our community — in addition to the framework to make safety implementation real.

This letter is submitted by Cynthia Rose for Santa Monica Spoke and Cris Gutierrez for Climate Action Santa Monica.


See our previous letter to Santa Monica City Council on Vision Zero HERE

Santa Monica Forward’s shared their values on the budget and Vision Zero HERE

Vision Zero Santa Monica starts NOW: Will you join us?

Beyond our collaborative efforts and the petition with Santa Monica Forward and Santa Monica Walks, today this letter was sent to Santa Monica City Council from Santa Monica Spoke and Climate Action Santa Monica (CASM) supporting Vision Zero Implementation and funding. Join our campaign for safer streets today! You can still click here to Sign the Petition for Safer Streets Today!

More info on City Council Meeting tonight here. Join us, sign up for our email list in the sidebar or click here to email us at  volunteer@SMSpoke.org!

Dear Mayor, City Council, City management and staff

With the number of crashes involving fatalities or serious injuries nearing double digits in just the last few weeks — the time is now to make a strong commitment to Vision Zero and a true meaningful investment in safer streets.

Santa Monica is not suffering alone in the current increasing epidemic of serious injuries and traffic fatalities. Nationally, almost 40,000 people die each year in traffic collisions, numbers are up everywhere including in our neighbor, Los Angeles. Many cities, including Los Angeles, are adopting proactive and aggressive campaigns to address this crisis and have proposed dedicating substantial Measure M money for this purpose. We are a community in Santa Monica and need to work together to keep our residents and visitors safe. We must progress beyond words on a page and create a proactive, transparent system with dedicated funding and actions toward this effort, if we truly want to succeed in reducing preventable traffic fatalities and serious  injuries. One’s life should be not put at risk for walking or riding a bike, especially when we are encouraging people to walk and bike for daily life, our heath, and the environment.

“Managing speed,” a new report from The World Health Organization [1], notes that excessive or inappropriate speed contributes to 1 in 3 road traffic fatalities worldwide. “Measures to address speed prevent road traffic deaths and injuries, make populations healthier, and cities more sustainable.”

Speed increases the severity of injuries and chances of fatality in traffic collisions. The chances of a dying when struck by a vehicle at 20mph = 5% but increases to 45% at 30mph and a chilling 85% at 40mph! Please reflect on that for a moment — consider that although our posted speed limits (attachment 1) should be relatively safe for walking and biking – possible and actual speeds are often at or above 40mph (studies indicate that typically 40–50% of drivers go over posted speed limits).  Add to that distracted, ambivalent and aggressive driving, and it becomes very dangerous for people walking and biking.

This is not just an enforcement problem. Coordinated efforts involving community engagement, safety campaigns, roadway improvements and city policy must work hand-in-hand with sustained equitable enforcement. This epidemic of preventable loss of life extends far beyond the individual victims themselves and forever impacts the lives of family, friends and our community. We must emphasize our value of human life above all other factors.

In the 50’s, traffic deaths, individual and totals were openly published in the daily newspaper. Our current tendency is to bury this data, which dehumanizes these preventable deaths and injuries making them so abstract as though they are someone else’s problem. They are our problem. With collaboration and openness and outreach we can begin to again humanize this growing epidemic and actively begin to implement real solutions.

With the 2 year budget soon to be approved, the time is now to demonstrate true leadership and real investment in the safety for our community with Vision Zero. As we lead the charge to reduce preventable traffic fatalities to zero in 10 years it will require transparency, leadership and real investment in the form of funding for dedicated staffing and coordinated safety infrastructure improvements. Vision Zero must be an inter-agency collaboration that builds sustained leadership between elected leaders, City management, staff, city departments and agencies and the community.

It is essential we hire full-time staff (pedestrian safety coordinator recommended in the adopted Pedestrian Action Plan,) to take lead and coordinate Vision Zero and to fund improved safety infrastructure, like separated bike lanes, better crosswalks, and safer sidewalks. Changes in practice must institutionalize, catalyzed and guided with staff effort and focus. It is imperative that we use a data-driven process to implement strategies, evaluate our progress and institute adjustments as necessary. Los Angeles provides good examples with their recent Vision Zero Website (attachment 2). In addition to dedicated staff, outside consultants will likely be needed to assist in setting targets and identifying inter-departmental practices necessary for achieving meaningful success for Vision Zero.

Safe Routes to School works to encourage students to walk and bike to school – we know activity has been proven to increase overall health and learning. With an engaged active school like McKinley Elementary (top performer during the last 4 BikeIT WalkIT BusIT events) we can target improvements that serve many families. McKinley was identified as one of the most dangerous schools for Pedestrian Safety in California so funding in this corridor should be on the priority list. Let’s create robust and connected safety corridors around all our schools. We must have dedicated staff to coordinate this effort.

In addition to institutionalizing the creation of safer streets we should also be looking to adopt a robust Complete Streets policy and establish the long requested Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory committee that should include input on implementation of  Vision Zero.

In Santa Monica we lead with initiatives like the Wellbeing Project that prioritizes human health and safety. In 1994, Santa Monica led with the Sustainability Plan that followed with the establishment of an Office of Sustainability and Environment and Sustainability Director (now Chief Sustainability Officer). Encouraging active transportation requires a Vision Zero policy and infrastructure that removes safety barriers to make it a viable choice for our community, and a staff framework to make safety real.

Santa Monica has a history of demonstrating leadership with commitment to the environment, reducing green house gas emissions, as the City encourages residents and visitors to use alternate modes of transportation like walking, biking and public transportation. With that there is also the obligation to keep us safe when we opt for these modes, whether out of necessity, for our health or for the planet. The climate benefits of bicycling and walking are significant and essential to confront our climate crisis.  According to the Pacific Institute study, depending on one’s diet, each mile bicycled reduces from 87% to 97% the CO2 emissions of driving. For every mile walked, there is a reduction of 77% to 95% of the CO2 emissions caused by driving. Getting out of the car to move about our community, however, to advance health and climate measures means little or nothing if safety is not also prioritized. As with sustainability, Santa Monica can lead on Vision Zero.

This letter is submitted on behalf of Santa Monica Spoke and Climate Action Santa Monica.
Cynthia Rose, Katherine King and Cris Gutierrez


[1] Speed management key to saving lives, making cities more liveable
Attachment 1 – City of Santa Monica Speed Limit Map
Attachment 2  – LADOT Roadway Fatalities http://visionzero.lacity.org/map/

Attachment 1, Speed Limit Map City of Santa Monica

Attachment 2 Los Angeles Roadway fatalities Map

Sign the Petition for Safer Street TODAY!

We invite you to participate at the May 9th City Council Meeting by joining us, sending your personal input to council, and Signing the Petition for Safer Streets Today!

Will you attend? RSVP@SMSpoke.org

First the Fun !

At the May 9th Council Meeting the Mayor will proclaim May as Bike Month in 2017!
Join us to celebrate our communities dedication to biking and healthily active transportation.

Next ACTION !

“the current epidemic of serious injuries and traffic fatalities is nearing double digits in just the last few weeks”

At the May 9th meeting the City Council will hear from staff and the public on the City’s efforts on pedestrian and biking safety programs, infrastructure improvements and implementation on Vision Zero.  Here is the Staff Report on Vision Zero, Bike Action Plan, and Pedestrian Action Plan Implementation. The Council’s agenda has the hearing immediately after the consent calendar; we expect it to begin between 6:30 and 7:30 pm this Tuesday.With the 2 year budget soon to be discussed this is our opportunity to tell our city leaders we want true commitment to safety in the form of dedicated funding for improved safety infrastructure. This is our chance to tell the City that we want them to hire a full-time pedestrian safety coordinator to coordinate Vision Zero and to fund improved safety infrastructure, like buffered bike lanes, better crosswalks, and safer sidewalks.

Without a pedestrian coordinator dedicated to the task of Vision Zero to coordinate between City departments and to shepherd and oversee projects we can never realize the commitment Santa Monica made to reduce preventable traffic fatalities to zero in 10 years. The City must be transparent, coordinated and data driven if we ever wish to solve the growing epidemic of serious injuries and fatalities due to traffic collisions!

Santa Monica has demonstrated it’s commitment to the environment and reducing emissions by encouraging residents and visitors toward alternate modes of transportation like walking, biking and public transportation. With that there is also the obligation to keep us safe when we opt for these modes for our health and for the health of our community through the commitment of funds for staff and projects. With the current epidemic of serious injuries and traffic fatalities nearing double digits in just the last few weeks in Santa Monica — the time is now to make that commitment!  One’s life should not be put at risk for walking or riding a bike to get to our daily destinations.

If you have not yet signed the petition, we invite you to do so now. PLEASE also invite your friends and family to sign before the City Council Meeting May 9th. In addition to the petition you are also invited to send your thoughts and concerns directly to City Council members in advance of the May 9th meeting by emailing council@smgov.net.

If you have questions please do not hesitate to email us Info@SMSpoke.org

Click here to Sign the Petition for Safer Streets Today!