Category Archives: action alert

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 We are now faced with “fixing” outdated planning policies of an auto centric 50’s that have recently made safety on our streets exponentially worse — we must be proactive in identifying and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!

CalBike and the CA State Transportation Bill needs our help!

California Bicycle Coalition

You’ve probably heard about how our state transportation bill, which California Bicycle Coalition / CalBike has been working on for the past two years, has been poisoned by a last-minute deal with the trucking industry that would exempt large dirty diesel trucks from air pollution regulations.

Support us today to defeat this deal.

The policy team at CalBike is fighting right now in Sacramento for a better deal for people biking and walking, and to protect communities that have suffered decades of crummy transportation policy that has put cars first instead of people. We can’t let our state government sell these communities’ clean air and healthy lungs to the trucking industry.

With your support, we can stop this deal and get a great transportation bill with more money for biking, walking, and transit, and no dirty trucks loophole.

Donate right now to help the policy team defeat the dirty trucks loophole.

Thank you,
Cynthia Rose, Board Member
Jenn Guitart, Development Director
California Bicycle Coalition

P.S. People are counting on us to fix this deal, and we’re counting on you. Join us today in this fight.

Image of polluting truck

California Bicycle Coalition · 466 Water St, Oakland, CA 94607, United States 

North Beach Trail Improvements – Take the Survey / Volunteer this weekend

Survey now open

North Beach Trail Improvements

The City of Santa Monica is planning to make improvements to the Santa Monica Beach Trail between Bay Street and the north city limits to make it safer and easier for walking and biking. Community Outreach is now underway and they need to hear from you! 

  • Please take the online survey by April 23, 2017 to provide your input
  • Visit the project website for more information and updates about the project
  • Walk or bike to the Beach Trail on April 9 to take an in-person survey 

More info here

Protest/Rally Against Santa Monica Airport’s Extreme Negative Impacts

RALLY FOR SATURDAY IS STILL ON



North Side of Douglas Loop North
(between 28th St. and 31st St. – near the Business Park off of Ocean Park Blvd)

You are invited, along with friends, family and neighbors to come out and show support and unity to stop the continuation of the extreme harmful impacts from Santa Monica Airport (SMO).

SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKERS will include: Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer, Congressman Ted Lieu,  Los Angeles Council Member Mike Bonin and other political representatives, as well as community activists from Santa Monica, Ocean Park, Venice, West Los Angeles and Mar Vista.

While the settlement agreement of the law suit with the FAA has been announced, allowing The City of Santa Monica to close SMO December 31st 2028 (still 12 years away)  – The urgency for this protest is because due to start February 2017, JetSuite – funded by JetBlue is scheduled to begin offering commercial jet service of 30 seat jets out of Santa Monica Airport. SMO has short 5000′ runway that is not designed for jets and has no safety runway area to protect immediately adjacent neighborhoods and homes.

UPDATE: JetSuiteX Delays Service to Santa Monica Airport
IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 1, 2017 JetSuiteX announced today that they have entered into a Standstill Agreement with the city of Santa Monica concerning JetSuiteX’s planned operations at Santa Monica Airport. The agreement is designed to give the parties time to come to a final agreement. 
Flights to Santa Monica Airport were originally scheduled to launch on February 6th, with destinations including Carlsbad, San Jose and Las Vegas. In the interim, JetSuiteX has agreed not to operate at Santa Monica prior to February 15th, 2017. To avoid uncertainty and confusion, JetSuiteX has cancelled all flights to/from or connecting through Santa Monica from February 6th through February 24(th) and will issue full refunds for all affected customers.
CEO Alex Wilcox said, “Given the uncertainty surrounding the status of the airport we have entered into this standstill agreement to provide time for an orderly process to negotiate with the city. We apologize to our clients…”

This new service was scheduled prior to the recent settlement and at a time when the Santa Monica City Council has moved to evict Atlantic Aviation the jet service provider. The Council has voted unanimously to protect our community and neighbors and reduce the harmful impacts of the airport by closing it as soon as legally possible. Santa Monica has committed to a vision to replace SMO with a healthy and sustainable park that would be open to all and accessible to everyone.

According to SMO records, in recent months jet flights out of the airport have increased dramatically to where the city is now pumping over 3 million gallons of aviation fuel and generating up to 60 million lbs. of C02 annually. Currently at this shocking 15% annual rate of increase – jet flights, noise and pollution would increase by a massive 100% by 2023 presuming existing airport configuration. In the City’s announcement of the settlement with the FAA it was stated the City of Santa Monica is within its legal rights to immediately plan and reduce of the current length of the runway to 3500′. This length of runway is too short and would prevent flights of many (current) jet aircraft under FAA rules. Find our more at the rally this Saturday.

The it of Santa Monica has been making progressive strides toward protecting the environment and continuing its leadership by making Santa Monica a more sustainable place to live, work and play.  This is exemplified with the launch of Breeze, LA first public bike share, opening of Metro’s new Expo Line and updated Big Blue Bus service connections. The aviation industry (without regards to the safety and against the wishes of the community or the City) want to transform the existing, small general aviation airport into a major – unsafe commercial airport.

We join groups that are supporting this Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution event. These include: No Jets – Santa Monica, Airport2Park Foundation, Friends of Sunset Park, Venice Residents Against SMO, North Westdale Neighborhood Association, Mar Vista Community Association, CASMAT and SMO Future.

For more information – contact: Martin Rubin, (310) 479-2529 – martinrubin@earthlink.net

Any updates will be posted HERE

Local Voter Guide: YOUR VOTE COUNTS!

VOTE California

Check BikeTheVote Endorsements here

MEASURES WE SUPPORT OR OPPOSE

LOCAL

Measure GSH is a half-cent sales tax measure – funded largely by tourists – that will provide new revenues to the City of Santa Monica. Measure GS says those new funds should be used for our local public schools and affordable housing programs – two pillars of our community that are woefully under-funded. New funds will be locally controlled and cannot be taken away by the State. Endorsements and more HERE

  • YES on V

For 87 years Santa Monica College has been the premier Community College in California. SMC is number one in transfers to the University of California and provides over 100 affordable fields of study and job-training programs.
50% of Santa Monica High School students attend SMC. SMC serves 1,000 veterans each year.
As technology changes the workplace and the cost of higher education soars, access to a high quality Community College education with safe, modern, and efficient facilities adaptable to changes in technology is more important than ever.
Measure V allows SMC to better meet the needs of our community by completing the 2010 Master Plan:
More HERE

REGIONAL

  •  YES on Measure M

    The measure will provide approximately $120 billion over 40 years for transportation projects. Of that money, over $4 billion is set aside for walking and biking. Measure M will give Los Angeles County its first sustained source of funding for walking and biking projects.
    #MakeLACounty more walk and bikeable, livable and connected! More HERE

  • YES on A

    Raises much needed money for parks and public open spaces. Not only will it help improve the quality of life for park-poor parts of our region like South L.A., Koreatown, and East L.A., but will also supplement our resources to increase access to open space in the park-poor parts of Santa Monica. Endorsements and more HERE

  • YES on HHH

Prop HHH is a common-sense, cost-effective approach to solving the problems of growing homelessness, increasing encampments, and at-risk populations of homeless women and children, seniors and veterans. Endorsements and more HERE

State

  • YES on 67 (NO on 65)

Proposition 67 is a statewide measure to uphold the ban on single-use plastic bags. This measure is an important step towards sustainability, less waste and protecting the environment. Endorsements and more HERE

NON-PROFIT BIKE-VOTE-INFOGRAPHIC

Last Day: Register to VOTE!

Today is the LAST DAY TO REGISTER
for the November 8th General Election.

It’s also a great time to take a moment, particularly if you’ve registered for the first time or moved, to double check that your registration is entered and current.

Register online here: http://bit.ly/btvregister
Check your registration here: https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/

#BikeTheVote voter guide

VOTE California

 

 

Why Yes Measure M?

WHAT IS MEASURE M?

Make LA County Bikeable, Liveable & Connected!

 Measure M, known as the “Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan,”  is a half-cent sales tax ballot measure that L.A. County residents have the opportunity to vote on this November. The measure will provide approximately $120 billion over 40 years for transportation projects. Of that money, over $4 billion is set aside for walking and biking. Measure M will give Los Angeles County its first sustained source of funding for walking and biking projects.

Make LA County Bikeable, Liveable & Connected!
See what Measure M will bring to Santa Monica!
Pledge to vote YES on Measure M November 8th!

measurem-one-pager_sms

Click image for more information on Measure M

Vote #YesOnM

National: Draft rules don’t count bicyclists! We can change them!

Bike League Action

We need your help (again)!

The Federal Highway Administration once again ignored bicyclists when determining performance measures for our transportation system.  These performance measures may affect future funding to these areas- and could be a disincentive for states and communities to build biking and walking networks.

  • Even though Congress just instituted a complete streets policy for the National Highway System (Main streets, arterials and other major roads), FHWA wants to measure performance of the system using a measure for drivers only.
  • It measures congestion by measuring delay for drivers, but gives no credit to states or metropolitan areas that invest in biking, walking or transit facilities that reduce congestion.
  • Finally, the rule sets goals for measuring air pollutants from transportation, but doesn’t include greenhouse gases.

If these draft rules are implemented, they will hinder the ability of local governments to implement complete streets, build protected bike lanes, etc.

We can change these rules! We’ve done it before!
With your help we convinced FHWA to include a safety performance measure for biking and walking. We need your help again.

Send in your own comments here.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/S7VPiw6aRKVgUwigwm1oUg