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February 09, 2005

Mr. Cycling Dude goes to Costa Mesa

Last night I went to my local City Council Meeting, here in Costa Mesa, for the 1st time, intent on covering it for my other blog.

I had not intention of speaking up on anything.

Events conspired to allow me the opportunity to speak up on behalf of bicycling.

Twice.

The 1st thing that needs to be said is that if a bunch of bicyclists showed up for a meeting they would find no bike racks, and would have to settle for locking their bikes to various stair rails, and other nearby poles, and columns.

***We interupt this story for an important, March 14, 2005, update involving the above observation!***

It's 630pm, and the place is packed.

After the pledge, and an invocation, the evening began in ernest.

There was a 5 minute presentation by a member of the Historical Preservation Committee which discussed its budget, and goals such as a speakers program, revising an old book called A Children's History of Costa Mesa, and a new, soon to be released, brochure ( with map ) bragging about the numerous historical building spread around town.

When the speaker extolled the last, especially its map, as a peachy keen way for folks to take a walking... well, um, maybe not cuz it IS a bit far to walk for most folks... so make that DRIVING tour, I knew I just HAD to say something.

So when the Public Comment came next, I got out of my seat, and lumbered over to take my place in line, and give my 3 minutes worth.

I introduced myself as being relatively new in town ( 1 1/2 yrs. ), and a first timer to the meeting.

I also mentioned being the publisher of 2 weblogs, and gave their names and URLS.

I talked of how I would hope that any publicity for the tour also extol the virtues of doing the tour by bicycle, especially if there are either dedicated bike trails, bike lanes, signed bike routes, or any combination thereof, along the way.

I made the point that I'd love to publicize such a route on The Cycling Dude as soon as I got hold of the map.

I noticed several council members nodding, and writing down notes, but never got a chance to talk to the presenter afterward because he soon left.

A few hours later my 2nd opportunity presented itself.

The Harbor Blvd. Improvement Project, and work near the 405 fwy. between Gisler Avenue on the south, and Sunflower Ave. on the north came up for discussion:

A lot of work has been done in the past year to improve the access to and from the 405, yet traffic levels on Harbor are still nearing capacity.

The fact that therre are 4, count 'em, 4 signalized intersections between Gisler, and South Coast Dr. ( before even getting to Sunflower ) adds to peak period challenges.

This has led to discussions, and plans for a tieback wall, 4 lanes of traffic north, and south, and a bus turnout.

The results of various environmental impact studies are discussed.

Then a call for Public comment is made, and I chose to speak up again.

I talk about being a bike commuter, and how construction and, final results so far, impacted bicyclists using Harbor.

Most cyclists are not familiar with safe vehicular cycling methods such as taking a lane, and find congested intersections, and stretches of road intimidating.

Add to the mix the difficulty of navigating a complicated freeway interchange such a this one without either getting run over, or ending up on the 405, not to mention construction projects, then my concern is that the interests, and safety, of bicylists be taken into account during the work, and in the the final results of said work.

More head nodding, and note taking ensued, and much laughter by all in the room when I mention that, as a cyclist, I had even less interest in getting on the 405 than the average OC car driver.

So now everyone in town who either attended the meeting, or watched it ( live or in later re-runs ) on Public Access TV knows of The Cycling Dude, and Sneakeasy's Joint, and their URLS.

The also now know what I look like ( visions of parents shielding the eyes of young, impressionable, skulls full of mush, dance through my head )!

CMTV says 20,000 Comcast Cable subscribers have access to the channel, but you know damn well, only maybe 5% ( to be generous ) watch the council meetings every 2 weeks.

I look forward to opportunites to attend future meetings.

February 9, 2005 in Pedaling Advocacy | Permalink

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Comments

Bravo for speaking up at the city council meeting. Except for the backbay bike trail, I find it pretty frustrating to ride around here. Maybe we should organize a cycling intervention with the council. You know, twenty or more people showing up on bicycles to show that we need to be considered in all transportion plans.

Posted by: bruce barnhart | Jun 24, 2005 1:12:04 AM

Thanks!

My little contribution to cycling in Costa Mesa will be my parting gift as I move to Santa Ana:

Last March I created a Tour de Costa Mesa, and will FINALLY post it once all the moving is finished.

Posted by: Kiril Kundurazieff | Jun 24, 2005 4:05:44 AM

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