Manhattan Beach City Council heard a preliminary report Tuesday for a plan to create a bike lane on Aviation Boulevard that runs through the beach cities. The council unanimously decided to receive and file the report, but they are waiting to see a finalized version of the report before moving forward with the project.
Representatives of the Blue Zones Project, a beach cities health initiative partnered with the health organization Vitality City, addressed the council’s concerns and said despite being on a large, busy street, the bike lane will not be dangerous and that it will not impact small businesses.
“We have tried and we are including people—everybody—in this project,” said Mike Don, director of The South Bay Bicycle Coalition. “It has to be a win-win project.”
“We’re not going to put something forward that puts bicyclists at risk or cities at risk,” he added.
He said that the final report for the project will address questions from the community and local business owners. City management analyst Nuhng Madrid said the final report will also include input from the police about safety.
Katie McClure, Blue Zones community program leader, said that a study of Portland, Oregon, shows that more bike accessibility in the city increased the network of local bikers from 3,000 to 13,000 daily. She said that the bike lanes did not increase the risk of accidents on the road. More than 1,100 people signed the petition to add a bike lane, and “many of them are commuters,” she added.
The preliminary report from The Blue Zones Project considered options that would remove left turn lanes and parking spaces on Aviation Boulevard. Aamir Bhamani, owner of convenience store Speedy Mart on Aviation Boulevard, said he was concerned about how those modifications would affect his business.
“This is a mom and pop store; people come to get their coffee and everything, and parking is a big issue in Manhattan Beach,” Bhamani said. “If there was no left turn and no parking outside too, it would be a disaster. People would be driving miles to get only a couple of things.”
“Valentino’s Pizza means more to me than riding my bicycle on Aviation quite frankly,” said Manhattan Beach resident Jerry O’Connor. “They [business owners] need to be on board.”
The council amended the preliminary report for the project by removing any options for the bike lane that would eliminate left turn lanes or parking.
McClure said The Blue Zones project will apply for a grant to fund this project in spring. Blue Zone Project representatives will be attending council meetings in Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach in the coming weeks to file the same report.
“[The project] is consistent with a lot of the objectives that I really highlighted when I became mayor and was committed to with this council,” said council member and former mayor Nick Tell. “This is an important priority.” ER