Take Action: Carson Master Plan of Bikeways watered downJuly 30, 2013 at 10:26 am | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 3 Comments
We are asking those who live, play, or work in Carson to send emails to Carson City Council and advocate for the originally drafted Bike Plan. Since the draft plan was released, bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington have been removed, including cycle-tracks on Albertoni and University.
The opportunity for Carson to provide real improvements to encourage safe bicycling has hit a snag. What was originally planned to be a robust network of bike routes, bike lanes, and separated cycle-tracks has been watered down due to opposition, namely from the Watson Land Company and the StubHub Center, formerly the Home Depot Center. Given a recent bicyclists’ death in Carson, we hope that elected officials realize the urgent need to make the streets of Carson safer.
The City of Carson has been working on developing their Master Plan of Bikeways for over a year to build off of a few scatterings of bike lanes and bike routes in the city. Community support grew as the project moved ahead, with several well-attended community meetings, biking events, and consultation with city staff and the bicycling community. Over the course of this process, the Master Plan of Bikeways evolved into a draft that the community was impressed with and grew confidence in.
Since then, major players in the city have put their foot down in opposition to parts of the plan. At June’s Planning Commission meeting, StubHub Center (home to the Velo Sports Center) and Watson Land Company were successful in diluting the proposed plan, which in its current form, is heading to City Council on August 6th.
Here are the arguments against certain aspects of the plan, and who was behind them.
- The Watson Land Company expressed concern about installing bike lanes where there is heavy truck traffic, which include many of the arterials in Carson because of the large industrial presence in the city. Watson Land Company believes bicyclists are put in danger if encouraged to ride in bike lanes alongside heavy traffic. Despite the plan’s effort to install colored buffered bike lanes along Wilmington Avenue, where no travel lanes would be removed and is one of the few North/South corridors in Carson, Watson still rejected the idea and had the project removed. The same goes for Watson Center Road, originally planned for a standard bike lane without having to remove a travel lane, now gone.
Watson Land Company has always prefaced their disinterest in bicycle improvements in Carson with safety of bicyclists as their main concern. Unfortunately the feelings are not based in reason. Time and time again we see studies that show bicycle lanes make it safer for bicyclists, marking a clear designation for bicyclists and other users of the road. It appears Watson Land Company wants to maintain the status quo, where currently bicyclists and trucks need to share the same travel lane, and somehow in their minds that is safer.
- StubHub Center (what used to be the Home Depot Center) also cited safety concerns and disruption of traffic flow to/from their facility, specifically by installing cycle-tracks and bike lanes on Central, Victoria, and University. These streets (and Avalon) encompass both StubHub Center and Cal State Dominguez Hills, where many people bicycle to campus and also to the Velodrome. Despite their main parking lots facing Avalon and Victoria, StubHub Center was able to exclude cycle-tracks on University from the plan because it would require the removal of one travel lane. Albertoni was also eliminated from the plan because of concerns of ingress/egress for StubHub Center despite the fact that it does not affect the 91 Freeway on/off ramps’ turn lanes. The StubHub Center has asked that we clarify their position – you can find their letter citing specific concerns in a commission report here.
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is looking to continue to advocate for safer streets for all users in Carson. As we anticipate passage of the Carson Master Plan of Bikeways at August 6th’s City Council meeting, we want to make sure that the integrity of the approved plan is based on sound studies and rooted in desires from the community. We strongly disagree with Watson Land Company’s assertion that adding bike lanes to a corridor will make biking more unsafe.
Take Action: Tell Carson City Council to preserve the Master Plan of Bikeways’ original intent of having a cycle-track on Albertoni and University, and preserving the proposed bike lanes on Avalon, Watson Center Road, and Wilmington.
If you cannot make the meeting on August 6 at 6 p.m., please call Mayor Dear at 310-952-1700 ext 1000 and email the rest of council at: