Here are Bike Concord’s minutes from the fourth meeting of the Plan Advisory Committee, which was held on Monday, July 27. (Sorry for the delay in posting.)
The PowerPoint presentation referred to is available online from the City: http://www.cityofconcord.org/pdf/projects/transit/07272015.pdf
Laura Hoffmeister called the meeting to order at 5:33pm. The following people were present:
- Laura Hoffmeister (Vice-Mayor and chair of the committee).
- Sergio Huerta (at-large member and vice-chair of the committee).
- Claire Linder (at-large member).
- Carlyn Obringer (Planning Commission representative on the committee).
- Jennifer Donlon-Wyant (Alta Planning + Design, consultant on the Master Plan).
- Andy Mogensen (Principal Planner, City of Concord).
- Laura Simpson (Planning Manager, City of Concord).
- Coire Reilly (Contra Costa Health Services).
- Smitty Ardrey (Bike Concord).
- Kenji Yamada (Bike Concord).
- Yelena Myakisheva (Bike Concord).
- Brian Cory (Bike Concord).
- Dave Kamlin (Bike Concord).
- Ray Barbour (member of the public).
- Jim Bartlett (member of the public).
No changes to agenda. No public comment on non-agenda items.
Michael Miller is the new alternate for Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROSC), but neither he nor Mark Sinclair was able to attend tonight.
Andy showed some photos from Pedalfest, an annual bike-centered festival held in Oakland by Bike East Bay and Bay Area Bikes. Bike Concord members attended the festival.
There was a capacity building workshop on July 16 with residents near Meadow Homes, conducted by Contra Costa Health Services and Monument Impact. Coire Reilly of CCHS described it. Residents said areas around schools and streets with histories of accidents should be focus for resources. The most important street to them (after Detroit Ave which already has a substantial improvement project coming up) was Monument Blvd.
LH asked whether residents were looking for pedestrian or bicycle improvements. Coire said more pedestrian, but also bicycle. Strollers in particular.
LH asked whether residents were focused on any particular stretch of Monument Blvd. Coire said this was not discussed in detail.
Carlyn asked how many participants will be able to make it to the July 30 Community Workshop. Coire said Monument Impact is going to form a carpool from the Chavez Center. Ana Villalobos and Nati Flores of Monument Impact estimate at least 10 attendees from their group.
Community Workshop format and logistics
Andy said there will be 10 tables with facilitators at the Community Workshop. Focus will be on getting participants to draft and provide to the group their own goals, objectives, and policies.
Jennifer said participants will be asked to present at least one objective and one policy. PAC members will be asked to serve as facilitators at the breakout table groups. This means guiding the discussion process, without trying to influence the content.
Ana and Nati will be moving around helping to facilitate, and will also facilitate one or two Spanish-speaking tables.
The discussion will last about 45 minutes.
LH noted that at workshops, there is often a “parking lot” flipchart to store ideas that are not directly relevant to the discussion.
LH expressed concern that technical and planning jargon should be kept to a minimum, and should be made maximally clear to Spanish-speaking participants in particular.
Claire asked what the next steps would be after the Community Workshop. Jennifer said it would be for Alta and Concord Planning Division to draft goals, objectives, and policies to match what they hear from participants.
LH noted that one big need is for funding, and that the City would welcome any help or tips on grants to seek.
Mark Sinclair will be unable to attend the Community Workshop. LH will probably only be able to attend the beginning part, as Councilmembers are needed that evening at the Music and Market Series. Carlyn, Sergio, and Claire will participate as facilitators.
Claire said that the most important policy to include in the Master Plan is that safety of all road users should be the top priority. Noted that the City has already committed to place safety ahead of motor traffic flow (referring to Policy T-1.9.5 of the General Plan’s Circulation Element).
Sergio said the streets most used should be the highest priorities for improvements.
LH noted that a map had been shown at an earlier meeting with high-frequency lines of travel.
Claire said the entire length of Monument Blvd should get improvements, as the entire street is heavily used.
Sergio said links between communities for all users is key. Driver education will also be important. Existing complete streets designs should be used. The Master Plan should be used to set the vision.
LH noted that having a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan will allow us to seek additional grants which require such a plan.
Claire said that if the City needs residents’ help seeking funding, we would be happy to help. Andy said letters of support from civic organizations (e.g. Bike Concord, Bike East Bay) would be very helpful.
Sergio asked whether Mt. Diablo Unified School District had been helpful in seeking grants. LH said the administrative structure of MDUSD makes this difficult, although sometimes school principals have been willing to help. Andy said the principal of Meadow Homes School is an example.
Coire said the state’s Active Transportation Program places high importance on local residents’ support for grant applications.
Claire asked whether there was agreement among the committee that safety should be the top priority. LH said it should be one priority (!), and community input on Thursday would shape this further.
Carlyn asked what would be done with the input received during the walking tour conducted by Alta in April. Jennifer said recommendations for possible projects would be developed from this input. Then these projects will be scored according to criteria, such as whether a school connection is involved, or how many collisions have happened at the location. Which criteria will be determined by the goals and objectives set by community input.
LH asked whether these criteria would be presented to the PAC after they are determined. Jennifer and Andy said yes.
Carlyn asked how the criteria will turn into implementation, in particular in highly congested areas. Andy said the criteria will help prioritize capital improvement projects for the City’s transportation staff (Ray Kuzbari et al.).
Jennifer said a Technical Advisory Committee including staff from other jurisdictions will be reviewing all drafts.
LH raised a concern about coordination for complete streets between neighboring municipalities. Noted that groups such as Bike Concord can help with this. Jennifer said she and Andy had reviewed the complete streets plans of Concord’s neighbors and would do their best to ensure consistency from Concord’s side.
Coire noted that one of the intended outcomes of the Master Plan process is a permanent Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee for Concord. (The present committee is only a temporary advisory committee for the drafting of the Master Plan.) LH agreed, but repeated her concern about consistency between neighboring jurisdictions. Coire noted that regional transportation committees (such as TRANSPAC for Concord and neighbors) play a central role in ensuring consistency.
Kenji agreed with LH’s earlier comment that resident groups such as Bike Concord can play a big role in eliciting consistency between jurisdictions, but said it helps a lot when city officials take the initiative to support residents’ priorities – e.g. Councilmember Leone on TRANSPAC.
Andy said city staffs routinely exchange plans to invite each other to comment on how they could be made more mutually consistent and linkable between cities.
Sergio brought up the topic of facilities such as bike parking. Regional parks are adding such facilities to serve increased walking and bicycling traffic. LH agreed that such facilities are important, and also mentioned air pumps and repair stations.
Claire said bike lockers at BART stations are in high demand. Andy suggested that a policy for this could be that the City will expand bike parking capacity when warranted by demand.
Aaron McHugh said water fountains to fill bottles are an important amenity for pedestrians.
Reporting and tracking hazards to bicycle traffic
Jim Bartlett said he hopes that one outcome of the process will be an easy way to report road hazards for bicycle traffic. Andy said the City had been using the Civic Hero app, but it has been discontinued by the developer, so they are looking for something else. Jim said he would like to see a regional system for this. LH said city staffs routinely share hazard and maintenance data with each other and alert each other to specific needs in their jurisdictions.
Jennifer said Sacramento has a 311 app for residents to share issues with the City. They now have an additional app called Cycle Sac.
Sergio raised the issue of road work barricades blocking bike lanes and sidewalks without any provision for detour. Jennifer noted that there are state standards for how to do this, so this is mostly a compliance issue.
Master Plan policy letter from Bike Concord, other local organizations, and residents
Andy noted that Bike Concord had submitted a letter with recommended policies for the Master Plan. Paper copies were made available to attendees. (If you signed the letter online or in person at Bike Tent, your name appears in the list of individual signers at the end of the letter.)
Andy briefly described Wednesday’s public meeting about Concord Blvd pavement rehabilitation. It will be led by the City’s Engineering Division.
August 24 will be the next PAC meeting.
One agenda item will be about formation of a standing BPAC.
Another will be a presentation about a project to add bike parking on Salvio St at Todos Santos. The PAC’s support and input will be sought for this project. This is required by the grant for the project. Planning Division will send a description of the project with the PAC meeting packet before the meeting.
Carlyn asked whether this project would go before the Design and Review Board. Andy said no, as it involves no permits.
LH asked whether the Todos Santos Business Association will have a chance to review the project. Laura Simpson said they have already reviewed it, and have been supportive.
LH asked whether the next PAC meeting will involve determination of final goals, objectives, and policies after community input. Andy said possibly, depending on how much of the summarizing of community input is completed by then.
Spring 2016 will be the third Community Workshop, at which the public and the PAC will review the Master Plan draft. After that, Alta and staff will go through all public comments received and respond to each (great!).
Summer 2016 is the target to put the draft in front of City Council for approval. Possibly as late as September.
LH expressed surprise that the target dates are so far in the future. Andy explained more about the behind the scenes work that makes this necessary.
Dave Kamlin submitted an input letter to Andy to be distributed to the committee.