Report on August 3 Planning Commission meeting

Thanks to everyone who set aside their evening to come to yesterday’s Planning Commission meeting on the final draft of the Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Safe Routes to Transit Master Plan.

Unfortunately, the Commission chose not to adopt the resolution we were proposing. It would have clarified that the use of motor level-of-service (LOS) as a reason to rule out project design elements that are necessary for bicycle or pedestrian safety is inconsistent with the General Plan. The General Plan in its current form already commits the City to prioritize safety for all three modes above LOS.

Staff’s opinion was that this resolution would constitute an amendment to the General Plan. Bike Concord disagrees, but Planning Commissioners understandably chose to be cautious and defer to staff’s view on this point.

However, most of the Planning Commissioners were sympathetic to the issue we were raising: that the high priority given to LOS has been a persistent barrier to bicycle safety and is likely to continue to be so until the City changes its priorities. Planning Commission Vice-Chair Jason Laub in particular committed to help overcome this issue when it arises in specific projects before Planning Commission in the near future. Although we did not get the formal resolution we were seeking, we have succeeded in putting the issue of LOS vs safety on the agenda of Commissioners, staff, and to some extent, City Council. It will take sustained pressure, dialogue, and attention to every relevant future project to bring our work to fruition, but we are nearer to success than we have ever been.

Great comments from everybody – Brian Cory, Dave Pitman, Amy Ma, and Barbara Brunell, as well as kind words for Bike Concord from Coire Reilly of Contra Costa Health Services. Our turnout was important; this was reflected in the comments of Planning Commissioners and those of Transportation Manager Ray Kuzbari, who acknowledged that Bike Concord has become a strong community worth listening to.

If you have seldom or never been able to attend a public meeting with Bike Concord but support our mission, please consider choosing a meeting in the near future to come make a supportive comment. Your public support will be even more valuable if one meeting is all you can do, because you will be a new voice and face.