The Newport Beach Bicycle Master Plan Oversight Committee met for possibly the last time this week as they approved the final draft of the plan to be passed on to city council.
Several bicycles leaned up against the wall and nearly 30 people filled the community room at the Civic Center on Tuesday to discuss the Bicycle Master Plan.
Councilman Tony Petros called the BMP “the first of it’s kind” for the city.
It will likely be reviewed by council in October.
The total cost estimate for the recommended bicycle infrastructure projects is $22.37 million, according to the plan draft document.
Brad Sommers, senior civil engineer in the city’s Public Works Department, presented the plan.
A draft of the plan was published on July 1. There were more than 100 comments from the public, he said.
“I think overall, the feedback we received was positive,” Sommers noted.
He highlighted a few recommendations in the plan, including coordinating with other agencies, addressing concerns regarding work vehicles and equipment in bike lanes, and monitoring the plan implementation and keeping it current.
The most controversial idea suggested at previous meetings is the Ocean Front Walk, Sommers said. Comments included separating bicycles and pedestrians, extending the path, and rerouting the path at Newport Pier parking lot. Constraints with these ideas include coastal permitting/construction, ocean front encroachments, and putting it in close proximity to residents.
“We’ve heard the discussion,” Sommers said. “We’ve heard the pros, we’ve heard the cons.”
With that, he continued, the recommendation in the BMP is to review the benefits, impacts and challenges in a comprehensive study.
He also mentioned a few of the “first priority” projects, several of which are substantial and require working with other agencies.
“The plan is to get started on these projects, get them rolling first, in addition to what we’re already working on, and see how far we can get within the next two or three fiscal years,” Sommers explained.
A favorite priority project of Sommers’ is the Coyote Canyon Class 1 Trail, he said.
The project would utilize the landfill site to create a new class 1 trail to connect Bonita Canyon Drive to San Joaquin Hills Road.
“This has potential to be a great bypass trail,” he remarked.
The property is owned and operated by the county, Sommers explained.
“This is an opportunity for us to coordinate with the county on a great joint project,” he said.
Another priority project are the recommended sidewalk improvements where cycling is allowed, which would include revising signage and markings to increase awareness.
This project also includes updating the resolution that dictates which ones are allowed to be ridden on and which are illegal and review multi-use sidewalks with consideration for both cyclists and pedestrians
It can be confusing and it’s worth taking a look at revising the sidewalk resolution, said City Manager Dave Kiff during the discussion.
The first priority programs include: Sidewalk cycling resolution update; family education program; “Be Seen in Newport Beach” campaign; and bike parking in-lieu policy revision.
A few committees members raised some concerns, but most were fairly pleased with the plan.
There has been a lot of progress since the last meeting, noted committee member Frank Peters. Several concerns were addressed, he added.
Resident and committee member Greg Kline expressed some concern regarding the language in the document, he said, that ideas “could” be done and no firm commitments or purposes were described. Petros noted that it would be reflected in the document going forward.
The plan will move on to the city council “with an acknowledgement to the council to commit to the actions within the document and provide greater commitment language to acknowledge the behavioral issues that are inherit within this,” Petros said.
Public speakers also had a few comments and suggestions for the committee, including lowering the speed limit in some areas, eliminating free right turns, traffic congestion on the peninsula, unreported bicycle accidents, extending the boardwalk to the wedge and more.
A peninsula resident commented about bicyclists on the sidewalk and suggested diverting the two-wheeled traffic.
“We on the peninsula need relief,” he said, “and we need it desperately.”
It’s even worse during times that attract a lot of visitors, like the big waves last week, commented another peninsula local.
“Everything on wheels rolled down Balboa Boulevard and went down the boardwalk,” he said.