Ventura Bicycle Union Support of the Ventura Bike Plan & Why: Tonight Show YOURS!

After countless hours of discussion, review, letters and more, the Ventura Bicycle Union has determined the new Ventura Bicycle Master Plan is excellent. In fact, it’s a document that could help turn this city around and have a huge impact on the numbers of people that actually use a bicycle for transportation. Prioritization criteria was included, VBU key projects are on the list, and excellent sections about traffic lights, bike boxes, a bicycle coordinator, and more are included.

To help ensure the passage of the Bicycle Master Plan and funding of various projects to increase safety for cyclists in Ventura, we need to show very strong support at tonight’s Ventura City Council meeting!

You don’t have to speak – you just need to be there to stand up in support of safe streets for cyclists when VBU calls for your show of support. Please be there!

Read the letter of support from VCCool (www.vccool.org) and the VBU below:

March 21, 2011
Mayor Bill Fulton and Members of the Ventura City Council
The City of Ventura
501 Poli St., Ventura,  CA   93002

Re:  VCCool & Ventura Bicycle Union’s comments on Ventura’s Bikeway Master Plan and
Addendums  (3 updated maps, point improvement changes, segment improvement changes).

Dear Ventura City Council,

VCCool and the Ventura Bicycle Union (VBU) are extremely pleased to support the 2011
Ventura Bicycle Master Plan and important new addendums. This plan is a collaborative and
widely supported effort taking into account literally hundreds of testimonies from every area of
the City, and involving hundreds of citizen hours over three years of work.

This effort utilized in-depth dialog, city-wide field trips, Spanish/English outreach, and
collaborative events. Citizens  brought day-to-day street experience and bicycling needs to the
table. Staff provided a wealth of technical expertise informed by  national and international
research, and sometimes clever work-arounds to difficult problems.  In the end, we feel, this
document is fiscally responsible, socially responsive, and aligned with cutting edge transit
trends across the country. It is head-and-shoulders above Ventura’s previous bicycle plans, and
we feel its adoption will help make Ventura stand out as a destination as well as an attractive
place to live. We urge its complete adoption.

VBU would like to underscore the importance of this work as related to the well-being of
Ventura residents. Gas prices are quickly surging over $4 per gallon, while many citizens
plummet from middle-class to unemployment. Public transit continues to be sparsely funded.
As a community, we must respond to citizen transit needs.  Fortunately, a large portion of all
trips made are 4 miles or less.  On foot, a 4 mile trek across town with kids and groceries is
daunting and exhausting. By bicycle, with an inexpensive light-weight trailer, that same trip is a
15 minute jaunt! Around the world, bicycles are replacing some or all of peoples car transit
needs, and helping to pull people out of poverty and into the job market.

Ventura has the perfect weather for cycling year-round. What we need is a combination of
education, and a network of bicycle access that allows bicycle drivers to conveniently and safely
go everywhere they would if the were driving a car. This concept has aptly been named
“Complete Streets.” VBU feels that this Bicycle Master Plan goes a great way toward making
this a reality in Ventura, and providing a viable, economic mode of transportation for hard-
pressed Ventura citizens.

A core criteria for the League of American Bicyclists’  “Bicycle Friendly Community” rating is the
presence of a dedicated city bicycle coordinator.  We believe even in this economy, this
position could creatively be filled by employing a part-time contractor. We agree with the
League that this position is key, and we applaud and support its inclusion in this plan. We urge
you to support this as well.

For our part, we do not come to the table empty handed. We are committed to helping support
this effort in every way possible. We are taking Mayor Fulton’s call for citizen’s support and
collaboration to heart. To date, we have helped the city secure a $400,000 Safe Routes to
School grant, and will continue to be involved in supporting grant opportunities that fund
Complete Streets and local green-collar jobs, while reducing traffic congestion and childhood
obesity. We are close to securing funding for our two-year school-district-wide bicycle
education program. We are also putting together an adult education program reaching out to
both cyclists and motorists in an effort to get them on the same page when it comes to
California traffic laws as related to bicyclists. Finally, we are starting a tool-share bicycle coop to
help low-income families repair their own bicycles. We just want you to be aware that in
additional to being a great plan, this effort has the support of local grass-roots horse-power.
The VBU fully supports this plan. We approve of the features and projects listed in Chapter 7, as
well as the practical and equitable prioritization provided both in “Implementation Priorities”
section 13.5, and in the Recommended High Priority map of 3/20/2011. We would still like the
Council to consider additions of lights on Ventura Avenue at Leighton (E.P. Foster School) and
Warner (The Red Barn Grocery), but we enthusiastically endorse this Bicycle Master Plan. We
look forward to supporting its implementation and safe use over the coming years.

A heart-felt thank you to Ventura Traffic Manager Tom Mericle and his staff for their dedication
and skill on the creation of this plan.

Sincerely,

Rachel Morris
VCCool Executive Director
Ventura Bicycle Union Spokesperson

Advertisements


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s