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CA Walks - Pedestrian Safety Workshop

Posted by Wes on Monday, June 29, 2015

On Saturday, May 9th, PasCSC co-hosted a California Walks-facilitated pedestrian safety workshop with the Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association, Stop 4 Aidan, and Day One. The workshop had 3 objectives:

Many attended the event out of a shared love of walking and a desire to make walking in Pasadena more joyful. However, several attendees had also lost loved ones in car-pedestrian collisions, and the determination to have the workshop came out of a recent loss: a preventable crash that killed an elementary school student on Colorado Blvd.

When cars and pedestrians meet in a crash, the pedestrians invariably lose. Over 30,000 people are killed by motorists while walking in the United States every year. Each one of these lost lives underline why improving pedestrian safety is so vitally important, here in Pasadena and across the country.

The workshop was broken into several parts. The morning began with a presentation and overview by CA Walks staff. This was followed by a “Community Walking Audit”, which had the approximately 50 attendees break into walking groups, traverse a 0.5-1.5 mile pre-determined route, evaluate existing walking conditions along it, and then share their findings with the larger group following a healthy lunch. The findings were incorporated into a list of recommendations, to be used to guide future infrastructure improvements and organizing.

PasCSC would like to thank California Walks for all their help  and providing the group with a final report and recommendations. We would also like to thank the Pasadena Presbyterian Church, for providing a wonderful space for the workshop, as well as Whole Foods Pasadena (Hastings Ranch and Arroyo Parkway) for providing lunch. Finally, a huge thank you to city staff and officials for taking the time to attend the event, including Pasadena’s new Mayor Terry Tornek, Council Member Margaret McAustin, Rich and Joaquin from the Department of Transportation, Mary from the Pasadena Public Health Department, and Vannia from Victor Gordo’s office.

OMG! Pasadena to LOS: CYA!

Posted by Wes on Thursday, November 6, 2014

On Monday, November 3rd at about 10pm, the Pasadena City Council bid farewell to auto Level of Service (LOS), a transportation metric that is a driving force behind auto-centric street design.  In doing so, Pasadena became the first city in Southern California (to our knowledge) to retire LOS as a transportation measure.

With the City in the midst of updating its General Plan for the first time in 10 years, this reform simply makes sense. Auto LOS is not compatible with the City of Pasadena’s Guiding Principles or the Goals and Policies of both the previously ratified, and proposed updated General Plan.

Even the State of California has recognized that LOS is at odds with “…modern state goals such as emission reductions, development of multi-modal transportation network for motor vehicles, infill development, and even optimization of the roadway network for motor vehicles,” and has mandated that cities institute reform by passing SB 743 in September 2013.

LOS prioritizes the speed at which cars move through intersections, and completely ignores multi-modal alternatives. Pasadena’s Guiding Principle #5 (“Pasadena will be a city where people can circulate without cars”), and the entirety of the Mobility Element, require a metric that makes room for additional modes (such as walking, biking, and transit).

What’s more, LOS actively impedes those additional modes, because the mitigation measures that result from an LOS analysis typically increase road speeds and widths, making it easier for people to drive at high speeds, and less convenient and more dangerous for people walking, driving, and riding transit. Staff therefore worked for several years to research and develop a set of new metrics that would better accommodate the diversity of road users in Pasadena - holistic metrics that have now been vetted by an exhaustive review process in a year-long series of community, committee, and commission meetings.

In place of Level of Service, the City has adopted a collection of 5 new transportation metrics that should together make it easier for people to get around using any mode of transportation. 3 metrics look at the ease and safety of walking, biking, and riding transit. 1 metrics look at the ease of driving - not in terms of speed, but in terms of encouraging shorter, more direct routes. And finally, 1 metric incentivizes changes that make it actually easy to walk, bike, or take transit as an alternative to getting in the car.

Pasadena CSC applauds the alignment (finally!) of these proposed Transportation Metrics with Pasadena’s General Plan and Green City Action Plan. Phasing out LOS will help tip the scale towards a healthier, safer and more vibrant Pasadena. Many thanks to all those stakeholders and local residents who as a whole devoted countless hours of their free time to supporting positive change in the City!

Pasadena Releases New Bicycle Master Plan Recommendations

Posted by Wes on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It’s been a long road since PasCSC founders attended the Municipal Services Committee in July 2013 to respectfully ask City leaders and staff to strengthen the City’s draft Bicycle Master Plan by including a network of protected and buffered bicycle lanes.  Over that period of time, City staff convened a Bicycle Advisory Committee, commissioned a Protected Bikeway Feasibility Study by KOA Corporation, convened a series of public meetings, and even had a consultant develop a “Level of Traffic Stress Map on Existing and Proposed On-Street Bike Routes.”

The result: the below mapped and listed “priority recommendations” to add to the existing draft bicycle master plan.  In red are Class I on-street protected bikeways, purple Class II on-street buffered bikeways, and gold Class III low-traffic “greenways.” Highlights include:

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Staff’s recommendations were made public and presented to the City’s Transportation Advisory Commission on October 23rd.  In general, the Transportation Commissioners were very supportive of ongoing efforts to improve bicycle access and safety in the City, including staff’s proposed priority strategies.  The Commissioners did, however, have 3 specific asks of staff:

Staff plans to solicit further public input on the updated recommendations, and then return with a fully updated Bicycle Master Plan for formal consideration by the Committee and City Council in Spring 2015.

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