Residents give input on bike master plan

Members of the Malibu community shared their thoughts on a proposal for a bicycle master plan Thursday, Oct. 21, during a workshop at City Hall.

Attendees voiced their concerns, offered suggestions and stated their preferences regarding possible implementations such as specific bike routes, types of bike lanes, signage and others.

Catherine Ferguson, who recently moved to Malibu from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, bikes regularly and feels that safety along Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most important reasons to implement a bike plan.

“The number of bike accidents and car accidents that happen along the PCH are really unacceptable,” Ferguson said. “I think that we have to invest enough money in the public safety to make biking safe, not only for the bikers, but for the people who drive.”

The plan, still in its early stages, would be implemented in five cities — Malibu, Westlake Village, Hidden Hills, Augora Hills and Calabasas — and is projected for completion in June 2015, said Terry Dipple, executive director of the Las Virgenes-Malibu Council of Governments (COG).

“We thought that pulling it all together for all five cities that we could have a more comprehensive plan that connected up as opposed to each city doing their own plan,” Dipple said.

The COG was awarded a grant of $170,000 from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to pursue a bike plan. Alta Planning, a firm specializing in bicycle and pedestrian planning, design and implementation, was then hired to develop the plan.

Ryan Johnson, an employee of Alta Planning, said Malibu could benefit from having a bike plan.

“I think a bike plan here will help the residents more [to] create safe routes to local destinations,” Johnson said.

After the final plan is drafted, it is sent to each of the five cities for approval, then back to the COG for finalization, Dipple said.

Audra Hotchkiss, who was writing several suggestions on a map of Malibu using sticky notes, said she is most interested in seeing improvements to the area around Malibu High School.

“I’m also interested, as a parent, [in] improving safety on Morning View Drive because that’s where the kids use it to get to school and back from this general area,” Hotchkiss said.

This is not the first time the COG has been awarded funding and implemented a plan in the five cities it represents. The Council received $150,000 several years ago from the California Office of Emergency Preparedness to develop an emergency management plan, Dipple said.

“It’s the good government kind of thing that we like to do where we’re able to get funding for something that the cities might want to do individually, but the COG could get grant funding for it,” Dipple said. “It just creates value for the cities that way.”