Coastal Commission 1-14-2011, Public Comment on GD Bridge Replacement Project

California Coastal Commission, January 14, 2011, 9:00 am – 9:35 am, Long Beach, CA, Excerpted from remarks made during public comment period:

“As a small business representative in Long Beach, we support equal access to transportation facilities for pedestrians and cyclists on the Gerald Desmond Bridge. As an individual state and federal tax payer , I respectfully expect equal access to transportation facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. Please do not treat us as second citizens by denying us access to facilities we pay for.  I respectfully request that the Board require the Gerald Desmond Bridge to be built with cycling and pedestrian facilities.”   – Brian Cox, Jax Bicycle Center

“We are a leaseholder on Terminal Island, we have a new 15 year lease. We are building a multimillion dollar facility as we speak. Part of that facility we’re building includes showers, [and] lockers for our employees so they can use alternative means of transportation. All of that will kind of be for naught if we don’t have a bridge to give these employees the ability to walk, cycle or use some other means of transportation to get to work. Our company is an ISO 14001 [compliant]. Our owner, the President of our company, the health and wellness of our employees; it is very important. He is doing everything possible to reduce our carbon footprint. We have repowered all our tugboats beyond AQMD standards; we’re purchasing a fleet of hybrid cars for LA at this time… We have facilities up and down the west coast. Our headquarters is in Seattle; they’ve done a great job there of incorporating cycling and pedestrian access throughout the Port… it’s a lot colder, a lot darker up there, but they are using it [cycling] up there, it is a part of the culture. Same thing with Portland. We don’t have the bike access, the pedestrian access in the Port of LA [LB] at this time.”  – Doug Houghton, General Manager, Southern California, Harley Marine Services [100 terminal island employees]

“…There are 16,000 employees in the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles combined; there are 6,000 on terminal island alone. There are 1,200 boat slips on [near] Terminal Island in the City of Wilmington. Without access across this bridge, there will not be bike and pedestrian access for these people… If you turn to page 10 of this document [executive summary of the case for bike/ped access], you’ll see that we’ve cited a number of authorities associated with the legal rationale behind putting in a bike and ped facility. There is DOT, there is California State, there is Federal Highway authority, and of course, there is the Coastal Commission Act, all of which specify in some cases be considered, and in other cases be mandated… If you look at page 11… I think this is the most salient of all the slide in this section. It is the California State [Highway] Code 888, and in this Code it says “The department shall not construct a state highway as a highway that will result in the severance or destruction of existing major routes for non-motorized transportation.” The key here is we’ve got a route here on the Gerald Desmond today. This law says, you’ve got one, you’ve got to maintain it.”  – Alan Crawford, Ph.D., Professor CSUN, Long Beach Cycling Advocate

“I have a letter of support here in favor of keeping the bike and pedestrian access… for the Sierra Club, from the Senior Director of the Sierra Club of the entire Nation… I just ask that you please mandate that our Port do this [include bike & ped] as they rebuild; they’re sending it out for bids right now, and if afterwards they sort of interject haphazardly some bike and pedestrian access, it is not going to be as good as if it really from the beginning of the design was there. And so far the Port has said they’ll really sincerely look into doing it and hope they might be able to… but that is no requirement… it is like me saying I think I might be able to make my mortgage payment on time, hopefully, maybe, I’ll see what I can do… we need this thing [bike/ped] to be really required, to be mandated, or, it may not happen… I need somebody to please be the authority to step in and mandate that we keep the pedestrian and bike access that is there now.”  – Gabrielle Weeks, Sierra Club

“I would like to comment on the need for a separated bike lane on the Gerald Desmond Bridge. LB Cyclists is a local bicycling advocacy, education and community organization with a 16-year history in this area. Many of our members are recreational cyclists like myself, but a significant number use cycling as their primary source of transportation, often by choice. We are disappointed that cyclist’s rights have been ignored, by not including a Class 1 separated bike lane in the plans for the Gerald Desmond Bridge. We firmly believe that this improvement, which is supported by law, should be part of the initial bridge plan and not be deferred for later consideration, which may never occur, and which would certainly be more costly. Cyclists in our community have the right to commute and recreate safely. Recent surveys show that many adults don’t ride a bike because of fear of motorists. A separated bike lane on this bridge would help allay these fears and encourage people to give cycling a chance and to live a more healthful lifestyle. Every time I drive over the bridge, I’m struck by the beauty of our coastline and the dynamic complexity of our Port. I believe that a separated bike lane will showcase these assets and provide safe passage for those who wish to pedal rather than pollute.”  – Tom Duvalle, Long Beach Cyclists

“I too bought a bicycle from JAX bicycles many years ago. I rode it here to this meeting.  When I was working, before I retired, I rode it almost every day to and from work. I am very much in favor of a class I separated bike lane on this bridge. I’ve ridden in this city for many years, and I don’t know if it is America’s most bicycle friendly city, but it is getting better. There are a great many health benefits of riding a bicycle. Bicycles also cut down on wear and tear on the infrastructure, they leave a lot more room on the highways for other vehicles, there’s less parking space needed, they cut down on the need for imported oil, they help clean up the atmosphere…”  – Donald Moore, Long Beach Cyclists


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