Commissioner Comments after Public Testimony 1-14-2011

California Coastal Commission, January 14, 2011, 9:25 am – 9:35 am, Long Beach, CA; Excerpts from Commissioner responses to public comment:

“In response to the substantial public comment regarding bicycle and pedestrian access, I think they are absolutely spot-on. In tagging along with the comments from Director Peter Douglas… in signaling to Long Beach and the Port about the Desmond Bridge, that even though that [Bridge] project is not yet before us, I think it is a healthy reminder that this is a standard that I think this body [Coastal Commission] looks forward to seeing that the City lives up to. And I think the that the trend across California, and as rightly pointed out, in the Northwest of the United States, we are becoming, in this nation, finally, very focused in looking at a Complete Streets model. And the Complete Streets model is delineated by the idea that when there is any substantial restoration of our streets, that part of that restoration include, not as an afterthought, but as a primary vision, that those streets are not necessarily restored, rehabbed or rebuilt simply just for the private automobile… or even just for transit itself, but for bicyclists and pedestrians. I think that the testimony today is consistent with my observations of my last few days of being here in Long Beach… So I hope that the comments here today are well heard by the Port, by the City of Long Beach so that when it [bridge permit] comes before us, it is not just considered a footnote of how important the installation of bike and pedestrian access is into the larger schematic that will come soon.”   – Commissioner Ross Mirkarimi

“I congratulate the residents of Long Beach for having the goal of making Long Beach the most bicycle friendly city in the United States… our own City of Oceanside is also striving for that goal, so we’ll see who gets there first. I have had the opportunity to attend the International National Livable Cities Conference in Portland, who also claims to be the most bicycle friendly city, and bicycle friendly cities – including separated bike paths – is one of the goals of the organization. Certainly public access and views are important issues for the Coastal Act. As Commissioner Mirkarimi pointed out, our Executive Director did address the need for pedestrian and bicycle elements for the Gerald Desmond Bridge and I thank you for your comments.”  – Commissioner Esther Sanchez

“I’d like to join my colleagues in underscoring the importance of this issue, and as the mayor of another city contending for the most bicycle-friendly city, I’d just like to say I really appreciate that our neighbors down the coast are enthusiastically approaching this issue. And I certainly agree, the issue of connectivity and access is critical to successive bike and pedestrian programs and I look forward to seeing this issue come back with the goal of enhancing both of those.” – Commissioner Richard Bloom

“I think you might be getting a sense from the commissioners here that this is an issue that when we do see [it], it might have been a bit easier if staff had taken a position to the responsible authority… the Port, that this is not an option. Can you inform us of the position of the Port;… it is certainly within the staff’s authority to propose to the commissioners, when we see it in the staff report, to make it a condition, correct?  – Commissioner Steve Blank

“Yes, I would imagine that that is going to be on the table.”  – Charles Lester, Deputy Director, CA Coastal Commission

“I just want to make sure; I think you have a sense of the commission? Is that correct?”  – Commissioner Steve Blank

“I do, yes.”  – Charles Lester, Deputy Director, CA Coastal Commission

“It is certainly appropriate for commissioners to express their support for the concept of bicycle friendly and pedestrian friendly means of travel and the importance of that for public access… but clearly, we are here to support and uphold the Coastal Act, which does require public access.”  – Commission Chair Sara J. Wan

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