Aviation Boulevard, a street that program manager Lauren Nakano calls "the spine that runs through the Beach Cities," was the center of concern in at the on Wednesday night.
As the Vitality City team plans to design and implement bike lanes on Aviation Boulevard, nearly 60 residents shared their thoughts concerning the plan.
"I think this is a huge opportunity for our three communities to make an improvement that crosses all three cities," Nakano said. "We’ve had so much support for the South Bay Master Bike Plan and I think there is a real momentum in our community to support something like this."
Vitality City, along with Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates, showed those in attendance a PowerPoint presentation focused on the benefits of implementing the bike lanes.
"Part of the Vitality City initiative is that it’s about engaging the community and trying to engage at least 25 percent of the community, which is 30,000 people, to embrace something and move it forward," Nakano said. "With any project like this, we need to be as transparent as possible and make sure we have an opportunity to hear what people’s concerns are and what their enthusiasm is."
Michael Moule of Nelson/Nygaard conducted the presentation. He said benefits of adding the bike lanes include cyclists being able to operate at their own pace and an increased sense of awareness from drivers. However, no project of this magnitude lacks challenges, Moule said.
"This one I wouldn’t say is easy, but for the most part, it can be accomplished by restriping the existing roadways," Moule said. "We’re not talking about huge amounts of widening. What makes this one more challenging are the issues of parking and turn lanes."
Parking and increased traffic took the cake for the most worrisome aspect of the project, according to residents in attendance, and Moule said each concern will be taken into account.
"There’s a challenge with any project," Moule said. "It’s the old adage, you can’t please everyone all the time. I think we’re going to address many of the concerns and I think we can recommend a project that balances the concerns."
Moule also outlined the benefits of the bike lanes for those not on two wheels. Bike lanes work as a buffer for parked cars, extra room for emergency vehicles to operate and a greater separation between moving cars and bikers.
Redondo Beach resident Richard White, an avid bike rider, said after Wednesday's meeting that his biggest concern is safe travels for those that bike to work and for exercise.
"Aviation [Boulevard] is a nightmare road," White said. "A lot of people just turn when they want to turn. As a bike rider, you have to be careful with that stuff.
"It’s a great idea. I just want to know how they can ensure my safety."
Redondo Beach resident Bob Boardman, who serves as an associate transportation engineer in the city, said he is a proponent of the bike lanes but his main concern is the opinion of Beach Cities residents.
"I would definitely like to see bike lanes on Aviation Boulevard, however, it is a collaborative process," Boardman said. "So honestly, if the public speaks out that we like the idea and concept, but aren’t going to use it because of concerns, there is not much motivation to move forward … It’s a vital street, but it’s not just a vital street for vehicles."