By Tammye McDuff
The City of Downey will be promoting bicycling as a viable future mode of transportation and in order to lay the groundwork for the initiative a new proposed “Master Bicycle” Plan is being pieced together.
The proposed plan is a blueprint for the development and implementation of the city’s bicycle system; establishing a policy framework that will enhance the mobility and safety compiling with the General Plan and a travel alternative for residents, workers and visitors.
“The Downey Gateway has no bike racks,” said Councilman Mario Guerra.
“There are a lot of places in our city that you can’t ride to. Downey needs to be a bike-friendly community. I think we need tons of bike racks now. We can incorporate some great ideas from cities like Long Beach,” Guerra said.
Through the creation of a Bicycle Master Plan, Downey hopes to achieve an ever-increasing number of non-motorized alternatives; decreasing vehicle trips and gas emissions.
The City will evaluate various means to encourage cycling and will review destination points throughout the city for bicycle travel.
The placement of bike racks and bicycle way finding signage along bike routes are among some ideas in the Master Bicycle Plan.
Additionally the plan includes a public survey to assess the needs of bicycling age groups.
The Bicycle Master Plan will identify various bicycle projects and provide cost estimates for their implementation.
The city of Downey began developing a bicycle master plan after receiving a $225k Caltrans grant in April 2013.
The plan would include bicycles lanes and infrastructure improvements.
In February 2014 the City released a Request for Proposal to seven consulting firms.
Based on a review of the proposals submitted, Fehr & Peers meet the qualifications along with the relevant experience and demonstrated knowledge of the objectives and were familiar with the City of Downey.
Fehr & Peers has prepared bicycle plans for West Hollywood, Calabasas, Burbank, Huntington Beach, Sand Diego and Irvine.
In March 2014 the city received authorization to proceed from Caltrans to begin expending the grant funds and prepare the Bicycle Master Plan.
The cost and preparation of the Bicycle Master Plan, including contracts, is an estimated $250k, paid from the State Community Based Transportation Planning grant for $225k with a match from the Transportation Development Act of the required $25k.
Downey currently has bike access to the Los Angeles River; Rio Hondo Channel and San Gabriel River bike paths.
The Bicycle Master Plan will review existing and potential bicycle routes to connect within and between the local cities.
Before the Bicycle Master Plan begins, certain areas of infrastructure will be addressed for road safety.
Jennifer Angulo is a teacher at Sussman Middle School, and a member of the Downey Bike Coalition. Angulo rides three miles from her home in north Downey to her school in south Downey every day. The commute along Brookshire Avenue is filled with hazards such as speeding cars and dangerous intersections, she said. “If I as an adult am not able to ride safely to school, how can students?”
Based on the project schedule, the Bicycle Master Plan ishould be adopted in October 2014.