The Newport Beach City Council could vote tonight on whether to add sharrow markings for cyclists along East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar — but the Corona del Mar Residents Association has sent an email to the mayor and city manager saying the group’s support of sharrows has been overstated.
The email also says that the general safety of streets throughout Corona del Mar should be improved before sharrows are added.
The Council could vote tonight to direct staff to implement sharrow markings on both directions of East Coast Highway. The markings are used to remind motorists that bicyclists may share the lane.
According to a staff report included with tonight’s meeting agenda, the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District and Corona del Mar Residents Association both heard presentations and supported the sharrows plans.
But, according to the email, the staff report is misleading and more community outreach is needed before — not after — a Council decision.
“We certainly agree with Staff’s position on public outreach, though we would have preferred to do it in advance of Council’s ruling on this matter,” states the email, written by CdMRA President Karen Tringali. “We are willing and able to conduct an email poll of our 800 members if you think that insight would be helpful to you.”
The staff report apparently refers to a CdMRA vote in February 2011. Members of the city’s Bicycle Safety Committee made a presentation to the CdMRA board, and a board member who wanted to try to slow traffic through town made a motion to support sharrows; read our story here. At that meeting, board members were split about whether sharrows were desirable but did vote to support them.
After that, the group sent a newsletter with a sharrows article to 6,300 households in April 2011, and members of the Bicycle Safety Committee spoke at that year’s Annual Town meeting. Reaction to sharrows was mixed, Tringali said.
When the bicycle committee failed to approve sharrows with a split 2-2 vote in June 2011, the CdMRA discontinued their public outreach on the issue, Tringali wrote.
In May this year, however, the Bicycle Safety Committee took another vote on sharrows and supported them 6-1; read our story here.
The CdMRA group has not had time since then to reach out to members. But many members have emailed concerns about “flagrant violations of the rules of the road along Coast Highway, whether motorists, cyclists and pedestrians,” the email said.
Motorists roll through stop signs on the Flower Streets, speed and fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, the email states. Cyclists run red lights and stop signs, ride bikes in crosswalks and on sidewalks, and pedestrians jaywalk despite posted “No Ped X-ing Here…Proceed to Crosswalk” signs, the email continues.
“We’ve met with the representatives of the Police Department at various Board meetings and at our Town Meetings and discussed these concerns,” the email states. “But at the end of the day, we see little progress toward safer streets through Corona del Mar, and have concerns about the implementation of sharrows with so many outstanding safety issues unresolved.”
The City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall at 3300 Newport Blvd. The public may attend and make comments.
Many bicycle safety advocates have been spreading the word via social media to attend the meeting and show support of sharrows, although Mayor Nancy Gardner, who is chairman of the Bicycle Safety Committee, said she was not sure if she supported the markings.