Update on Newport Beach Bicycle Safety Improvement Funds

NewportBeachMemRideLast year’s Newport Beach Memorial Ride showed how the Orange County cycling community came together following a spate of accidents on area roadways.  April Morris spearheaded the effort to make sure something positive came out of these tragic events. With the help of matching funds by the City of Newport Beach, over $300,000 was raised to enhance bicycling safety on the City’s roads, which are very popular with area cyclists.  Here is an update from April:

It’s been several months since I’ve posted an update on what’s happening with the funds raised from the Newport Beach Memorial Ride last year.  Coming up quickly on the one year anniversary, it’s time for an update.

I asked Brad Sommers, the Senior Civil Engineer from the NB Public Works Department to provide me with comments on the list of concerns that were given to me over the last 6 months by you.  Here they are:

First, remember that as a result of everyone’s combined efforts and the incredible attendance at the Memorial Ride, the City of NB agreed to develop a comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan.  That plan is in development now and will provide the guidance for improvements to create a citywide and comprehensive plan for cycling and related improvements and facilities in Newport Beach.  Many of the items on the list below will be covered in the plan.  The Master Plan requires a substantial amount of work and is expected to take about 16 months to complete.  

The list we accumulated is below.  Updates are in italics:

1.     The Pinch Point, westbound Coast Hwy at Dover.  This area is under CalTrans purview.  The city is working with CalTrans to effect widening, bike lane striping and signs. 

2.     The right turn lane on eastbound Coast Hwy at Bayside Drive.  City of Newport Beach has approached Cal Trans for a dedicated right turn lane with bike lane.

3.     The inland side of Newport Coast Drive, specifically at the entrance/exit of the 73 to Newport Coast.  Suggestion is for a stop sign on the exit and a biker activated light on the entrance.  Everything south of the center line is Newport Beach ‘s responsibility.  The other side is the City of Irvine’s responsibility.  The City of Newport Beach is working on adding more signage and creating a crossing area.

4.     The intersection of the 55 at Coast Hwy. Going east on Coast Hwy as cars exit the 55 is very dangerous.  Westbound doesn’t seem to be that bad.  Suggestion of signage (maybe with blinking lights) for drivers entering and exiting the 55 to watch for cyclists.  Full on widening funded by a grant is currently underway.

5.     “Safe Routes to the Beach” from NHHS to the peninsula.  This is on the project list for a Task Force review.

6.     More Sharrows – larger, with a paint that will not fade.  The City is looking into this issue.

7.     Sharrows along Mariner’s Mile (Dover Arches/Newport Bvd. Bridge) with Bikes May Use Full Lanes signs in the highly visible yellow signs.  The OCTA is working on coastal it is around Newport and redoing the traffic plan.  The City will be pushing with others to get changes made.

8.     Sharrows on Newport Bvd. To Balboa Blvd. ) with Bikes May Use Full Lanes signs in the highly visible yellow signs.  No update on this item yet.

9.     Identify someone to coordinate efforts between the cities, MADD and legislators to help review and make improvements to existing laws/penalties for injuring or killing a cyclist while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. No update on this item yet

10.  Education for cyclists and motorists including how to cycle safely on the road and for motorists how to operate safely around cyclists. The city could provide these courses free of charge, or at a very low cost to citizens.  No update on this item yet, however ideas regarding cycling education and encouragement are in process.

Please let me know if you have found additional concerns or have any questions.  

Thank you all for your support.  Safe riding.

April Morris


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