Bicycle safety team already at work in T.O.

Source of this article – Thousand Oaks Acorn, November 2, 2006

A near-secret bicycle trail in Thousand Oaks and other bicycle issues were discussed during the first meeting of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Team.

Under the direction of the City Council, the BAT was formed to address bicycle safety issues after Traffic Commissioner Dr. Glenn Garvin, 49, was struck by a car and killed while riding his bicycle on Westlake Boulevard on Sept.16.

Garvin was an endodontist in Westlake Village and a North Ranch resident who was active in the community.

The group has about nine months to come up with ways to improve bicycle safety in the city and to consider what other cities are doing, Traffic Commission Chairperson Sharon McMahon said at the meeting.

Also attending the meeting were members of local bicycle clubs, Planning Commissioner Daryl Reynolds, city staff and invited members of the public.

City engineer associate Kathy Lowry made a presentation that included information about a $320,000 bicycle and equestrian trail completed in 2001 that connects Newbury Park with Thousand Oaks. That trail is not well known among the bicycling community, Lowry said.

The trail, 88 percent paid by federal grants, is noted on city maps, but there are no signs marking the trail off Lynn Road in Newbury Park or at the end of Moorpark Road in Thousand Oaks. The trail connects the two areas for bicyclists who don’t want to risk crossing the 101 Freeway, Lowry said.

Another such trail from Simi Valley’s Wood Ranch to Thousand Oaks’ Sunset Hills has also been considered, with Simi Valley taking the lead, Lowry said. Obstacles for that trail include a steep hill and gated communities in Thousand Oaks, she said.

Lowry also brought copies of the city of Thousand Oaks Bicycle Facilities Master Plan. Inside that report are some recommendations made to the city that will be considered by the team, according to McMahon.

The master plan was adopted by the City Council in May 2005 and has been approved by the state, McMahon said.

A foldout map in the report marks the locations of bicycle accidents from 1994 to 2004.

“By the map you can see many of the accidents happened on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, where there is a lot of traffic and there are cars parked on the sides of the road,” Lowry said.

Hillcrest Drive is considered the preferred alternative to Thousand Oaks Boulevard, and the team will look into ways to improve bicycle safety on that road, McMahon said. New condominiums that have replaced single-family homes on Hillcrest Drive have already fixed some of the problems with street parking, she said.

“Thousand Oaks Boulevard is too dangerous for bicyclists,” McMahon said.

“Education is very important. We want cars driving more safely around bicycles and bicyclists riding more safely around cars,” Lowry said.

“Bicyclists should never go against traffic,” McMahon said.

During the team meeting, some of the bicyclists shared practices that make their twowheeled transportation safer. The way to get traffic lights to change for bicyclists was explained.

Sensors on the lights are visual and require bicyclists to be in the center of the lane, Lowry said. One bicyclist said he also puts his hands on his hips to make himself look bigger.

The group is hoping to have a public meeting early next year to gather more ideas from residents interested in making it safer to ride a bike, McMahon said.


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