The city councils for Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach convened for a rare combined meeting Monday night to hear a presentation from Beach Cities Health District's board. The subject: making beach city streets multimodal, safer, more pleasant and effective.
But, when the presentation included specifics for Aviation Boulevard, it was met with mixed reviews. City officials and residents likened the ideas to the controversial 2017 Vista Del Mar road diet that cut car lanes from main boulevards to add protected bike lanes.
"Let's not do road diets on main boulevards or thoroughfares," one north Redondo Beach resident said during the public comments portion of the Monday meeting.
The tri-city study session focused on a living streets design manual created by BCHD and how its recommendations might apply to traffic-congested streets such as Aviation Boulevard.
The BCHD hired the consultants from Stantec and Leslie Scott firms to perform three community outreach engagements and create the localized version of the Los Angeles County Living Streets model, using a $277,000 transportation grant awarded to the beach cities by the Southern California Association of Governments.
None of the civic governments took any direct action at the meeting, but engaged in a discussion Manhattan Beach Mayor Steve Napolitano called "the beginning of an opportunity."
"I see possibility in all our streets using these guidelines," Napolitano said of the living streets design."We need more conversation."
The design manual included elements such as roundabouts, bike lanes, streetscapes and more that could be applied to any street, according to consultant Rock Miller.
"This is about taking a relatively simple, unexciting corridor…and integrating a holistic design process," Miller explained.
Some of the civic leaders echoed sentiments of "right book, wrong corridor," emphasizing the value of the living streets design but questioning whether the arterial Aviation Boulevard, which carries more than 30,000 cars per day, may simply be too large of a project to introduce the concept.
"Aviation may not be the first place to tackle…it's not an easy win," said Manhattan Beach Councilmember Amy Howorth, who cited the value of the manual's concepts as a whole. "Our own city councils can take at a look at this…there is good data and sound designs here."
All three city councils agreed the meeting was an important collaboration and the information could be used across all three jurisdictions, whether for individual or intercity projects.
Hermosa Beach Councilmember Hany Fangary noted the value of the opportunity to "work on projects that expand our collective community."
"This is the start of a conversation and I hope we get back together," said Christian Horvath, Redondo Beach Councilmember and elected chair of the meeting.
Each of the municipal governments thanked the BCHD for convening them and expressed the desire to continue exploring the living streets concept.