By Brenda Miller, founder of PEDal, San Clemente's Non-motorized Transportation Committee and a leading advocate for Complete Streets.
By unanimous vote, the San Clemente City Council voted Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, to support multimodal transportation in the updated General Plan. Introduced by Councilman Baker, the motion passed with consensus (5-0) vote and stated the following:
"San Clemente's Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan shall be fully integrated with the City's updated Circulation Element so as to comply with the letter and spirit of California's Complete Streets Law, thereby creating a balanced multimodal transportation system for all."
The importance of the above motion cannot be overstated. It sets the tone for new goals, objectives, and policies in the updated San Clemente General Plan and will ensure that all roadway users, as named in California's Complete Streets Code (Section 65302(b)(2)(A,B)), will be included in the planning process.
Complete Streets Law specifically requires that "bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, motorists, movers of commercial goods, pedestrians, users of public transportation, and seniors" be accommodated in all new Circulation Elements substantively revised beginning Jan. 1, 2011.
By balancing the circulation system at the planning level, compliance with Complete Streets will ultimately improve transportation efficiency. A multimodal system considers all modes of transportation, motorized and non-motorized, private and public transit, rather than emphasizing the less effective movement of individual cars carrying one person at a time. Developing safe routes to school for young folks depends upon safely and efficiently balanced mobility.
In the 2009 Official City Visioning Survey, San Clemente residents overwhelmingly indicated their support for improvements to our local transportation network. Indeed, 90 percent of our residents were most supportive of the City creating a pedestrian friendly town that encourages walking and biking; 80 percent want traffic flow to improve; 82 percent want City policies that protect the local environment; 85 percent of us want to preserve Village Character; and 78 percent declared their desire for improved access to alternative transportation.
It all fits together.
"I really view this as San Clemente's Complete Streets Initiative. We have a tool before us to ensure we'll take the Complete Streets legislation seriously and that, ultimately, we'll end up with a superior Circulation Element," said Councilwoman Lori Donchak at Tuesday's meeting. "It would be a true salute to the fact that we want multimodal experiences in San Clemente."
I'd like to thank all members of San Clemente's City Council for their support for Complete Streets.
Principal Planner Jeff Hook did a thorough job presenting the issue to decision makers and answering many questions. Also deserving recognition are the residents who spoke in support at Tuesday's meeting, in addition to the many letters written by those who could not attend.
In the spirit of collaboration, Mayor Jim Evert acknowledged PEDal's contributions, saying, "Thank you for all your work on this subject."
Upcoming months will present opportunities for community input on the General Plan and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. Stay tuned. This is truly an exciting time to be a San Clemente resident!
Working together with San Clemente City leaders, we may well be establishing a legacy here in the Spanish Village by the Sea.
More information can be found at www.myfeetfirst.org