Location: City Hall Basement Lounge
Procedural Business 20 min
Acting secretary: Ken Carlson
Guest introductions- Alex Anderson, Tom Bertulis, Lauren Clayton, Alex Goldman, Eric Liao, Michele Moon, Ashley Parker, Crystal Rosa, Ian Woloshin, Tom Lamar
VOTE: Approve Minutes: December and January 2014-both approved
New member applicant statement of interest: Ian Woloschin expressed his interested in becoming a member and will submit a letter and resume to the Mayor
Announcement: Sarah Spicer informed us that she is resigning from her position with the City to take a job in the private sector. [We learned after the meeting that Hayes Morrison is also resigning from her position]. Jennifer Molina is rapidly coming up to speed as the City’s liaison to the SBAC.
Old Business15 min
Update on first quarterly SCATV show appearance (Alex): Alex will do a 15 minute segment with Vaughn Simkins in the near future.
Status of revised Blessing of the Bay Boathouse bike parking request letter to DCR (Alex): Sarah reviewed the letter and has given us the go ahead to send the letter to the DCR. The DCR may respond with procedural questions.
High school representative-goals for 2015 (Andrew/Ariel): Ariel discussed some of the goals/activities that she thinks Andrew should consider: helping to coordinate a bike repair class, helping to organize bicycle convoys. Some of these might be great activities for Bay State Bike Week. Another idea is consider a bicycle repair station at the high school. There is a broken bicycle tire pump at the Library. Perhaps contact Whole Foods about donating a bike repair station. Action: Andrew to talk to his principal and gym teachers and/or shop teachers about possible activities. Action: Ken and Ariel to coordinate with Andrew about possible Bay State Bike Week activities.
New Business 30 min
Annual report planning progress and gaps review (Ken): The Annual Report is in fairly good shape. There are a few sections that Alan needs to follow up on and Ariel is going to add a graph of the goals. Essentially the report is ready for the City to take over and to fill in the denoted sections such as Bicycle Counts, Bicycle Safety Campaign, and…. The Committee would like to target the end of March to have the report finalized for the busy Spring season. Action: Alan and Ariel to finalize their sections of the report. Action: Sarah/Jennifer to take ownership of finishing up the report
SBC activity review of 5 E’s and Plans for SBC visioning meeting (Tegin/Alex/Jennifer): At January’s meeting plans were introduced for a visioning process for the SBC. A subcommittee was formed and is being led by Tegin- the sub-committee has not yet had a chance to meet. Jennifer, Alex and Tegin led a discussion about the scope of the visioning process. With Sarah (and Hayes) stepping down, and Jennifer transitioning, this is a natural time to re-think how the committee is functioning. What is needed from this discussion is for the larger committee to give the visioning sub-committee some clear guidance as to the scope of its assignment on this topic.
One key question is whether to re-think the original ordinance that established the bike committee. We briefly reviewed the original ordinance by the Board of Alderman in 2001 that established the SBC. In the original ordinance, membership and officers of the committee are specified, as are the duties of the committee:
Seek to include accommodations for bicycling in road resurfacing and other construction projects
Seek to increase the availability and safety of recreational bikeways in the city
Evaluate and seek to improve existing bicycle parking and create new facilities where appropriate
Provide education to both bicyclists and motorists to promote safety
Develop a long range master plan designating priority routes for bicycling
Render to the mayor and the board of aldermen a report of its activities and recommendations, not less than once a year.
We discussed the ordinance and whether or not we should consider re-writing/updating it or leaving it as is and instead developing a charter, mission and vision or developing a memorandum of understanding between City departments and the Committee. There were mixed opinions about this.
One thing the ordinance does not do is to explicitly incorporate the five E’s of bicycle transportation planning (education, engineering, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation), not to mention the sixth E of equity (Ariel made the point that equity intersects with all of the other E’s). The ordinance is a bit top heavy on engineering.
Since the ordinance was written, Somerville has become one of the top cities in the northeast for cycling. To this point, Alderman Nedergang praised the committee for all that it has done and feels that the committee is functioning very effectively and that maybe it shouldn’t spend a lot of time re-thinking the ordinance since the committee is working well from his vantage point.
Another issue is whether to re-think the inclusion of ex-officio committee members, most of whom never attend SBC meetings. Should they remain on the committee?
We discussed the importance of getting regular input from, in particular the police to help the committee with enforcement issues and also, the Office of Traffic and Parking to help with issues related to traffic, parking and engineering.
It was discussed that the SBC should try harder to reach out to the ex-officio members and explicitly invite them to meetings, perhaps on a quarterly basis where there is a focus that would involve them directly. We would need to check their availability ahead of time
Alderman Nedergang believes the police department’s interaction is key
Tim suggested that we solicit feedback from the ex-officio members as to their opinion on being part of the committee and their role
We also discussed whether, as outlined in the Ordinance, we should work on developing a Master Plan for bicycling infrastructure
Jennifer informed us that there is a mobility plan coming through city right now and that the SBC should be involved in this process
Alan informed us that the SBC drafted a master plan five or six years ago when Steve Winslow was the liaison. Action: Alan to circulate the draft master plan
So we left the discussion with the following guidance for the sub-committee:
The sub-committee should make a recommendation on the optimal organization of the committee. The sub-committee should recommend whether to keep the original ordinance or draft a new one, whether to keep the ex-officio members as is or not, and on how we should incorporate the five (or six) E’s. We advise the sub-committee to take their time and we realize that this process may take many months.
Re-zoning meeting: There is an important Joint Planning Board / Land Use Committee Hearing on New Zoning coming up on March 5 at 6PM. The SBC should be actively participating in this hearing.