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Dear ER, As a Redondo Beach resident, I would like to applaud the City Of Torrance for hearing its residents, and not approving the bike path located at the end of Diamond Street. Diamond Street is a quiet, dead end street with a minimum amount of traffic. The obvious result of this half completed Beach Cities Health District project is an increase in traffic. The project was started without the approval of the Diamond Street residents. The building of a six-foot high wall is not in the rendering. The bike path will change from a wider path to a narrow path, which may prove to be a hazard for the bike riders. Some of the questions on Redondo Beach residents’ minds include why a six foot high concrete wall was built on BCHD property if it is not a part of the bike lane, and why was the project funded before getting the approval of the City of Torrance? Sincerely, Philip de Wolff #bchd #bikepathtonowhere

Dear ER:

It appears Beach Cities Health District’s Flagler Alley bike path plan will still use $1.8 million in Metro grant money, in spite of the plan’s reduction by one third. I bike the Diamond to Flagler pathway from my home just west of Prospect to see friends who live on Tomlee Avenue. The ride takes me 40 seconds end to end on a regular bike. So the $1.8 million is now applying to about 13 seconds of a bike path?

Some allege the existing route is unsafe. I disagree, but admit that it could stand some improvements. The current path is perfectly functional, but needs to be resurfaced and needs some lighting. These lights should be low and path-specific so as not to shine into surrounding homes. The concrete barricades at the north (Torrance) end are not pretty, but they work well to keep cars out while allowing access to bikers, skateboarders and walkers. The same goes for the south end, which has a fence to keep cars out (an aesthetic improvement could be wood or vinyl instead of chain link). Both ends allow safe points of entry and exit.

The steep green belt adjacent to the path could be replaced with native plants to prevent erosion. This swath of land provides an important visual and sound barrier between people’s homes and existing medical offices, and a parking structure. These suggestions would cost far less than the $1.8 million BCHD intends to spend on what will now be a partial path, without the City of Torrance’s participation.

Shouldn’t such a project be city-initiated anyway? This isn’t BCHD’s first attempt to spend excessive amounts of our tax dollars on public land without the people’s consent. BCHD does a lot of good for the beach communities, but unfortunately their recent forays into private over-development on public property have tarnished their reputation. As letter-writer Geoff Gilbert put it, “Why the opposition from Torrance residents over this [bike path] project? Maybe it’s because it’s sponsored by BCHD, for which they have no trust.”

Lara Duke

Redondo Beach

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Read the latest article on BCHD's bike path.

On Local Government:



by Bob Pinzler

Flagler Alley in Redondo Beach and Torrance has long been a source of controversy. It connects Diamond Street in Redondo to Towers Avenue in Torrance.

During the 1980s, consideration was given to connecting Diamond to Flagler Lane in Redondo to alleviate vehicle traffic clogging Aviation Boulevard leading to what was then TRW. Redondo even started to purchase lots along Flagler Lane to facilitate its widening.

When that failed, the alley went untended, but was used by bike riders looking for a shortcut from Redondo High to the northern part of the city. The problem was that at the northern end, the alley fed directly onto Flagler Lane, where it bends sharply into Towers Street, which then proceeds downhill to the east. This residential street is very active and overused, particularly during the school drop-off and pick-up hours. Many accidents occurred.

Part of the problem has been that those exiting Flagler Alley add to a mix of skateboarders, pedestrians, cars, and commercial traffic, which those streets were never meant to bear. E-bikes have been added to the mix, and the speeds at which those riders emerged onto Towers has exacerbated the safety issue. The danger finally forced Torrance to build a partial barricade at its end to force riders to dismount. It has been reasonably successful.

Many years ago, as part of the planning for its proposed expansion into residential care for the elderly, the Beach Cities Health District obtained a grant from LA County to build a high-end bike path. It would, they said, create a means by which riders could safely take advantage of that Flagler Alley shortcut.

The opposition from the Torrance residents at the bottom of the hill grew so loud that Torrance rejected BCHD’s program, and refused to allow their land to be used for the path. Torrance was emphatic that the altered traffic flow, including bikes and e-bikes that would inevitably use the “shortcut,” would create even more serious and frequent safety issues, especially for children.

The grant BCHD got was for $1.8 million dollars. They were to use that money not only for building the entire Flagler Alley path, but for sidewalks and other amenities. The proposed bike path is also abutted by a large, steep hill. Substantial work on that hill would have been needed, but Torrance has very strict hillside use ordinances, and said no to the hillside work.

Recently, BCHD did a complete switch. They claimed they would build about one third of the path in the Redondo portion of Flagler Alley only. Yet, BCHD also claimed now it would cost $1.5 million of the $1.8 million grant to accomplish that diminished distance. The bike path is now more expensive per mile than a mile of freeway.

The “shortcut” which BCHD now proposes would leave bike riders in the middle of an alley, careening head on into traffic — pedestrian and vehicle. This area is not engineered nor even dedicated for high-volume traffic.

Bicycle lanes are an important mobility element for any city. Making them safe must be the first priority. The Flagler Alley proposal does not meet that test. If BCHD insists on spending on the Redondo portion, it would be in the best interests of Torrance to completely shut off that access.

Closing the alley would be safer, and not inconvenient for bikers. Since the “shortcut” was envisioned more than a decade ago, bike lanes have been added to Beryl Street to facilitate safer traffic, thus making the more dangerous alleyway a moot point.

Why would BCHD be so insistent on building this dangerous, unneeded, and incomplete bike path when the city that controls two thirds of it has said no?

That $1.8 million could be better spent elsewhere. ER

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