Gone in 13 seconds
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.”