An Open Letter to the El Camino College Board of Trustees
Over the past two months I have spent several days studying the cycling conditions at El Camino College. While offering affordable parking for staff and students is important for removing financial barriers preventing students from getting to El Camino, I believe you should also dedicate resources to improving cycling at and around the college. Many students cannot afford a car, would rather avoid the expense of driving to school, or enjoy the health benefits of cycling. However, only a small percentage of staff and students cycle to El Camino because of the poor conditions at and around the college. Also, as I am sure you are well aware, constructing parking structures is expensive for the district. Less money could be spent making cycling safer and more convenient for staff and students therefore reducing the need for parking. Below are my initial impressions on the current conditions and potential short-term and long-term improvements. Thank you for your time and consideration.
– David Bailey
- The roads surrounding campus are unsafe and uncomfortable. As a result, few staff and students cycle to campus.
- The Dominguez Creek Bike Path (Figure 2) offers a safe and comfortable route north of campus, but it is not well connected to campus. Also, the path does not extend south of campus to the other completed portion of the path from Vermont Avenue to Main Street.
- El Camino College Board Policy 5500 - II (e) categorizes active modes of transportation including cycling, skateboarding, roller blading, and scooter riding as disruptive and prohibits these modes on campus (Figure 3). However, many campus pathways are wide enough to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians. This prohibition removes a potential incentive for cycling to campus and requires students to park their bikes far from classes.
- There are no safe routes west of campus due to Alondra Golf Course.
- Open access between the Dominguez Creek Bike Path and the campus through Parking Lot F (Figure 4).
- Improve the crossing of the Dominguez Creek Bike Path at Manhattan Beach Boulevard. There are marked crosswalks with warning lights to the east and west of the intersection, but no markings at the intersection.
- Work with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works to complete the Dominguez Creek Bike Path south of campus.
- Work with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation to create a bike path west of campus through Alondra Park.
- Long term: work with the relevant agencies to add protected bike lanes on Crenshaw Boulevard, Redondo Beach Boulevard, and Manhattan Beach Boulevard.
- Allow cycling and other active modes on campus for transportation. Continue the prohibition of these modes for non-transportation purposes. If necessary, create zones where cycling is prohibited at certain times of day. This is the approach utilized by USC and UCLA on their campuses.
- Improve bike signage around campus (Figure 5). For example, show the Dominguez Creek Bike Path on campus maps. Install signs on campus directing cyclists to the Dominguez Creek Bike Path.
- Work with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to improve awareness of cycling. They can provide free cycling classes, lights and helmets.
- Consider bicycles for the El Camino College Police Department. These officers currently patrol with motor vehicles, but bicycles can allow the officers to patrol more effectively.
- Long term: consider hiring a cycling evangelist/coordinator responsible for improving cycling conditions and ridership.