June 11, 2014

Regional Bicycle Master Plan Seeks Input

The Regional Bicycle Master Plan is asking people to take a survey that will help them to design bike paths that will connect Agoura Hills and other cities in our region. This plan is an excellent idea and we congratulate the city for its part in the planning process. The website for the plan is RegionalBikePlan.Org.  You can find a link to the survey on that site, or click HERE.

The Regional Bicycle Master Plan is a collaborative effort of the Las Virgenes-Malibu Council of Governments and other agencies to promote bicycling as a safe and attractive transportation choice. The Plan is supported by a Sustainability Planning Grant from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). Agoura Hills is a member of both of these planning organizations.

The Regional Bicycle Master Plan also includes the cities of Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, and Westlake Village. The resulting individual city bike plans will allow the five cities to apply for state grant funds to implement projects and programs that will improve the safety of bicycle riders in the region and increase the number of people choosing to ride for a variety of reasons.

Riding a bike for commuting, running errands, recreation, or physical fitness is fun! Other significant benefits include improved personal health and environmental sustainability. The overall transportation system can function more smoothly if riding a bicycle is made to be a safer and more attractive option, because traffic congestion would decrease. In addition, economic benefits are often realized through families’ reduced reliance on automobile ownership, reduced health care costs for society, and increased community vitality.

We won’t see the comments that you will be sending in, but we’d love to know how you feel about this new regional effort. Please take another minute and add a comment back to us with your thoughts. Thanks for being a part of this planning process.

June 9, 2014

More on Creeks

A view of Palo Comado Creek along Agoura Road
A few of weeks ago we posted an article about restoring the concrete channeled creeks in Agoura Hills to natural creek beds. See “Creek Restoration” posted on March 5. A section of Medea Creek east of Kanan Road is already slated to be restored and will be a welcome improvement to Chumash Park. Of course, as we point out in the article, there are miles of other concrete channels in the city that should eventually be restored.

Restoring creeks to their natural creek beds is 
only part of what should be done to improve water quality, restore habitat areas, and provide for attractive pedestrian areas throughout the city. We also have to insure that existing creeks within our parks and open spaces are free of pollution and reasonably accessible for people to enjoy.
Palo Comado Creek west of Lewis Road

Lindero Creek enters the city from Ventura County in the northwest section of the city. It flows past Yerba Buena elementary school, through city owned park land and into Lake Lindero. From Lake Lindero, it flows over the dam that created the artificial lake and into a culvert which takes it south east, under the 101 freeway. It daylights just south of Agoura Road and flows south until it joins up with Malibu Creek, south of the city. Except for the lake and the underground culvert, Lindero creek retains a natural creek bed.
Outflow of Lindero Creek south of Agoura Road

A portion of Lindero Creek upstream of the lake is on city owned property slated for a nature park. Plans for the park include trails and outdoor fitness equipment. The part of Lindero Creek that is south of Agoura Road flows through private property and is within the Agoura Village Specific Plan area. The Specific Plan insures that the creek will remain natural and also encourages its use as an amenity to any development on the property.
Lindero Creek south of T.O. Blvd.

Plastic bag in Lindero Creek

As of today, however, the creek in this area has become a major pollution problem. The creek here is largely hidden from public view. Off and on over the years, transients have used the area for overnight encampments. As a result, the creek bed is strewn with glass and plastic bottles, plastic bags, fast food containers, and debris of all kinds. Worse, the area has been used as an outdoor toilet, putting dangerous bacteria into the water. The Sheriff’s Department will periodically clean out these encampments and, once a year, the city’s Earth Day activists pick up a lot of the litter in the area. But it is not enough.

Transients continue to return to this area and continue to make it a health and safety risk for the community. It is time for a permanent solution to the problem. The city is planning to install a water cleaning system at the outflow of Lindero Creek immediately south of Agoura Road. This will help to clean the water up to this point in the creek. Additional measures are needed to insure that the water downstream of the outflow remains clean. Here are some of the steps we urge the city to take as soon as possible:

1. Join L.A. County and other cities in the area and ban single use plastic bags.

2. Initiate a regular weekly patrol of the creek and remove transient encampments immediately when they are discovered.

3. Place trash receptacles in strategic locations to encourage proper disposal of litter.