Broadway protest

Protesters wave signs at car drivers Monday at Cherry Avenue and Broadway.

About 75 protesters who say the Broadway bike lanes make the corridor more dangerous called on the city to address their concerns during a demonstration Monday afternoon, July 15.

Some locals who live near the Broadway Corridor, in Alamitos Beach, have expressed traffic and safety concerns — for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike — since Broadway was narrowed from four to two lanes, with a new protected bike lane, this year. Business owners along the corridor have also said the lack of parking is slowing the number of customers coming through.

Those folks asked the city to take another look at ways to improve the bike lanes, or to remove them altogether. And that’s why Robert Fox, who plans to run for the City Council’s Second District seat next year, said he organized Monday’s protest.

“It’s become a very dangerous street,” Fox said. “It’s unsafe for bikes, it’s unsafe for cars and the fire trucks can’t get down it. Common sense says that’s not a good plan.”

Protesters, near Cherry Avenue and Broadway, carried signs that read, “Broadway road diet endangers lives.” They also chanted, “Broadway road diet has got to go.”

The city, for its part, said in an earlier interview that officials are monitoring the situation. And Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, who represents the Second District, said in one of her past newsletters that some results of the project “aren’t perfect.”

But a handful of cyclists who came to counter-protest the demonstration on Monday, including downtown resident Johnny Tully, said the bike lanes have helped cyclists.

If drivers and cyclists alike slowed down and learned more about how bike lanes work, he said, the protesters’ safety concerns would be less of an issue.

“This is designed for people to commute,” Tully said. “This is designed for people to access safe corridors and to get around safely.”

Resident Lisa Garibaldi, who has lived in Alamitos Beach for eight years, said that while she supports bike lanes, having two bike lanes on Broadway is not working. Over the past two months, Garibaldi said, she’s seen more accidents — for motorists and bicyclists alike — than ever before between Cherry and Orange avenues.

A bicyclist herself, Garibaldi said there are many driveways that cut through the bike lane that make it unsafe. So she opts to use the bike lanes on other nearby residential streets instead of Broadway.

“I love biking, I’m all for a car-free future,” she said. “But I don’t think we’re at that point yet — we don’t have the public transportation infrastructure. And making it impossible for cars before you have the infrastructure seems like a self-defeating project.”

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