Manhattan Beach approves bike path design for Polliwog Park

Hoping to provide a safe route for children to get to and from Manhattan Beach Middle School, the City Council is moving ahead with plans for a dedicated bike path along the east side of Polliwog Park.

Council members, presented with three options for a path that would allow children on bicycles to keep away from students on foot, unanimously selected a 400-foot-long path running adjacent to the sidewalk on the west side of Redondo Avenue.

Board members of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District, which owns Polliwog Park, had selected a curving, 12-foot-wide path through the park with two lanes for bicyclists.

To preserve green space, the City Council ultimately agreed to a different option that would straighten the bike path, making it parallel to the sidewalk. Council members also agreed to widen the sidewalk on Redondo Avenue. A buffer zone will shield walkers on the sidewalk from riders on the path.

The bikeway, part of the federal Safe Routes to School grant awarded to the city in 2012, is intended to help increase the safety of student cyclists. The grant provides up to $490,600 for safety measures such as curb extensions and walkway enhancements at the middle school and elementary schools. Under the grant’s constraints, the projects need to be complete by June 2018.

Initially, a bike path was excluded from design options because the public was concerned about how much park landscape would be affected.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, several residents spoke against the bike path alternatives. Many still worried about the green space the project would take away from the park. Additionally, residents contended the project had not been thoroughly studied.

“Where is the actual data regarding cycling students on Redondo Avenue between Manhattan Beach Boulevard and MBMS that would support the new location of a bike path in that specific area?” resident Stephanie Robbins asked.

Karen Komatinsky, vice…

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