The on Wednesday unanimously approved the , which has also won approval from the Manhattan Beach Planning Commission, and the Redondo Beach Harbor and Planning Commission will review it on Thursday.
The plan aims to improve the area's accessibility for bicyclists and walkers by expanding bike paths in seven South Bay cities: El Segundo, Gardena, Hermosa Beach, Lawndale, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance.
The master plan, funded by $240,000 from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, aims to add 213.8 miles of bike pathways to the 73.2 miles of pathways that currently span across the seven South Bay cities.
So far, commissions from all cities except Redondo Beach and Gardena have adopted the plan. Once approved, the plan then will be presented to each city council for final approval, and move toward implementation.
The plan would take about 20 years to implement, from 2012 to 2032, according to the South Bay Bicycle Coalition, which submitted the plan.
"We looked at this region, and we said, ‘This is the best place in the world to ride a bike,’ " said Todd Dipaola, founder and chairman of the coalition. "Everybody has a bike in their garage, but why aren’t they riding their bikes more? A lot of times, they just don’t feel comfortable. There aren’t enough bikeways and bike lanes for people."
Dipaola, who founded the coalition in 2009, said that nationwide studies have shown cities with a strong presence of bicycle transportation networks report a reduced number of accidents, but an increased number of cyclists.
"There are so many good benefits out of this, from the safety aspect to the environmental aspect, to just the livability aspect," Dipaola said.
Sam Corbett, a consultant from planning and design company Alta, which focuses on building walkways and bike paths in communities, said that the South Bay Bicycle Master Plan is "the first of its kind in the country," because it incorporates seven separate cities.
Corbett acknowledged that the plan comes with a fair share of challenges.
"It certainly is a unique challenge, because typically we just have one client," Corbett said. "In this case, we have numerous, numerous clients in each of the cities. But I think, ultimately, we’re going to have such a better product."
Corbett added that the central challenge of the project is that bicycling as a form of everyday transportation is a relatively new trend within the country, causing constant influxes of new innovations.
"A lot of cities have been willing to try more innovative treatments," Corbett said. "The bicycling profession and field [are] evolving. It’s still a fairly new field. Until the '60s or '70s, we barely had bike lanes.
"More and more cities are trying bicycle boxes, cycle tracks, colored bicycle lanes. A lot of these treatments haven’t been adopted yet but cities are experimenting with [them]," he added. "A number of the cities in the South Bay have been willing to try new ideas."
For example, Marissa Christiansen, the South Bay initiative director for the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition, said if the plan is approved by the area's city councils, biking "facilities" would begin to sprout up across the South Bay as part of the plan.
Facilities, as explained by Christiansen, are stations of bike paths, bike racks and bike lanes.
Dipaola on Wednesday reiterated that the master plan is not the final plan—studies that take place over the 20-year period would prompt improvements, he said.
"Some people look at this plan as the final piece," Dipaola said. "This is really the first piece of a conceptual plan that will last 20 years."