Laying Down on the Job

Laying Down on the Job
The Santa Monica Easy

Sunday, June 5, 2011

All Things Bright and Bicycle Related

      
Santa Monica Ride
The Santa Monica City Council is making strong efforts to transform the city into a bicycle-friendly city.  Since I used to cycle all over Santa Monica and would love to do it again, this is very exciting and I say, YAY!

Santa Monica Beach Ready-to-Rides
Last Friday I attended an "I Am Santa Monica" workshop (more about that in another blog) and was delighted to hear other Santa Monica business representatives make positive comments about the bike valet stalls made available for recent city events.  Statistics show that cities that are "bike friendly" are better for businesses and its residents. 


I've seen an increasing number of cyclists in Santa Monica.  I know one resident/attorney/journalist/author, Frank Gruber (author of "Urban Worrier" and the "What I Say" column for Surf Santa Monica) is a dedicated (in my observation) bike commuter from his home in Ocean Park to downtown Santa Monica.  He's a great role model for cycling to work.
New bike posts (on Broadway) to secure our wheels.
For those Santa Monicans interested in supporting the "better bicycling" efforts being made, you may want to contact various members of the Santa Monica Planning Commission and City Council or attend the meetings to make public comments.  A plan has already started to take shape but community input is invaluable and vitally important.  Or, you may want to join/support Santa Monica Spoke, an energetic and thoughtful non-profit group whose mission is to help make Santa Monica a better place to cycle.  I'm 100% for that but I'm also committed to a well-planned integrated plan that allows motor vehicles, non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians safe and unfettered access around the city.  We CAN all get along. 
Cycling up the California Incline - not for the weak-thighed.
It's important to note that riding on the sidewalks -- although seemingly safer to the rider -- is illegal in Santa Monica.  
For those who enjoy cycling, the Santa Monica beach bike path from the Pier south, is a little bit of heaven and is relatively confined to bicycle traffic only.  The part of the path north of the Pier is less so.  That part of the path is marked as restricted to bicycles and skaters only, but joggers/walkers/runners/strollers also use the path because there is no other place to walk if you don't want sand in your shoes.  Many a busy weekend has ended in discord between cyclist and foot traffic because of the path's lack of accommodation for both.  I'd like to encourage the re-striping of that three miles of bike path so pedestrians can share the outer portions of the path -- much like the pedestrians and cyclists who use the bike path in Rancho Cordova that parallels the American River.  Pedestrians share the outer edges of the two-way, four-lane path while cyclists and skaters use the wider, inner two-way lanes; pedestrians walk (sometimes with their dogs) against the wheeled traffic so collisions are avoided.  If there's no economically viable way to widen the Santa Monica beach path, then how about re-striping and re-signing it?  It might cause fewer fights and collisions between the admirably active cyclists and pedestrians.  
Cycling the pedestrian bridge over PCH.
A couple of months ago I participated in the 5th and Arizona Development community workshop and one of the most prevalent comments was a desire for bike accommodations and how much more time could be spent shopping and enjoying downtown Santa Monica if there were.

My bike (now residing in Rancho Cordova). 
After years of commuting 13 miles by bike -- Santa Monica to Culver City --  I stopped cycling Santa Monica in 2000 because increased traffic, hostile drivers ignorant of the laws regarding bikes and lack of bike lanes made it increasingly scary for me.  Since then, I've walked Santa Monica and while I love walking, I can't carry as many purchase walking as I did when I rode my bike.  Now, for purchases that require more than my two arms or are too heavy for me to carry more than a few blocks, I drive out of Santa Monica to avoid local traffic.

I’d like to cycle Santa Monica again.  I'm an advocate for an integrated approach to make Santa Monica safe for all traffic.  Everyone has their own point of view but, I’d like to see increased bike lanes and bold signage that indicates "No bikes on sidewalks" or reminders for cyclist to obey all traffic laws. This would educate drivers, cyclists and pedestrians and result in safer streets for everyone.  Widening or re-striping the beach bike path north of the pier to give pedestrians a designated narrow lane could allow safe pedestrian and cyclist throughway to locations like "Back on the Beach" or the Annenberg Community Center.  Seeing police on bikes as a yearly presence around the city says cyclists are welcome here and are an important part of this city.

Bikes galore for rent.
Cyclists create a community, not only with each other but with the businesses they patronize. I look forward to an integrated plan for the whole city that embraces cyclists, benefits our businesses and creates smooth flowing and safe traffic for all of us. 

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