Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm Starting A New Blog To Focus On Urban Planning Issues and Livable Streets Movement In Santa Monica

The Park Is Open, The Parking Spaces In Front Of Swingers Never Looked So Good
(Santa Monica Spoke's Park[ing] Day Space At Swingers Diner)

First off I'd like to thank all of you, my readers, who have stuck with me during the development of this blog. From the days when I barely knew what I was doing but knew I was excited about bikes, to sporadic periods without much posting due to overtime work commitments. Slowly and gradually Gary Rides Bikes has grown in readership and influence. Even Los Angeles Mayor Villarigosa has checked out the blog.

As I've been consuming as much information as I could over the past few years on cycling, I increasingly saw the connections and importance of all aspects of transportation and land use planning in shaping how we get around in the city. I've been wanting to broaden my focus, and create more bridges between advocacy for bicycling, pedestrian, and public transit, inspired by Streetsblog and the L.A. Street Summit.

I'm not an urban planner by academic education or trade, I went to art school and now I make video games for a living. Though in my off time I've been building this second education for my self and developed an interest in shaping more than just a virtual reality. Besides bicycling specific books like "Bicycling and the Law", and "Pedaling Revolution", I've been going through the works of Jane Jacobs, who I was first exposed to from borrowing off of a friend's reading list in college. Reading "The Death And Life of Great American Cities" forever changed the way I looked at the built environment. Digging into the psychology and history of our driving culture, I've been reading books like "Republic of Drivers", and Tom Vanderbilt's "Traffic". I've also been stuffing every local and significant national blog on bicycling and transportation issues I could find into my Google Reader.

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Now I want to take some of that insight, built over the course of creating and writing this blog, and my desire to incite positive change, and apply it to covering various urban planning issues in Santa Monica. I'm calling the new blog Bay City Urbanist. If you're wondering how I arrived at calling it that, you can check out the about page. It will feature discussions on pedestrian issues, cycling, traffic, land use, public spaces, local transit, among other things, all with a Santa Monica focus.

I'm also interested and seeking potential co-authors or guest writers for Bay City Urbanist, so I can tap into people with more expertise on issues with which I am not yet as familiar as I am with cycling, or who have another interesting perspective to offer. As well as to maintain a higher frequency of content than I have time for on my own. If you'd be interested in contributing, or know someone who would be, who is knowledgeable on the topics, please let me know. Preferably a resident of Santa Monica, or at least someone who does or has spent time here frequently enough to have a local understanding.

As for what will happen to this blog, I have no intention to abandon Gary Rides Bikes, though the post frequency here may lower when I focus further on other projects. I would like to build a readership with the new blog which includes, but is not exclusively those interested in cycling. I'm hoping an offshoot of doing this will be bringing ideas from bicycling advocacy to an audience that may be less familiar with those issues, and cross pollinate energy.

When I feel like writing material that is really intended for an audience already both knowable and passionate about bikes, or material more related to the bike culture and my personal adventures within, such content will mostly still be published through Gary Rides Bikes. Since Bay City Urbanist will be very Santa Monica centric, when I feel like getting specific about bicycling issues outside of Santa Monica, or are less relevant to a Santa Monica discussion, those things will mostly be posted here at Gary Rides Bikes.

I also know that some people really like my occasional long ranting posts, some of them are my most read pages. However they can also be a little off putting for a broader audience, so that sort of stuff will most likely stay here. From time to time I may also cross post some things to both blogs when relevant or link between them.
 
So I hope you will check out the new blog, but stay tuned here, I'll keep updating Gary Rides Bikes, though likely not quite as often. Now it's time for the next evolution in my thought process, though bicycling will always be my first love when it comes to urban planning issues.

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