Thursday, April 21, 2011

What I've Been Up To

I've not been posting here as regularly lately, but that is mostly because energy has been going elsewhere. Some of that energy has been going into my contributions to Santa Monica Patch, for a column called Green City, on urban sustainability issues. Some of these posts have been on bicycling related issues, but I'm trying to keep the topics a little broader.

Hope everyone enjoyed CicLAvia 2.0, I was away this time, but I followed the whole thing vicariously via the internet.  Also for anyone interested in keeping up with my goings-on, I also Tweet a fair amount in between the blogging and other things.

I just got back from a week in Portland, and am taking in all that I saw and experienced there. I shot tons of photos of bicycling, transit, and transit oriented development while I was there. Below is a preview, looking at one of the bike corrals that have been springing up all over Portland. I'm so jealous of the bike parking there, it was really quite amazing how much the simple matter of providing bike parking makes you feel welcome to ride a bike. Yes Santa Monica has some bike parking, and does it's bike valet for certain things, but in Santa Monica bike parking is really only a downtown thing, and not even many parts of downtown. In Portland, even far into the neighborhoods, local business all have bike parking, including many with corrals. In SoCal finding good bike parking is surprise, in Portland finding a business without adequate bike parking is an outrage. It's like light and day, we are clearly far behind. 

Business apparently really love the corrals too, because the increased foot traffic they attract compared to a car space, is good for their bottom line. The city cannot keep up with the requests coming in to swap car parking for bike parking. All this in a city with some of the most horrible weather for bicycling I've ever experienced. Sometime soon I'll try to gather all my thoughts into a post on lessons from Portland.

Bike Corral At Powell's Books, Near NW Entrance

Here are the links to my posts for Patch so far:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Santa Monica Spoke Feeder Ride To CicLAvia

I'll be brief, losing signal on Amtrak at the moment, but for Santa Monicans looking to join the CicLAvia party train tomorrow, check the details of the Santa Monica Spoke feeder ride. Some meet up points are also posted for mid-city meet ups.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Santa Monica Bike Action Plan Update At Planning Commision Meeting Tonight

The status of the Santa Monica Bike Action Plan has been a bit of an unknown for a little while, but a presentation and update on the plan is happening tonight's planning commission meeting. There is some new material in the staff reports and attachments, and a lot of it is pretty good stuff. There is obviously an effort to respond to a lot of specific concerns and ideas from the community. One of my own pet peeves, the narrow bike lane on Broadway, a prominent commuting route with high turn over in the morning, placed right in the door zone, appears slated for buffering the bike lane from the door zone, something that exists on a small stretch that was being repainted where I intervened before final paint went down.

I'm interested to see the full presentation, and if any mention of time frames for the proposed projects will be discussed. As I've mentioned before, one of my biggest concerns is that the bike plan is not getting as much community input or having as many workshops as many other public works projects in the city, and I think that is important for creating the support and buy in necessary to make sure these plans really happen. There will no doubt be resistance to some of these proposals, and we have to make there is a enough support to balance that, or we can end up with another plan sitting on a shelf. Some of this rests on advocates to be involved, but the city has been very proactive in community involvement on projects such as the proposed Civic Center Park, and I would like to see more done to involve the community in the bike planning process.

This post is a bit last minute, but if you can't make it tonight, you can always write in letters to the planning commissioners. Also if you aren't already, you should follow the Santa Monica Spoke blog for updates on Santa Monica bike news, my own blog has not been updated frequent lately, partly due to my column contributions to Santa Monica Patch.

Staff Report
Santa Monica Land Use & Circulation Element
Existing Bike Facilities and Proposed Project Limits Bicycle Action Plan
Bicycle Action Plan Initial Draft Project and Program List
Bicycle Facility Toolbox DRAFT
Michigan Bikeway

When: Wednesday , April 6, 2011 at 7:00pm
Where: Santa Monica City Hall, 1685 Main Street,
City Council Chambers, Rm 213