Monday, March 26, 2012

LA Streetsblog Fundraiser At Library Ale House (Tuesday Mar. 26th)

I've mentioned on twitter a few times, that LA Streetsblog is having another fundraising event at Library Ale House on Main St. in Santa Monica, but realized I hadn't put up here on the blog yet. 10% of the proceeds for all food and drinks for the day and evening go to L.A. Streetsblog and there are special raffle prizes (including a whole bike) that will be up for grabs for those who buy tickets.

I made it to the evening portion of the same event last year and it was a great time catching up with other advocates and plan nerds of various stripes in LA. This year is of special significance for me, because I'm getting paid to write for Streetblog now, covering Santa Monica. This event will be pitching into the fund that is allowing LA Streetsblog to hire additional writers like myself to broaden their coverage.

So if you've appreciated the content I've been writing here and elsewhere over the years, stopping by the Library Ale House tomorrow is one way to support my writing pursuits. Hope to see some of you there, and I'm planning to be there most of the later evening.

And while you're there, you can check out the new permanent bike corrals installed on Main Street. Santa Monica is plowing ahead with it's new bike plan and it's really showing in the past few weeks.

More info on LA Streetsblog
Facebook Event Page

Library Ale House
2911 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405 (map)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Interview With Russ & Laura Of The Path Less Pedaled

(Photo by Path Less Pedaled)
Over on LA Streetsblog, my third post for the Santa Monica column is an interview with Laura Crawford and Russ Roca, the bicycling touring duo from Long Beach, with the awesome bike touring website The Path Less Pedaled. I've been fortunate enough to become friends with the two of them, and when they came back to L.A. from their recent New Zealand adventure, I caught up with them about their recent travels, and asked a few bike tourism questions related to Santa Monica.

If you are at all a fan of traveling by bike, you should be following what Path Less Pedaled are up to. The full interview is up here on LA Streesblog.

In order to keep the word count a little more manageable I didn't end up including every question and answer, but I'll post up a little bonus material here.

Gary -- In-between other adventures you appear to be gravitated toward staying in Portland Oregon now. What is the draw of Portland that keeps you going back after seeing and staying in so many other places?

Laura -- the biggest draw for me is that Oregon is home. Its' where I grew up and I always wanted to go back. We used to spend a lot of time traveling there for vacation and wondered what it would be like to live there.

Russ -- The real active bike scene. It's kind of the epicenter o biking in so many ways, and it is appealing to be part of that. On this break we really want to explore the concept of bicycle travel and tourism and Oregon seems to be the  most active place in the country that i is actively promoting bicycle touring. They're launching a bicycle touring program that is trying to make Oregon one of the top cycle touring destinations in the country.

LC -- The coffee and the beer are the icing.

RR -- But not the rain. You have to come back to Southern California every few months or so for the sun.

LC -- There are two coping strategies. 1) Leave every once and awhile for the sun. 2) Realize there is no such thing as waterproof, you will get wet. Bring a change of clothes. Also the coffee and beer of course.

(Following the questions I planned for the interview, Russ and Laura also went a little further into thoughts about the Otago Central Rail Trail. A long decommissioned rail corridor that was converted into a bike trial, that was one of major highlights of their trip, and a great example of bikenomics in action. -GK)

RR -- We're also working on a new presentation on bicycle touring and travel. New Zealand was kind of a fact finding trip to see what works as far as encouraging bike travel and bring some of those ideas back so bike advocates here can be inspired.

The rail trail was kind of an ideal example where bikes helped rural communities in a tangible way. It wasn't theoretical at all. When you say that in the United States, things are on such a large scale, it isn't as obvious there are communities thriving on bike paths. 

Ironically we talked to the woman who was the chair of the rail trail trust which was put together 18 years ago, and the reason she joined the trust originally was because of a rail rail in the United States she saw in a National Geographic Article. She said the funny part was it was almost complete except for one mile that went through a farmers property that wouldn't let it go through. So she kept all the New Zealand farmers in the loop so they wouldn't feel left out.

LC -- The thing I liked the most about the Otago Trail is that when they started it nearly 20 years ago it wasn't from a lets make money off of cyclists angle, it was looking for something that was worthwhile for people who live out here. They had no idea that people would come out there and ride it. It has taken everybody by complete surprise. So they're even more grateful for the way that it has positively affected towns in the whole area. 

It was an incredible feeling that everyone wanted to do it because it was the right thing to do for the community. The financial benefits of it were a fantastic after-effect that was not the motivating factor. Its' not that it cant be the motivating factor but there's something nice about how everybody is so honest in their appreciation of you being there.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'm On The LA Streetsblog Team As A Santa Monica Columnist

Santa MonicaLast week marked the beginning of my role as a Santa Monica columnist for LA Streetsblog if you haven't already heard on Twitter or seen the first post. I meant to get the news up here earlier and got sidetracked as I dealt with some horrible illness all last week and am now finally feeling better.

This is an exciting new opportunity, and LA Streetsblog has always been a vital source of information for me concerning LA transportation issues. Santa Monica is a unique city with it's own local government and politics, and hopefully my coverage will help fill in with much greater detail what's going on over here for the broader Streetsblog community and readership.

My first story for the Santa Monica column is a feature on the new buffered bike lanes on Bicknell, and the climbing lane and descending sharrows on Arizona Ave. at the East end of town.

The financial support to fund this weekly column comes from new LA Streetsblog advertising for the Santa Monica Bike Center and funds raised at LA Streetsblog fundraisers like The Library Alehouse event coming up on March 27th in Santa Monica. Which I highly recommend participating in if you'd like to support this endeavor and all things LA Streetsblog.

Most of my energy will be going into the Streetsblog updates, but I'll be keeping this blog around for  updates or thoughts that go beyond the scope of what I write for LASB.

If you're interested in checking out just the Santa Monica content on LA Streetsblog, produced by myself and occasionally other contributors, the address will take you to the Santa Monica filtered page.