Monday, October 3, 2016

Better Bike Lanes (Protected) Pave the Way to Increasing Bicycle Ridership - My Recent Vancouver, BC Bicycling Experience

By Andy Hanshaw, Executive Director

I’m honored and privileged to have the opportunity in my position here at the Bike Coalition to occasionally attend a local, national and in this case international conference where my colleagues in bicycle advocacy, planning and governance come together to share best practices so we can all learn and be inspired to continue our work to improve bicycling safety and the overall quality of life in our own communities. I recently traveled to Vancouver, BC to attend the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place Conference.

Indeed I was inspired. Not only by the creative and successful stories from leaders that I heard from but more importantly by the city I visited, Vancouver, British Columbia. A strikingly beautiful city surrounded by water and urban parks and a transportation network that moves some 2 ½ million residents around so efficiently.  Riding my bike to get around was easy, safe and quick and it was clear to me that city leaders and planners there place a high priority on bicycling as a primary mode of transportation. What I experienced is what we are striving for here, a connected and protected system of bike lanes that get you safely to the places you need to go whether that be your office, home, restaurants, shops, museums or parks.  It’s all right there and as I learned, it’s been an incredible success story for the city to achieve and exceed their own bicycle mode share goals. In simple terms, in Vancouver, they aim to get more people biking, walking or taking transit than driving in their city and that’s exactly what’s happening. In fact, Vancouver has already reached the goal of 50% of their citizens commuting by biking, walking or transit years ahead of schedule. Amazing.

In the intermittent sessions where I was not out on a bike seeing things for myself, I also heard over and over again the common theme by which these changes came about: political will. The elected officials we heard from understood there was risk involved in making changes that will encourage less people to drive, and they were willing to take those risks for the betterment of the entire community. We often say when we talk about bicycle advocacy and safe infrastructure, “If we build it, they will come”. Well, that’s more than a cliché, it’s the truthful reality I saw in Vancouver that’s also taking place in major American cities across our own country. Our plans here are in motion, Downtown Mobility, Uptown, North Park-Mid City and more but it’s time to get these projects built and get more people riding now. Not only to achieve our own Climate Action Plan goals of 6% bicycle mode share by 2020 and 18% by 2035 but to make San Diego a truly world class destination for everyone of all ages and abilities to enjoy by bicycling and walking. Until these projects that include their own networks of protected bike lanes are in place, we will be continuing to fall behind cities who are attracting Millennials and a workforce that wants to live in vibrant cities where they can get around without a car.   It’s time to get moving San Diego and take action on implementation of our local and regional bike networks. We CAN get there and we know when it’s built, they will come. 

Please help us bring Better Bike Lanes to our cities in San Diego County, give today at: 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

2nd Annual Kerry's Ride Home: Recap

The second annual Kerry’s Ride Home took place on January 30th. Typically, this event is a two-day event, with overnight camping halfway through the ride. However, El Nino had other plans in mind. With promised rain and heavy winds for Sunday, we decided to change our agenda ahead of time. With a day full of sunshine on Saturday, we were able to have a fit in many awesome miles.

We gathered at 9 a.m. at the San Juan Capistrano train station. Many of us took the early Amtrak with our bicycles on board.

We started off with introductions. We met Kerry’s family and friends, who supported the entire ride with the van full of snacks and supplies. After quickly reviewing the agenda and going over some important safety information, we set off!

Just a couple streets over leaving the train station, we were able to hop on the river trail just for pedestrians and cyclists. It was a leisurely pace, enjoying the early morning. After about 9 miles, we hit our first stop – for coffee of course!

We loaded up on caffeine and pastries and had a makeshift picnic in the parking lot next to our bikes.

We departed our San Clemente pit stop and kept meandering down the 101, usually treated with gorgeous views of the Pacific.

We all checked in together before entering Camp Pendleton to make sure we had everyone accounted for – and everyone had their ID’s on them.

We enjoyed the quieter roads of Camp Pendleton! After exiting on the sound end, we rounded the troops to make our executive decision. Carlsbad Pizza Port to Solana Beach Pizza Port? Very tough decisions to make, I know. We were hungry enough to go for the closer one!

With one leg to go to the finish, we eagerly zoomed down the last Oceanside bit with pizza and beer in our minds.

One by one, the participants rolled up to happily finish the awesome ride. Some first-timers were particulary ecstatic – it was their longest ride to date! We were so proud to be with them for that moment.

We ordered the goods and sat all together and we all made a few remarks. At this point, people were dispering to their individual plans. Some people decided to brave the weather and camp anyway. Some people were biking to the next Pizza Port and then take the train. We all decided Kerry would be proud of our impromptu Tour-de-Pizza Port!

Kerry Kunsman was an amazing man who wanted to explore the world by bike, and we are right there, rolling in his wheel path. Thank you to his wonderful family for van support. Happy riding! Kerry, this one is for you.