Thursday, May 31, 2012

Riverside - a Bike Friendly Community?

I sat my butt in a chair for 1 1/2 hours yesterday for the Mayor of Riverside.

I sit on the Mayor's Fit, Fresh & Fun Forum.

I don't know what makes me more tired...sitting in the chair and listening to people talk "governmenteze" or saying Fit, Fresh & Fun Forum.

All jest aside, I was excited to go to the meeting because Charles Gandy, the city's consultant on cycling was presenting.

It was a let-down.
I have ridden my bike all over town and there are lots of ways to improve the cycling routes.
There are a a few bike lanes, but they are willy nilly.

There is the SART (Santa Ana River Trail), but I don't think there is one bike lane I could ride on to get there.

Of course, I wanted to know about my neighborhood in particular.
In my neighborhood a bike lane starts several miles to the east along a major avenue and leads down past a lot of residential homes and then stops right near my house. The major avenue continues on to a shopping area less than 2 miles away....but the bike lane does not. So there is not a safe way to bike from my house to the shopping area.

I asked about this one time and was told by an elected official that I could ride on the sidewalk. I laughed and told him I don't ride on sidewalks.

 There is a sidewalk on ONE side of the street, but at certain times of the day it tends to be congested with students from the high school either walking or riding their bikes toward the Plaza area and the neighborhoods surrounding it.

Can you imagine trying to ride AGAINST that traffic?

No wonder Riverside did not make Bicycling Magazines' list of America's Best Bike Cities.

The mayor has said he wants Riverside to be a bike-friendly city.

 The city council even went so far as to hire Mr. Gandy as a consultant. His contract expires Sept. 1.
 Mr. Gandy was hired a few years back by the City of Long Beach to help it become more bike friendly.

Long Beach ranked 19th on Bicycling's list this year.
A bike lane in Long Beach. NICE!
Riverside does have a bike plan. The plan was approved by the city council several years ago. Mr. Gandy said it was time to "activate the bike plan."

The plan is to use PAINT.

Mr. Gandy named four main streets in Riverside that he recommends taking a car lane from each side of the street and making it a bike lane.
Unfortunately, the main street by my house was not one of the ones he talked about.
After the meeting I asked Mr. Gandy about continuing the bike lane by my house so that cyclists could ride to the major shopping area.

He said he didn't know off the top of his head and he would get back to me.

The clock's ticking.

Riverside has a lot of work to do if it wants to make Bicycling's 2013 list.

1 comment:

  1. I think a route to Riverside plaza from UCR is also a great idea. I nearly got hit by a truck riding down Central and I don't see why we can't get our share of the road. Thank you for advocating for us (however tedious it may be). ( =