The Direction and Trajectory of Long Beach Biking

Went to an update of Long Beach's bike plan yesterday.  Last time it was updated:  the year 2000, 12 years ago.

Obviously, they're moving forward on projects and making a lot of changes in a few areas.

Most of the meeting consisted of the meeting facilitator, Allan Crawford, asking meeting attendees to introduce themselves and why they came to the meeting.  He would then try to tie in whatever people would say to some kind of new innovation.

I was surprised to get a bit of a history lesson.  According to Allan bicyclists were amongst the first advocates for roads in the 1900s.  They apparently didn't want to ride on mud and dirt.  So essentially, our roads were built for bikes. 

The 21st century Southern California finds most of its residents highly dependent on the automobile.  Now, more than ever, according to UCLA Transportation studies.  Over the last 15 years, there has no increase in overall population, but there are increases in overall traffic.  People are deeply immersed, enraptured if not having naturalized the automobile as the only feasible mode of transport

I found it interesting that in the federal budget, bicycling infrastructure received 1% of the funding, but apparently accounted for 12% of all trips.

When Allan stopped talking about history, he was talking about improvements in the physical as well as the social bike infrastructure:
  1. bike sharrows implemented in Belmont Shores, built along with bikeshare to increase the number of trips taken by bike
  2. the separated lanes in downtown Long Beach
  3. bicycling advocacy's apparent partnership with business districts
  4. bike education programs
Additionally, a powerpoint of the Direction of Long Beach biking was printed out.  There are 8 bike infrastructure projects:
  1. Pacific-San Antonio Corridor
  2. Daisy-Myrtle Blvd
  3. 15th Bike Blvd
  4. 6th Bike Blvd
  5. 3rd & Broadway finalization
  6. Bellflower/Clark/Broadway/Del Amo
  7. Queens Way Water Front Path
  8. GD Bridge

What I thought was missing in the described "Direction of Long Beach biking":
  • Not a fan of bike route signage or sharrows.  From an applied design, and real-time user experience, bike sharrows and class 2 "Bike Route" signage, in my humble opinion, do very little to inform drivers that they need to expect bicyclists on a road.  I know because I was one of those drivers who didn't know what the "Bike Route" signs meant till I actually got into bicycle advocacy.  No need for further proof of the ineffectiveness of Bike Route, Class 2 signage than one school weekday riding Pacific Coast Highway from the Blue Line to Cal State Long Beach.
  • The geographical areas gaining these improvements are two rich people areas;  I hardly ever venture in either direction;  unless I'm missing something West Long Beach, an industrial area with plenty of what I will call invisibilized, if not "persistent, resilient" riders who appear to haul a fair amount of goods for exchange, be it used cans or a freezer.
  • Bicycling advocacy's partnership with business districts is good; except for the part where the businesses get mad at the people biking on the sidewalks.  It's neglecting the reality that it's still too damn dangerous to ride the actual streets.
  • Bicycle education is necessary, but I think simple signage directing riders would be even better. 
More to come with each monthly meeting.  September 5, October 3, November 7, and December 5 are the meeting dates.

No comments: