Surf ‘n Turf Ride to Benefit CalBike

Posted September 29, 2014 By Frank Peters
Seems like a long way to go just to avoid Laguna's perils

This first of its kind CalBike Tour avoids Laguna’s perils

Getting in shape

Getting in shape

CalBike’s Executive Director Dave Snyder had me on the phone a few weeks ago,

Why don’t you come along on the Surf ‘n Turf Ride?

I was just looking for an excuse to do a multi-day ride; this one begins in Santa Barbara and ends in San Diego. Since I’ve only done the southern half of this route, I’m looking forward to the Santa Barbara to Santa Monica segments.

My contribution, besides raising $2,500 to benefit CalBike, is to offer advice on routing the group through Orange County. See my route map here – I called it “Stay off Coast Hwy”. Debbie Brubaker gave me a call to review my route suggestions.

As you can see, I’m recommending the group get off Coast Hwy — and why not? Who among these statewide bike advocates will know of the extensive off-road trails through Huntington Beach and Irvine? Throw in the Balboa Island ferry and route them along the Back Bay onto the San Diego Creek Trail where they’ll ride without worry — out where it’s quiet at mid-day, suitable for chatting up new friends. This route does turn the Queen Mary to San Clemente segment into a full 55-mile ride, but it’ll be low-stress and mostly flat. Consider coming along for the day.

Help me make it to my fundraising goal — make a donation.



The Wiggle

Posted September 6, 2014 By Frank Peters

It’s a mixed bag, vacationing in San Francisco this week.

On the one hand, there’s excellent bicycle infrastructure, but on the other, it leads to jealousy.

Why can’t we enjoy similar safe bike riding conditions in Newport Beach?

It’s quite a climb up to Golden Gate Park, so we rode The Wiggle, zigzagging our way up to The Haight. It’s safe and amazingly flat!

Like at home, this city is jammed with frantic motorists, but while my wife and I navigate the top tourist spots, everyone’s cool, no horns blow.

I expected fewer cars — what was I thinking? Many streets are busy arterials, like Coast Hwy, MacArthur or Jamboree, but cyclists are accommodated. It’s an inspiration.



Bike Master Plan Finale Tonight!

Posted September 2, 2014 By Frank Peters

Tonight could be the last meeting of the Bicycle Master Plan Committee. Come join this important milestone as the Committee signs-off on the plan, sending it to the City Council.

It’s been a 5-year effort — Councilwoman Nancy Gardner started the process in 2009 with the Bicycle Safety Task Force and over the years the various committees and task forces have identified hundreds of safety opportunities. Most are incorporated in the Master Plan.

See you tonight, Tuesday September 2nd at 5pm in the Community Room at the Civic Center. Come by bike to show your commitment.



Bicycle Licensing On Its Way Out?

Posted August 1, 2014 By Frank Peters

Voice of OC

In yesterday’s Voice of OC Nick Gerda writes:

Local homeless advocate Igmar Rodas was successful Wednesday in fighting a citation he received for riding his bicycle without a bike license, which is a crime in Santa Ana, after a judge said his bike was apparently subjected to an unlawful search.

While Long Beach and Los Angeles have repealed their bike license laws, both Santa Ana and Irvine cling to their bewhiskered regulations, but that could be changing soon.

Yesterday in an email exchange, Santa Ana City Councilwoman Michele Martinez told me she’d be introducing an agenda item during Tuesday’s City Council session:


Read the report

It’s not hard to find critics of bike licensing. The Washington, D.C. based Alliance for Biking and Walking claims licensing backfires:

  • Resulting in Police harassment
  • Deterring new riders, another hassle
  • Costing more to enforce than the license fees generated

That’s why most bike-friendly cities repeal bike licensing laws.

Read the Alliance’s complete report here.

Lend your voice to the discussion: Come to the City Council meeting at 5:45pm Tuesday August 5th at 22 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana.

Then let’s get focused on repealing Irvine’s licensing law.



Walk to the Movies

Posted July 26, 2014 By Frank Peters
A Most Wanted Man

A Friday night double-date to see A Most Wanted Man

Parking’s no problem — not when you walk to the movies.

There’s been a lot of ink spilled over a change to the Newport Beach Land Use Element. Many fret over parking and congestion.

We walk to the movies and avoid both issues.

From Big Corona it’s a two-mile trek each way; it gets the heart pumping. As a bonus, it’s all downhill on the way home.

Walking is good for the environment, good for congestion and good for us, too.

Add a little urban adventure to your weekend plans — walk to the movies.



Memories of Santa Barbara Getaways

Posted July 25, 2014 By Frank Peters
The Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara

The Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara

When your barber tells you it’s time for a vacation, I guess I better listen.

We’ll be off to Oregon shortly, but we needed something quick, car-free and close, so we dashed off to Santa Barbara. Of course we’ve been many times, over 100 times I keep saying, but we’d never stayed at the El Encanto. Not together that is – I remember visiting the hotel about 12 years ago, well before the current remodel, back when I was a dance photographer.


My stay was in the middle of a local performance by Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Group; I had a New York friend dancing in the Group, which is how I met Baryshnikov. I was invited to shoot a few backstage shots and then after the performance pix of Misha with the local insiders. He didn’t like his picture being taken, but he minded less when it was me doing the shooting – we were close in age and he admired my volunteer work at the High School for the Performing Arts in NYC, the Fame School. After this brief time together in Santa Barbara I got an invite to join the group for a 3-week tour of Europe.

Those were the days.

But back to that dance performance 12 years ago… After the photos everyone moved out of the concert hall onto the plaza to mingle – no one wanted to leave. I’ll never forget the press/publicity agent for the theatre, she admired my access to the artist – she tapped me on the shoulder to inquire of my relationship, my credentials. I modestly mumbled something like, “Just a friend,” which didn’t satisfy her apparently. She turned about 2 feet, back to her companion to summarize, “He’s a nobody!”

I love telling that story.

This week’s trip would be less glamorous, although the views from the hotel dining patio were mesmerizing, the service fantastic and the air quality crisp and clean — our ambitions for this trip were derailed as we fell into a relaxation coma.

Before we lost it that first night we had the foresight to reserve the hotel’s electric bikes for the next morning. The elevation is equivalent to Newport Coast, only with a lot more windy roads to get there, so the Pedego eBikes were perfect for zipping around town.

Santa Barbarans are used to cyclists apparently, no one blowing their horns, courtesy at every turn. We stayed out on the bikes so long I kept wondering if there was an implicit time limit. Would 4 hours hogging the bikes be considered rude? It turned out fine. We returned the bikes after an all-morning excursion into Montecito and back, just in time for a little siesta.

Our bungalow retreat

Our bungalow retreat at the El Encanto



Flower Petal Tears

Posted July 21, 2014 By April Morris
Rose petals spread from Laguna Beach to Newport Beach - like tears to remember the fallen.

Rose petals spread from Laguna Beach to Newport Beach – like tears to remember the fallen.

About 400 cyclists assembled in Laguna Beach this morning for the John Colvin and Debra Deem Memorial Ride.

John Colvin's mom addresses the audience.

John Colvin’s mom addresses the audience.

We rode from Laguna Beach, where John died, to Newport Coast Drive where Debra died. Both lost their lives on PCH.

We miss them terribly. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. We need to make our voices heard by City and Caltrans officials. It’s time that every city, including Laguna Beach, recognize they can no longer ignore us. They must incorporate safe streets for cycling into their plans.

Today’s service was gut wrenching, like the Newport Beach Memorial Ride two years ago that launched a movement — a fund and a Bicycle Master Plan. We must do more to make this happen in Laguna Beach.

John’s mom addressed the crowd today. You could feel her pain and loss; she set the tone for the Memorial ride.

Each and every one of us is someone’s neighbor, friend or spouse, sister or brother, son or daughter; we owe it to each other to band together, to work for change — for all of us.

Photos by Brenda Miller.


Laguna Beach Memorial Ride

Posted July 20, 2014 By Frank Peters
In memory of John Colvin and Debra Deem

In memory of John Colvin and Debra Deem

Cyclists from all over Orange County gathered this morning for to honor the memories of John Colvin and Debra Deem, both died riding their bicycles along Coast Hwy in the past year.

Many of this same group attended last Thursday’s Laguna Beach City Council meeting to petition for safer conditions.

Speakers this morning reminded the group that Laguna consistently ranks very poorly in bicycle and pedestrian safety. No one from the City addressed the crowd.



Need More Parking?

Posted July 11, 2014 By Frank Peters

PARKING: Searching for the Good Life in the City from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.



A Good Bicycle Plan Could Be Much Better

Posted July 9, 2014 By Frank Peters

Monday night’s Bicycle Master Plan Committee meeting was contentious.

I’ll admit, my many critical comments added to a stressful meeting. Besides critiquing the Plan, I had 2 items on my personal agenda to discuss:

  1. a 2-block extension of the beach boardwalk, and
  2. the Back Bay Report.


An elegant alternative to extending the boardwalk

An elegant mini-extension of the beach boardwalk

Neither item was deemed suitable for discussion, let alone inclusion in the Plan, even though the boardwalk extension is the most popular post ever here on bikeNewportBeach. Worse, Chairman Petros described the Back Bay Report as “reprehensible”.

Yeah, maybe I see his point — a report that calls for a 90-day trial period to restrict cars on the Back Bay — no, no I don’t see his point! “Reprehensible” isn’t the right word; “experiment” is the term most would attribute to the report’s recommendation.

Either way, I was 0-2 for the night — until today’s Orange County Register where Ethan Hawkes writes, “47 miles of bikeways proposed in plan: $21 million Newport Beach project is still in the early stage, committee says.”

While the Chair is named, I get 2 paragraphs:

Frank Peters, who serves on the committee, said the plan doesn’t describe how the proposed improvements would be completed.
“Eighth-graders could come up with a list of intersections and roadways that need improvements for bicyclists,” Peters said. “The real issue is what are you going to do about it, and that’s not identified in the master plan.”

Snarky, I’ll admit, but not reprehensible.

My fellow committee member and Traffic Engineer Bob Kahn rebuts,

This stage is too early for detailed planning, and specifics would be hashed out once individual projects have been approved

Seeking the last word, I add this comment:

My fellow committee member Kahn is correct, each bike lane design will eventually become more specific, but there’s middle ground. For example, the Huntington Beach Bicycle Master Plan shows 3 possible treatments for bike lanes on Coast Hwy — these simple illustrations stimulate discussion and engage the public as well as their elected officials while everyone can see that improving conditions is best served by removing parking.

You won’t see anything like that in the NB Bike Plan — it’s omitted for political reasons, to keep the public in the dark as to whether parking will be affected, or a travel lane removed – issues that tend to fill the Council chambers with NIMBY residents.

“Trust us,” that should be the byline of the NB Bicycle Master Plan. Since no details are offered we must trust that Public Works will do their best to implement the latest in best practices. But we don’t see any indication of applying best practices to their latest bike lane installation, on Avocado in front of our amazing Civic Center. I call it a nice 1970’s bike lane because cyclists are marginalized to the edges of the road so 4 lanes of cars can zoom. If it’s an indication of their future implementation of this Master Plan cyclists will have little to celebrate.

During the meeting no one mentioned it, but our Alta Planning project manager, Paul Martin, will be departing for a new role as OCTA’s Active Transportation Coordinator – a big step up. Of course this leaves a prime vacancy at Alta, which will attract many applicants and the whole professional bicycle advocacy community waits while everyone plays leap-frog. Our beloved Brad Sommers, who’s been coordinating all our local projects, will someday get an offer he can’t refuse. Then where will we be? Left to the same people in NB Public Works who botched Avocado. That’s why our Bicycle Master Plan needs more specifics.

Committee member John Heffernan asked to call out the very top priorities; he was greeted with deaf ears, too, but the concept of adding some detail to the very topmost issues in bike safety is worthy of a little more effort.

It’s worth fighting for.

One of 3 treatments for PCH in the Huntington Beach Bicycle Master Plan

One of 3 treatments for PCH included in the Huntington Beach Bicycle Master Plan.
Illustrations engage the public and set the stage for a discussion of bike safety versus car parking.