Master Plan Goes to Council

Posted October 17, 2014 By Frank Peters
Nancy Gardner

Nancy Gardner

It started back in 2009 when Newport Beach Councilwoman Nancy Gardner convened the Bicycle Safety Task Force. She laid the groundwork for what would evolve into the Bicycle Master Plan Committee, chaired by Councilman Petros. The plan goes to the City Council 7pm Tuesday October 28 and it’s likely to enjoy widespread support.

There’s a lot in the plan – read it here – and as it’s implemented over the next few years we’ll see major improvements in safety for cyclists, for all roadway users because studies have shown that improving safety for one class of users benefits everyone.

Make plans now to attend this historic City Council session. Passage of the Master Plan will be a fitting tribute to Gardner as she wraps up 8 years on the Council.

 

     

Garden Grove Open Streets Event

Posted October 12, 2014 By Frank Peters
Car-free streets for walking, biking and dragons

Car-free streets for walking, biking and dragons

Two Open Streets events in 2 weeks here in Orange County — today’s event in Garden Grove was a smashing success!

The route was unique – a mini-grid around the Civic Center and Historic Main Street – it took me awhile to find my way, but there were delights tucked away along many sections of the route.

CicLAvia's Aaron Paley lent his considerable experience to the event

CicLAvia’s Aaron Paley lent his considerable experience to the event

Free of cars, like all the similar Los Angeles events, Garden Grove Open Streets came just a week after Santa Ana’s SoMoS, the first cyclovia in Orange County.

Pick up a piece of chalk...

Everyone had something to say — pick up a piece of chalk…

Dancing to Michael Jackson tunes

Dancing to Michael Jackson tunes

Could we host a cyclovia for ourselves? What would car-free streets in Newport Beach look like? Where would we stage it? What would we showcase?

 

     

Yes For Density: Yes On Y

Posted October 9, 2014 By Frank Peters
Y so much interest

Y so much interest? — A big turnout at the Civic Center last night

It was standing room only at the Civic Center last night as Speak-Up Newport hosted a debate on Measure Y.

The turnout surprised everyone; the No on Y folks ran out of handouts.

My wife and I wanted to hear the details. Besides bicycle advocacy, the beach fire rings have made us more politically aware, so this election year we’ve participated more than any other time. We’re late bloomers.

We were also the only ones to arrive by bike, but that’s not surprising here in Newport Beach where people love their cars.

That’s part of the concern over Measure Y – many are afraid that increased development at Newport Center will bring more traffic and the bygone, halcyon days of carefree driving around Corona del Mar will become a distant memory.

That’s one possible outcome, of course, but even more likely, Measure Y will be a baby step towards less congestion. How can that be?

Now I’m no spokesperson for or against Measure Y, but I have lived and worked in New York City where people would be amazed at our provincial concerns over a higher density future. No one drives a car in NYC because there’s no place to park and besides, you can walk, take the subway, or hop on a Citibike to get where you’re going. That works because of density. Elevators, it turns out, are a great way to move people, so living vertically makes sense.

If you haven’t been to NYC and have lived here your whole life then I can understand your doubts. We live in one of the great sprawl capitals of the world and none of it can work right without lots of cars. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Density offers new lifestyles, ones that appeal to today’s Millennials – they’d prefer to walk their neighborhoods and bike to work. Prior generations loved the idea of suburban life, but the increasing commute time on traffic choked streets has been buzz-kill for that lifestyle. Increasingly we’re all waking up to the fact that time spent in the car leads to obesity and heart disease. Walking and biking are the antidote and density makes it all work.

A post-Measure Y Fashion Island with high-rise residential will add opportunities for shopping and entertainment to those who want to walk or bike to work. In my case, I’m intrigued with a more urban lifestyle in retirement. The single family home is a little isolating, not to mention, too much to keep up with. I’d gladly trade my lovely view with 3,000 square feet for a similarly dramatic high-rise view and 1,300 sq ft. – in a heart beat. So long as there’s lots of bicycle parking, that is.

I’m voting Yes on Y.

at the Civic Center last night

at the Civic Center last night

 

     

SoMoS: Santa Ana Energy Looking for Somewhere to Ride

Posted October 7, 2014 By David Huntsman
Energy

Energy

I saw a lot at the City of Santa Ana’s inaugural SoMoS “no cars” Ciclovia-style event on its three miles of Main Street last Sunday. People walking, skating, big wheeling and riding bikes. Experiencing the street as streets were experienced for centuries, before the invasion of cars. It was a hot, but wonderful day.

It was as I left for my bike ride back to the coast that I saw the small crowd of young people standing proudly with their bikes. Fast bikes, fixed-gear and single speed, and some bike racing clothing.

It was the image of the day for me. If I had to guess what was going on I’d say these kids enjoyed their time at SoMoS, but now, as it ends, are asking, “Now what?”

4pm on a Sunday is awfully early to call it a day when you have something as stimulating as a Ciclovia under your belt.

 

     

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?

IMG_0942-0.JPG
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:

85A. DISCUSSION OF BICYCLE REGISTRATION AND TICKETING POLICY (SANTA ANA MUNICIPAL CODE SECTION 10‐196 THROUGH 10‐209) – (Councilmember Martinez)

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.

DSC_1918

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