I’ve been on a local history kick lately, so it didn’t take me long before I’ve rediscovered the Lido Village Bookstore where they have everything I need.
Almost everything that is; I had to wait a week for Grady to order me a copy of Newport Beach 75, the ‘official’ history of Newport Beach’s first 75 years. It arrived yesterday, so today it was my excuse to ride to the peninsula.
Last week when I heard there was a copy of Judge Robert Gardner’s Bawdy Balboa I made my first round trip to this Lido treasure. Since that time of day, 4pm on a Saturday, I knew traffic would be heavy for a ride on Coast Hwy through Mariner’s Mile, I decided to cheat.
Some might say riding the electric bike is cheating, but I had something else in mind. May I blame it on Judge Gardner? Reading the first few chapters would tempt anyone to cut corners for the sake of a little mischief: I rode on the sidewalk from Bayside Drive to Newport Blvd. Some stretches along the sidewalk are legal, other sections not quite. I absolved myself with unending head chatter, “This way I don’t have to cross Coast Hwy,” and “I’m safer because I’m not in traffic.” As I pedaled along I inconvenienced very few pedestrians — I was extra polite to salve my conscience, stopping the bike to let others pass.
As I’m zipping along against traffic safely on the sidewalk, I’m starting to wonder, why don’t I ride this way all the time? I was totally relaxed, if a little guilty, but I knew I was safe in a hazardous part of the city. Conveniently, as I neared Newport Blvd the sidewalk widens and I was able to legitimately roll up and around into Lido Village. It worked so well, I took the same route in reverse on the way home.
As I find myself again this Saturday with a trip to Lido ahead of me, I’m justifying taking the same sidewalk route. My memories of the week gone by remind me of a car trip with my son through Mariner’s Mile — as it gets to the very complicated intersection with Newport Blvd I tell him,
Even if I had a magic wand I don’t know what to do to make this intersection safer for bicyclists.
Then it occurs to me, why not legitimize the sidewalk route along the southern, water-facing side of Coast Hwy?
Make the sidewalk wider — it needs it in several places, but there are many fewer driveways on this side of the Hwy and the ramp up onto Lido at Newport Blvd places cyclists exactly where many of them want to be.
Why not create a 2-way separated bike path along this side of Coast Hwy?