No offense, but I dread visiting Laguna Beach in the summer, too much traffic!
The Newport pier in August is no better — you better come by bike or else you’ll be circling the neighborhood looking for a parking place instead of spreading out your towel on the sand.
You know what I’m talking about — there are just too many cars at our most popular beaches in the summer, but who can blame them for making the trip? It’s gorgeous in Newport Beach almost all year long, so how do we accommodate the crowds?
If more people came to the beach by bike there’d be less congestion. We’d all enjoy a healthier environment and the cyclists would benefit from the exercise. Sounds like an idea with a lot of merit.
That’s just one of the ideas we kicked around with Brenda Miller today. She’s a League Cycling Instructor (LCI), as certified by the League of American Bicyclists; she’s a well spoken and knowledgeable bicycle advocate, too, so when I heard of her pending trip to the Central Library this week, I invited a few friends to join us for coffee. The bikeNewportBeach gang showed up to listen.
“Focus on economic development,” was one pearl from Brenda; “You’ll get the merchants behind you.”
She’s rght; when all the parking places are full, an economic plateau is reached.
The City is on a revitalization kick which sometimes seems like welfare for well connected developers, but the goal is to improve under-performing neighborhoods. How can the City bring more impact to these communities? By improving pedestrian spaces, as is planned for Corona del Mar, and offering transportation alternatives to cars.
Things started to click. I remembered Bike Safety Committee member John Heffernan commenting at last month’s meeting, “We’ve got to concentrate on corridors.” Brenda jumped on that idea and coined “Safe Routes to the Beach”, similar to the national advocacy programs for Safe Routes to Schools; “It’s politically unassailable, so you’ll get the support you need.”
If you start thinking of Safe Routes to the Beach, just what are the corridors we’re talking about?
Coast Hwy jumps to the top of everyone’s list, but there’s extra red-tape involved because it’s controlled by Caltrans. “How about the peninsula? The Back Bay loop?” The ideas started flowing.
Come to the next Bike Safety Meeting at 4:30pm on Monday January 9th at the Oasis Senior Center. Help us work out the issues as we propose Safe Routes to the Beach.