School Bicycle Rodeos promote love of bikes

anaheimbikesafetyposter

EDITORIAL

For the Veggie Biker and many an older California sprocket jockey, Bicycle Rodeos at our elementary schools are how we learned to use bicycles for everyday getting about.

The Veggie Biker’s wife, who was educated in Missouri, still remembers Robert Louis Stevenson–Right, Left, Stop. However, our children, educated in Oklahoma, had no bicycle rodeos–or any other training. They learned bicycling astride a 16-inch bike pointed downhill with dear old dad puffing alongside. They have bikes, but do not use them for daily transportation.

Education through Bicycle Rodeos not only promotes bicycle safety, it promotes love of bicycles.

We can do something about this. With the new emphasis on active transportation–bikes, buses, trains and sneakers–we can add the bicycle rodeo to our school’s curriculum and the city’s active transportation program.

The U.S. government-sponsored program is already in place. We just need to promote it locally. We just need to volunteer.

 

O.C. Bicyclists meeting Wednesday to lobby Fullerton

Fullerton Sharrow LogoFrom Vince Buck, North Orange County Bicycle Advocacy Coalition (NOCBAC)

North Orange County Bicycle Advocacy Coalition members are tentatively scheduled to meet on Wednesday, March 12, to plan their presentations of bicycle issues to the Fullerton City Council March 18.

NOCBAC will meet in Davis Barber’s office at 7 p.m. on the top floor of Villa Del Sol, 305 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton. Pizza will appear (contributions appreciated), but it is BYOB.

The Fullerton City Council will hear a report on bicycle issues in Fullerton at their March  18 meeting. This is a good opportunity to address the council of one’s concerns. There is the feeling that the city is currently  at a standstill in spite of a potentially supportive council. A good  turnout of articulate advocates (e.g. you) is  important. It is important bikers who have never appeared before the council come so the Council does not view the usual suspects.

The following is a rough draft of a letter Buck Vince hopes to send to the city council. These issues and any others members believe are important will be discussed at the NOCBAC meeting. The idea is to create a list of three to four items to emphasize.

Vince Buck’s rough draft of his letter. He invites bicyclists to contact him to add projects to this list.

First, staffing. Recently our mobility coordinator, who served as staff to the City of Fullerton Bicycle Users’ Subcommittee and who was responsible for bicycle developments, left for a position in Riverside. Currently that position remains unfilled.  I would like to see that position occupied by someone who is committed to moving bicycle policy and infrastructure forward; and who will be listened to.

octalogo2I am also concerned that in the past few years we  have missed out on a number of funding opportunities. Orange County Transportation Authority  distributed over $15 million to 30 different projects county-wide in the last two cycles. Only one applicant was unfunded and some money was left on the table.

Brea, La Habra and Anaheim all were successful applicants. Brea has received nearly $8 million for a single project from a variety of sources including OCTA. Costa Mesa received approximately $2.25 million from OCTA for five projects including trails, bike racks, a signal and educational efforts. Even though it was known that much of OCTA funding in the 2012 cycle was earmarked for the 4th supervisorial district (because a “connectivity study” had recently  be concluded here) Fullerton did not apply for any of this money.

In fact Fullerton did not apply in either year. And another year is approaching. We need a knowledgeable person to write grants.

In addition to staffing and funding, I would like to see action on the following:

  • Wilshire bike boulevard. There is strong neighborhood support for this but little forward movement. We have obtained a planning grant, but this will take time to complete and the project could easily and inexpensively  be started on a trial basis. Several residents of this neighborhood have asked me when the proposed bike boulevard will be put in place. This and similar routes are critical to the success of the bike sharing program.
  • St. Jude/Rolling Hills Class I bikeway link. This link has been on our bikeways plan for some time and will connect Valencia Mesa/Youth Way to Rolling Hills. It is a critical part of our north Fullerton bikeway network and it is essential that this be included in the Bastanchury widening project. This should be a prime candidate for an OCTA grant.
  • Brea Creek/ Malvern Class I Route along the flood control channel from  Basque to the city line. This is a project that has the support of County Flood Control but the ball is in the city’s court. This is another link in the Valencia Mesa/Rolling Hills route that would extend across the entire city.
  • Courtesy http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/sharrows.htm

    Courtesy http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/sharrows.htm

    Sharrows (see attachment). Sharrows are used on bicycle routes where there is not sufficient room to install a Class II route.  They are now  widely used throughout the world. Locally, I have seen sharrows in Long Beach, Newport Beach, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Diego. Jay Eastman drew up a draft policy for Fullerton, and the BUSC has discussed specific locations with Mark Miller. Sharrows are low cost and have a high impact. We need staffing  to move this forward.

  • Signage. There are Class III routes that have been on the plan for decades for which no signage has been installed . Also signs are missing on previously signed routes, such as Valencia Mesa and Wilshire. Jay Eastman reported to the BUSC that it would cost $3000 to replace those signs but that a line item was needed to fund that.

The above is a compendium of low-cost and high cost items.  We can and should move forward with the high visibility low cost items and apply for grants for the more expensive items.  I would also encourage the city to start thinking about the possibility of a bicycle pedestrian bridge over the  57 freeway at Madison, which is on the bicycle plan (which will relieve some of the growth pressure on the CollegeTown neighborhoods),  and the bicycle route along the UP right of way; but these are not as immediate as the above mentioned items.

There are individuals in important positions who can help (e.g. Shawn Nelson, Sharon Quirk-Silva). And I believe  that our council is the most supportive we have ever had in Fullerton, but it needs to make clear that safe bicycling is a priority.

Vast leaps forward are taking place in other cities across the nation from Long Beach to New York City . We need to join this movement and make our city more livable, more energy efficient and a more desirable place to live.

Bicyclists are dying for OCTA public education

Freeway entrances are feared by bicyclists as California Transportation Authority  engineers replace bike lanes with acceleration lanes. It is an ugly conflict zome between car and bike.

Freeway entrances are feared by bicyclists as California Transportation Authority engineers replace bike lanes with acceleration lanes. It is an ugly conflict zone between car and bike.

Editorial

It was ugly.

The high-dollar, black sedan pulled up behind me. The driver laid on his horn scaring me and causing me to swerve. The car then swooped to my left and up next to me. He rolled down the window and began shouting, “Get off the road! Bicycles don’t belong here. There’s no bike lane here!???

I yelled back. “You’re wrong. You’re supposed to wait until I get by. You don’t know the law.???

 It got uglier.

We were in the north-bound entrance to Interstate 5. I was churning up the overpass and he was trying to enter the freeway. Most bicyclists fear freeway ramps where CalTrans just abandons us in a no-man’s land of accelerating cars.

Finally, he hit the gas, cut hard right in front of my bike and zoomed down the freeway ramp.

That was the second incident between a bicyclist and a car during my ride to work today. A bicyclist was riding properly on the right side of Commonwealth in Fullerton. He changed lanes safely, crossing traffic and entering the center, left-hand turn lane. He was turning into a strip mall.

A car behind him just had to honk at him for no reason.

Potentially Fatal Failure to Communicate

What we have here in Orange County is a potentially fatal failure to communicate.

octalogo2My Orange County Transportation Authority representative, Gail Eastman, asked this Veggie Biker to write a letter about the problems he observes commuting about Orange County. But, I also need a blog post this week to keep up my “Likes,??? so I am writing the letter as a post.

I have received similar (but not as violent) abuse from drivers of all descriptions. And I have observed bicyclists of all descriptions doing totally stupid things.

Most people, like the man today, appear to think bicycles should only be in bike lanes or, if there are no lanes, on the sidewalk.  Few bicyclists are aware that one must ride with traffic—even on the sidewalk. Few bicyclists,  and certainly no drivers, are aware several cities ban riding on sidewalks. And few pedestrians on a sidewalk want to get hit by a bike averaging 17 miles per hour.

But wait! There’s more! Bicyclists text while riding, nearly running into other bikers. I have seen this not just once, but several times.

And few if any drivers know they should check for bikes when opening car doors. Twice I’ve had drivers just stand there, zombie-like, unable to understand why I should be upset they almost “car-doored??? me.

And I was car-doored by a truck that stopped in the left lane, and the passenger jumped out into the bike lane. He hit the door. I didn’t.

Drivers and Bicyclists Never Trained

I believe much of the stupidity comes from the fact the California drivers’ test has only two bicycle questions, none relevant to anything above.

OCTA has a legal obligation to teach Orange County drivers and bikers California laws. The campaign has to be in English and Spanish. Most bicyclists with whom I commute appear to be poor immigrants.

I suggest the rear of every OCTA bus should have large posters that cars can read. “Yes, bicyclists can do this!??? The posters would show bicyclists riding properly in the street or making left-hand turns, as examples.

The right  sides of busses should be devoted to messages for bicyclists. (I do understand, that ad revenue pays many of the bills.)

As I noted in another post, riding in the older cities of North Orange County is just a series of missed opportunities to die. (I could not believe when I rode through Irvine Friday just how nice urban biking can be with a choice of trails and really wide bike lanes.)

Last Mile & Last Minute

Our OCTA representatives, including Ms. Eastman, are very concerned about the last mile problem. How do people (and Orange County is getting older every year) get from the train station and bus stops to their final destinations?

I suggest Marshrutkas. These yellow mini-busses zip around Ukrainian towns following a set route, but not set times. They can stop anywhere to get as close to anyone’s apartment as possible. It’s a “swarm??? of public transportation. Forget the big hogs that flex in the middle; Give people little busses that totally flex. (Using bicycles to haul supplies, instead of using large trucks, is how General Giap won the Vietnam War.)

The Metrolink gets better every day. I no longer drive to Los Angeles in the mornings. But it is the devil to go from North County to South County in the mornings—or to go anywhere in the middle of the day.

We need more trains going opposite directions at more times.

My wife retired because she no longer wanted to waste up to four hours of her life each day in the Orange Crush. She needed a train that left Fullerton at 6 a.m. and arrived in Tustin by 6:45 a.m. She could easily walk the two miles to her office—plus earn exercise points. She worked a 10-hour day, four days a week. But the trains stopped running northward before she could walk back to the station at night. And, as in North County, South County busses, are much slower than just walking or biking.

Our OCTA representatives are caught in a chicken-and-egg quandary. We voters must get on board the entire concept of mass transport, not just a bus or train.

I can’t solve this one. But I believe I can solve the problem of public ignorance about bicycling. Let’s just do it!

Road killings are going to happen

This Public Education program cannot wait until next year. People are dying for it. Really, It’s getting ugly out here.

white bike

The number of white bicycles often placed at the site of bicycle deaths could be reduced with an Orange County Transportation Authority bicycle rights and responsibilities campaign for drivers and bicyclists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bicyclists advocate Complete Streets, not Traffic Sewers

An O.C. bicyclist gives directions to new users of the Metrolink Ticket Kiosk

An O.C. bicyclist gives directions to new users of the Metrolink Ticket Kiosk

Only nine out of 90 people surveyed at the University of California Irvine Active Transportation Forum Oct. 17 raised hands to indicate they believe bicycling is safe in Orange County.

Host, Barry Ross, chairman, Alliance for a Healthy Orange County, told the audience of many suits, fewer blue jeans—and about three bike helmets, “That’s why we are here.???

Some 200 politicians, government professionals, and pushy political activists eventually attended during the all-day forum. They want the California Car Culture to make room for walking and bicycling. Conversations were punctuated by such terms as “Complete Streets,??? “multimodal,??? intermodal,??? “last mile,??? “political will,??? and “wellness corridors.???

IT’S THE LAW

Complete Streets is not just a concept. Assembly Bill 1356, the Complete Streets Act, is a 2008 law.

In English, beginning January 2011, AB 1356 requires any local California government to write transportation plans that make sure all people can get to where they are going as easily as drivers of trucks and cars, whether they walk, bicycle, or use public transportation.

AB 1356 targets “pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation.???

Governor Jerry Brown signed a second law Sept. 25, 2013. Senate Bill 99, the Active Transportation Act. consolidates funding of the Bicycle Transportation Account (BTA), the Recreation Trails Program (RTP), The Environmental Mitigation Program (EEM) and Safe Routes. It creates a single Active Transportation Program to promote bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, reads the analysis by California Parks and Recreation Society.

Among the citizens AB 1356 and SB 99 want to help are kids who cannot walk to school safely. Rye Baerg, Safe Routes to School, said 15 percent of urban congestion is parents dropping kids at schools. Pollution and congestion measurably drop when schools are out.

SIDEWALKS AND PAINT, OH, MY!

Baerg said Complete Streets projects begin with widening sidewalks, removing poles in the middle of the sidewalks and creating better street markings. He cited the city of Lancaster as a Complete Streets project. In the downtown and nearby neighborhoods, there are no stoplights, no stop signs. The design of streets psychologically encourages drivers to slow down.

On the other hand, Rock Miller, Stantec, said, Costa Mesa is a place where Complete Streets occurred by accident,. Stantec is an urban planning company with over 200 locations across the United States. Costa Mesa has the highest rate of bicycle commuters in all Orange County—2.8 percent. Costa Mesa never had a bicycle campaign. Its historic infrastructure encourages growth of bike use.

Currently, Miller said Irvine, like most Orange County communities, requires Miller to drive a car just to go from his Irvine office on one side of a boulevard to the Starbucks on the other side.

When 60 percent of people in a community believe bicycling is safe, Miller said, the community will develop a bicycle culture. Sharrow lanes, marked by the bike-and-chevron logos, encourage bicyclists to ride in the center of traffic lanes. It is shown sharrows change driver behavior almost immediately for the better without a public education campaign.

More bicycles do not equal more accidents; Just the opposite. However, he said, in public meetings, 30 percent of the public consistently oppose complete street designs by citing the worst-case accidents that have occurred in the current, poorly-designed environment.

Bikes compete with cars’ efficiency for up to 3 miles of travel. However, Miller said, data is only available for commuting. No one has measured recreational bicycling.

He said complete-street design even makes for better storm water management.

SETTING A POLITICAL AGENDA

A Fullerton street construction zone includes signs warning drivers to share the road.

A Fullerton street construction zone includes signs warning drivers to share the road.

But it all takes political will within a community.

KidWorks in Santa Ana is starting with the children, Ava Steaffens said. KidsWorks organizes CycLavia-like events in Santa Ana in which, for an evening, streets are closed and children and adults can ride freely. It is creating an understanding of what a bicycle-based lifestyle could be. KidsWorks also has workshops on bike repair and safety.

Latino Health Access  is addressing obesity in Santa Ana by creating walking and biking exercise programs. Gloria Giraldo said not only does California have freeways without people, but it has city streets without people. Her group is using a model from Guadalajara, Mexico, which was influenced by the City of Bogota, Colombia. The Veggie Biker observed how Bogota closes major streets on Sundays. Then residents fill the streets with bicycles in what is probably the original CycLavia.

Latino Health Access hopes to turn neighborhoods into wellness corridors using the Complete Streets program.

Giraldo said 25 percent of Active Transportation funds must go to disadvantaged neighborhoods. Economic development maps are used to identify these areas. Giraldo said there is much work to be done in SoCal. “Biking to work is seen in The O.C as what poor people do.??? She sees the political agenda being set with one citizen at a time, one street at a time.

HEALTH PLUS WEALTH

Complete Streets improves the health of everyone, said Baerg. Curb extensions reduced pedestrian injuries by 44 percent in New York City. Walkers and bikers have fewer sick days. Businesses make even more money because walkers and bikers spend more money in local stories.

CHANGE CULTURE OR LOSE COMPANIES

Complete Streets “is a complete culture change. Engineers are used to old ways,??? Baerg said. They are dedicated to traffic flow, not transportation of people. For example, they resist pedestrian buttons that stop traffic immediately when pushed.

And city governments and their electorate are equally resistant. They make emotional decisions and then look for the facts to support the decisions, said Charles Gandy, Livable Communities. The Austin native, who has moved to Long Beach to work on the Long Beach Active Transportation Project, said there are three kinds of cities: Bell Weather, Band Wagon and Backwater.

Cities wanting to develop economically are competing internationally with Bell Weather cities such as Austin, Denver and, yes, Groningen, The Netherlands. Band Wagon cities that just imitate some ideas are in danger of becoming Backwater cities.

He noted young workers are not interested in driving. Cities must focus on serving them. “Long Beach is not boutique city,??? Gandy said, but it is considered a Bell Weather city because it serves young workers.

Companies are leaving Orange County, Gandy said, because young, skilled workers don’t want o work in  car-centric O.C.

There are other benefits to being a Bell Weather. Just by separating bicycles from cars, Long Beach cut car crashes 50 percent.

Pauline chow, Safe Routes to School, said safer streets are not just nice. Twenty-five percent of traffic deaths and 10 percent of traffic injuries are to bicyclists and pedestrians, people who make only 16 percent of the trips.

SUCCESS WORRIES OCTA

The Orange County Transportation Authority  is worrying over success, said Charlie Larwood. By embracing Active Transportation, there is an increase in bicyclists using buses and trains. There is a shortage of bike racks on busses. Twenty-five percent of people riding the busses bicycle the last mile to their destinations. Larwood said OCTA is trying to add secure bicycle racks at bus stops.

Passengers just off the Metrolink train finds busses waiting for them, including those with bike racks, which are becoming in short supply as more bike and bus.

Passengers just off the Metrolink train finds busses waiting for them, including those with bike racks, which are becoming in short supply as more bike and bus.

Even more critical is the statement by a panelist that in a decade, 20 percent of Orange County residents will be over 65 years of age. OCTA speakers said they are very concerned how these less-active citizens, who may no longer drive, get from their homes to the busses and Metrolink.

OCTA is also backing a proposal to add bike lanes in front of all schools and reducing the car lanes to one in each direction. OCTA wants to make children walking and riding bikes to school more attractive than parents driving.

Pamela Galera, Anaheim city planner, said the city’s goal is to reduce driving inside the city by 120,000 miles per day. And reducing school drop-offs will help make the goal reachable.

REDESIGNING TRAFFIC SEWERS

“We are not going to build any more freeways in this area,??? Hasan Ikhrata, Southern California Association of Governments, said. “That’s over.???

But the car is not going away, either, another panelist said.

Frank Peters, bicycle advocate and publisher of CDM Cyclist, denounced “traffic sewers??? such as the Pacific Coast Highway. Designed by 1950s traffic engineers just to move cars, it now must be redesigned as a complete street.

Creating political will for Complete Streets and Active Transportation is a hard challenge, said Los Angeles Bike Coalition executive director, Jennifer Klausner. Every time a project crosses a political boundary, cities fight over the details.

But equally challenging, Klausner said, is “bicycle tribalism. They don’t talk to each other. They want different things.???

Ross said he dreams of a Second Annual Active Transportation Forum in 2014. It appears Orange County politicians and advocates will probably need it to sort out a healthy future.

 

Future Fullerton Bikeshare memberships available

2013_8_Rideshare_BikeLink_MembershipW

OCTA has announced a new bike sharing program for Fullerton.

Basically, you rent a bike, ride it to the next rental station, and leave it. It has been proven effective in such large cities as Denver and Washington, D.C.

The are many questions that are not answered in this poster or the website. Here are some of the answers from OCTA BikeLink and other sources you need to understand the potential value of BikeLink in your life.

  1. There are said to be 10 stations initially planned in Fullerton: Fullerton Train Station, Fullerton City Hall Complex, Cal State Fullerton,  Fullerton College and College Plaza Shopping Center. But that’s only five stations on the list; and the map only shows eight stations.
  2. During the two-year pilot program, BikeLink bikes will operate only within the city of Fullerton.
  3. Meanwhile, Bike Nation, a Tustin-based company, which is the company it appears is installing the bikes in Fullerton (it is never stated clearly), has installed 10 kiosks and 100 bikes in Anaheim. Initial reviews from Veggie Biking audience members say that system is less than satisfactory.
  4. BikeNation’s 4,000-bike Los Angeles bike sharing program is reported by the Los Angeles Times to be on hold until a financial backer or an advertising program can be found to augment the program’s, rental fees.
  5. There is no mention of reciprocity between the Fullerton and Anaheim systems. So you cannot, it appears, take bikes from one city to the other, a natural thing for college students to do.
  6. You can buy a one-day or seven-day Fullerton Bikelink Access Pass* from any OCTA BikeLink station. It appears you must use a credit card for this, as a $100 refundable deposit is placed on the card every time you rent a bike. Can you charge a trip using your smartphone as in Washington, D.C., or do you have to use the Kiosk?
  7. A BikeLink Access Pass ranges from $5 for a one-day Pass to $12 for a seven-day pass.
  8. The first 30 minutes of riding on every trip is free.
  9. If your trip is longer than 30 minutes you will be charged overtime fees (see pricing).
  10. Or you can buy an annual pass which gives you an annual membership card with which you can simply tap the kiosk and remove a bicycle.
  11. Annual memberships are available for purchase online.
  12. If there are no empty docks, go to the kiosk, swipe your credit card and you will receive a 15-minute credit. You will then be directed to the nearest station with empty docks. (Do you get a free bus pass to get back to where you wanted to be?)
  13. You can check the BikeLink station map online prior to your ride for real-time information such as available docks and bikes.
  14. However, there is no mention of using the smartphone Spotcycle app which gives information for over 40 cities world wide, including Long Beach.
  15. The bicycles have easy adjusting seat posts with calibration marks to ensure the right seat height for you every ride. The bicycles also have step-thru frames for ease of use and low center of gravity.
  16. The BikeLink bicycle utilizes airless tires and chainless shaft-driven drivetrain.
  17. All the bicycles have baskets in the front for your personal belongings.
  18. DO NOT ABANDON YOUR CHECKED-OUT BICYCLE IF IT DOESN’T WORK!, warns OCTA. It remains your responsibility until properly returned. Return and lock it at the dock and push the red mechanics button on the dock.You can return the bike at any of the stations located in the city of Fullerton. Simply put the bike into any available dock, wait for the green light to blink to make sure it locks and you are done until your next ride. (Is there a pick-up service such as the bike rental shops provide?)
  19. Call the OCTA Bikelink 24-hour Customer Service Center at 800.980.7942 if you have any questions.

OCTA asks you share this information a friend or associate. If you want questions answered in person, you can bike to the Orange County Transportation Authority, 550 S. Main St., Orange, CA, 92863-1584.

Places We Like: Anaheim Brewery adds Bicycle Parking, Delivery

 

anaheimbrewerybikedelivery

The Anaheim Brewery is embracing bicycling officially.

Of course, you could always ride up to the brewery, lock your bike to the rail that surrounds the outside dining area, and buy a brew. But now, they have real bicycle racks and bicycle delivery, according to Kevin Kidney, vice president of the Anaheim Historical Society. The society is a big mover in making Old Anaheim and the Colony area “cool.”

The Veggie Biker is tempted to call into the brewery and ask for bicycle delivery to Fullerton; but maybe that’s asking too much for a waiter on a beach cruiser. But it’s another place to which you can pedal–even from Fullerton–and enjoy a relaxing moment.

anaheimbrewerybikeracks

The brewery site reads:

“Welcome to the Anaheim Brewery! We’re a 140-year old company that just opened. That’s right! The first Anaheim Brewery opened in 1870 in downtown Anaheim. We took a 90 year break after National Prohibition closed the taps in 1920.

“Today, the home of the Anaheim Brewery is the Packard Building, a 1920s structure within the city’s Historic District.

“Stop by our Tasting Room and enjoy a glass of “Famous Anaheim Beer!???
336 S. Anaheim Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92805

Hours:
Tuesday 5 – 9 pm
Wednesday 5 – 9 pm
Thursday 5 – 9 pm
Friday 4 – 9 pm
Saturday 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday 11 am – 6 pm

anaheimbrewerymap