Colorado Boulevard may be a lot more crowded this week.
The schedule is packed. Last night they met in Memorial Park, down the street from KPCC. Wednesday night, the mayor gets on a bike with the rest of the city. On Thursday night, Incycle is offering free bike checks, and the New Belgium Brewing Company will be on hand to offer cyclists one celebratory beer.
And Friday's kind of my favorite. Hop your bike to One Colorado and get in on a free showing of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure: There's a lotta things about me you don't know anything about, Dottie. Things you wouldn't understand. Things you couldn't understand. Things you shouldn't understand. You don't wanna get mixed up with a guy like me. I'm a loner, Dottie. A rebel.
The first roads in the LA Bike Plan have gotten their stripes. At 7th and Alvarado streets this morning, LA city leaders including Counciman Ed Reyes will inaugurate new commuter bike lanes by pedaling into Macarthur Park with other bicyclists.
To be clear, the lanes already exist. Bicycle activists and city leaders will be celebrating the end of the first 2.2 miles of downtown bike lanes for commuters - maybe city workers will actually paint the last of the lanes today (and then blow on the ceremonial painting so that it dries faster, presumably). In the next phase, the City of LA will add nearly 3 miles of bike lanes through downtown to Soto Street in Boyle Heights. Measure R money - LA voters approved a half-cent sales tax 3 years ago for transportation projects - is paying for the paint and the manpower.
The streets of Santa Monica will look pretty different tomorrow morning — filled with hundreds of students getting to school on bicycle. Bike It! Day, an event when Santa Monica students are encouraged to get to school without getting into a car, happens June 1. And the event’s expected to be bigger and greener than ever.
“Its been growing,” says Richard McKinnon, chair of Bike It! Day and a parent at Santa Monica High School. “And every time more kids join from the elementary levels.”
Bike It! Day got its unofficial start about three years ago when Santa Monica High School students organized a bike-to-school event that attracted fewer than 100 participants. About a year later, the event was officially renamed Bike It! Day — and has since grown and expanded to other Santa Monica schools — and other green modes of transportation. The last event in October 2010 got around 3000 kids from 12 schools across Santa Monica and Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District participating by biking, walking, and taking buses to schools. According to McKinnon, more than half the student population at Santa Monica High School participated, with 1600 of the 3000 students opting to travel green, at least for a day.
Bicycle down Santa Monica Boulevard, and your journey will get a sudden jolt when you hit Beverly Hills. Why? This rich town is decidedly bike lane-poor. The marked bike lane — whether you’re coming east from Century City or west from West Hollywood — disappears unceremoniously at Beverly Hills’ borders, leaving cyclists to wend their way through traffic without even a “share the road” sign.
“Beverly Hills has no bike facilities whatsoever,” says Mark Elliot, a longtime Beverly Hills resident and avid cyclist. “And we have very few bike racks, perhaps 15 public bike racks in total around the city. Otherwise, there’s no signage. There are no cycling education programs. There’s really nothing that encourages the importance of active transportation for kids, for adults, for reducing congestion — all the great things we know about cycling.”
Time to dust off that rusty bike in the garage. Bike to Work Week returns next week — and from May 16th – 21st, the city will be spinning in a whirlwind of pedal-friendly events, giveaways, and promotions. Whether a cycling newbie or a bicycling pro, Bike to Work Week has lots of incentives to get you out of the car and on eco-friendlier human-powered two-wheelers. Start by taking advantage of these 10 deals:
1. Get a free lunch and a chance to win a bike and other prizes by starting your Bike to Work Week celebrations a few days early at Compton BikeFest 2011. You can take advantage of a free bike checkup and repair, then listen to music entertainment, watch bike tricks in the bike rodeo and skills area, and take a safety ride with C.I.C.L.E. All that happens Sat., May 14 from 9 am to 1 pm at Gonzales Park, 1101 W. Cressey St., Compton. Pre-register by calling El Nido Family Centers at 310-223-0707 for your free lunch!