Southern California is known for its beautiful weather and, ironically, for its auto-centric development patterns. Why not take advantage of that beautiful weather more, some have argued. And they are actually being listened to, finally,.. in Long Beach at least.
Long Beach is now constructing a network of separate bike paths. The city currently doesn’t have any downtown, but with some transportation experts noting that most people drive there simply because there aren’t other decent options and local city planners identifying that “more than 79 percent of people that work in downtown Long Beach drive to work alone — yet are close enough that pedal power could be a viable alternative,” the city is looking to change that fast.
The separate bike pathways it is constructing will cover two streets and will each go for about one mile in the city’s downtown.
This may not sound like much to anyone who has visited the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, or even Portland, but these bike paths are reportedly the first of their kind in Southern California. Of course, with the beautiful weather there, the common hope and belief amongst cycling and sustainable development advocates is that these catch on like wildfire in L.A. and even the whole SoCal region.
“The Long Beach experience has definitely been, ‘if you build it, they will come,’” says Sumire Gant from the City of Long Beach, who has been the point person on this project. “As we have added bike lanes, sharrows, bike boulevards and bike parking, people of all ages have been finding a good reason to change their route to the new facilities.”
There is good reason to be hopeful that separated bike paths, the most preferred and requested bicycle infrastructure amongst common people, will increase bicycling there considerably as well.
Read more on BikeRadar: Southern California invests in bike paths
Photo Credit: flickr user neighborhoods.org