Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bike The Bay, Ride Over Coronado Bridge: Sunday, Aug. 30

The 2nd annual Bike The Bay ride, organized by the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, is to take place on Sunday, August 30, 2009.

The San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a California highway segment which discriminates against pedestrians and cyclists by functioning as a public resource exclusively available to automobiles for 24 hours a day, 364 days a year, will be open for participating cyclists on the morning of Aug. 30.

Come out and help make history by participating in the most sustainable moment in the history of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. A portion of the bridge will be closed off from Greenhouse-Gas-emitting-motorists to allow for zero-emissions-cyclists to enjoy a peaceful, one-of-kind view from atop the San Diego-Coronado bridge, locally known as the "Coronado Bridge."

Unfortunately, bicyclist's access to the public highway will not be free this coming Sunday--as it should be every day of the year, like other great public bridges in America.

Fortunately, however, the $ required to participate in the ride will be donated to San Diego's desperately needed Bicycle Coalition. SDCBC--SD's non-profit "go-to" bike advocacy group which works w/ cities throughout the county to improve bicycling awareness and conditions--organized this Sunday's event. To participate, SDCBC is charging $50 for members or $55 for non-members. All $ go to SDCBC to fund efforts to improve bicycling in San Diego county.

SDCBC has been working tirelessly for a few years to encourage the City of San Diego to re-pave Harbor Drive, an essential route for South Bay and San Diego area bicyclists and bicycle commuters. Harbor Drive is also a route which Bike The Bay utilizes to connect the above-mentioned areas. With that said, SDCBC further increased efforts to encourage the City of San Diego to re-pave Harbor Drive in time for Bike The Bay. Unfortunately, the City of San Diego informed SDCBC only last week that re-paving was an official "no go." The city explained to SDCBC that because a re-piping job at Harbor Drive is planned to take place in 2011, the city will not re-pave Harbor Drive any time before 2011.

Special note to Bike The Bay participants!: Beware of pot-holes and other unsafe, uneven surfaces which may throw you from your bicycle this Sunday!

Special note to bicyclists who utilize Harbor Drive on a normal basis for recreational and or commuting purposes!: Beware of pot-holes and other unsafe, uneven surfaces which may throw you from your bicycle everyday!

Upon arriving into Coronado, the ride will make its way down to the world-class Silver Strand bicycle path; one of the few separated bicycle paths in San Diego county.

The 25-mile ride will make use of a new bicycle path section near Imperial Beach, which opened on April 18, 2009.
As a cyclist raised in South Bay, I am extremely happy that this excellent new resource exists. The most dreaded part about the Bayshore Bikeway, before this new path existed, was riding down Palm Ave. Palm Ave is one of the least bicycle-friendly roads in the entire county.

The new bicycle path section allows for cyclists to utilize the Bayshore Bikeway more safely while avoiding the highly-dangerous Palm Ave connection in Imperial Beach. Palm Avenue (my stomping grounds while growing up in South Bay) is an 8-lane fast-food wasteland, with dozens of driveways (which allow motorists to literally drive on top of sidewalks designed for pedestrians) to access strip malls and a plethora of drive-thrus, like the Palm Ave Mc Donald's pictured here.

(I'd like to offer a mid-blog "Thank You!" to everyone involved with moving this new bicycle path forward. Special thanks to one of SD's most-effective bicycle advocates, Stephan Vance, SANDAG Senior Regional Planner and Project Manager for the new path section. Thank you, Stephan, for being one of the few urban planners in San Diego to actually a ride bicycle as a primary mode of commute).

For more info on the new Bayshore Bikeway path, visit the following addy:

Don't worry all you history buffs, I haven't forgotten about you. Along the Bayshore Bikeway keep your eyes out for old rail tracks. Over 100 years ago--as far back as the mid 1880s, to be exact--San Diegans utilized a comprehensive electric streetcar system to ride all over our city. Electric trolleys served Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Downtown, Bankers Hill, Hillcrest, North Park, Normal Heights, Kensington, Talmadge, City Heights, South Park, Barrio Logan, Sherman Heights, South East San Diego, National City, Imperial Beach, and even Coronado during the late 1880s-1940s! ('But where did all the electric streetcars go?' you may ask. Stay blogged for a far more comprehensive telling of the history of San Diego's electric streetcar system and the history of SD's automobile dependency, featured in the near future exclusively available here at Bic Control. I explored this subject in academia in a senior Urban Studies & Planning (USP) course called History of San Diego, as a Sociology and USP undergrad (turned alumni) at the University of California, San Diego. A blog-appropriate rendition of my research, along with photos of the streetcars, will be offered here).

You can thank the San Diego Historical Society for this image of an electric streetcar passing through Imperial Beach, the current site of the Bayshore Bikeway, sometime around 1913:

Bike The Bay will end at the Embarcadero near downtown San Diego. For more info, visit the SDCBC website:

For those that can't make the event this Sunday, the only time you will be to ride over the bridge will most likely be next year at the 3rd annual Bike The Bay. Another option for accessing Coronado is to ride the ferry which normally costs $3 (or ride the bus which now costs $2.25). Yet, if you drive into Coronado over the bridge, it's free. Coronado residents often complain (and rightfully so) about automobile traffic in their community wearing down roads, wearing down on-road paint, taking up space, reducing air quality due to pollutant emissions, all while putting others' lives at risk. But with a backwards policy in place which charges cyclists and pedestrians $3 (via ferry) to enter Coronado from the Downtown area, all while charging motorists nothing, what do you expect? It's actually less expensive to drive a car into Coronado than it is to ride a bicycle or walk. That should never be the case. This biased policy is an embodiment of backwardsness.

The Port of San Diego, the Ferry Company, the City of Coronado, the City of San Diego, SANDAG and Caltrans should work together to either build a pedestrian and bicyclist accessible path attached to the Coronado Bridge or work with the Ferry Company to allow pedestrians and cyclists free access into Coronado, throughout the day.

For more info on Bike The Bay, visit the following addy:

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