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Charting a Path in Santa Monica
This post comes to us from Lucy Dyke, the City of Santa Monica’s Transportation Planning Manager. Santa Monica is a new Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business, and it worked collaboratively with the Santa Monica Bike Center to encourage additional businesses in the area to apply — ushering in four new BFBs in the city this round! Read more about the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Business awardees here.
The City of Santa Monica is full of passionate cyclists committed to sustainability and who are proud of being the home to so many businesses recognized as bike friendly by the League of American Bicyclists.
As a community, Santa Monica is recognized as a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community, and is working hard for gold. Santa Monica’s 20-year plan calls for walking, biking and transit to replace new car trips at a rate of at least 1 for 1 by 2030. Encouraging more people to bicycle is a key element of the strategy, set forth in our 2011 Bike Action Plan.
Partnerships, programs and encouragement are essential to our success. The Santa Monica Bike Center is an excellent example. A private entity, it is the largest full-service Bike Center in the country, located in what once was 27 spaces in a City-owned parking structure, it provides bike training at the Santa Monica bike campus, and also reaches out to local businesses to identify those that are bike friendly and encourage them to apply for a designation, and get access to local programs that offer education, racks incentives and other amenities.
The City helps on the ground by building better bikeways. In the past few years Santa Monica completed improvements on approximately 70 miles of bike network, increasing bike-lane mileage by 25 percent, providing sharrows on most routes where lanes are not feasible, introducing quality improvements such as green lanes, bike boxes, side paths, intersection and crossing treatments, more than a thousand new bike parking spaces, including some in a full-service bike center.
Santa Monica has been encouraging car-lite commuting for decades, through employer regulations, bike week promotions, and a bike valet program that has provided free parking for more than 100,000 bikes. The City stepped up joint outreach with businesses to encourage people to shop and ride local during “Carmageddon” weekends when the local freeway system was subject to closures, and found strong support among local businesses, including the Chamber of Commerce’s Buy Local partnership and the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Bicycling is good for Santa Monica, and Santa Monica businesses. The League’s Bicycle Friendly Business program helps coordinate and focus partnerships to get more people riding instead of driving.