I have lived in three cities in my life, and two of them were clearly bike-friendly. In fact, there are probably as many bicycles in the Boston/Cambridge area as there are automobiles. Last month, this article ran in the North County Times about the bicycle plans in my hometown of Oceanside, California:
Oceanside already has a good reputation among two-wheeled commuters. The League of American Bicyclists designated it a “bicycle-friendly community” in September. No other city in the county has earned that label.
“Bicycling seems to have caught fire a bit in Oceanside,” Kathy Keehan, executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. “People are interested in it, and they want to make the city better.”
The master plan proposes 69 miles of new bicycle lanes, pathways and routes, more than doubling what’s already in place. A few, such as the coastal and inland rail trails, are multimillion-dollar projects. Others involve painting stripes on existing roads.
Oceanside has about 933 bicycle commuters, according to the master plan. If the recommendations are followed, that number would climb 5 percent, to 980, the plan estimates.
You can read the entire article here.
According to the NCT piece, the city of Oceanside recently applied for a grant – not an increase in tax monies, mind you – of $435,000 for the expansion and improvement of bike trails. That’s about $435 appropriated for each regular bicycle commuter.
It would be incredible if the city of Birmingham could incorporate such plans for bikers – even in miniature - into their overall vision of re-paving and re-vamping the street system. The long-term benefits of decreased pollution, increased health, slower infrastructure decay and a gentler impact to the environment are obvious and undebatable.