Help us Connect SLO County

Our 2017 Annual Fundraising Campaign concludes on Friday June 16th and we still have a long way to go to reach our fundraising goal of $30,000.

This week we’re highlighting 5 different Bike SLO County programs and efforts that need your help:

DAY 3: Advocacy

Connect SLO CountyA large part of Bike SLO County’s core mission is to advocate to connect the entire county with safe paths and roads for everyone. Whether you ride a bike, walk or use a wheelchair, safe paths raise quality of life, encourage a healthy lifestyle and create opportunities countywide.

Since 2001, Bike SLO County has advocated and will continue to advocate for the completion of the Bob Jones Trail.  We’re excited by recent progress on the next phase of the Bob Jones trail, and are equally excited to advocate for the Templeton Connector, a multi-use pathway that will provide a much needed one mile non-motorized connection between northern Atascadero to southern Templeton between the Salinas River and Highway 101.

Additionally, Bike SLO County is focused on making sure that the youngest bike riders and pedestrians have the opportunity to safely ride or walk to school. To that end we advocate for sidewalks, bicycle paths & pedestrian-friendly infrastructure to create Safe Routes to School countywide.  

Connecting SLO County is not an overnight endeavor and we need your help to make sure the job gets done. Please give what you can – your donation today is an investment in a more bike and pedestrian friendly future. 

A one time donation of $100 or more will significantly help drive our Advocacy efforts forward. Donations of any amount a greatly appreciated as we strive to reach our goal to raise $30,000 by Friday, June 16th.

Click here to make a one time donation.

Prefer to make a recurring monthly donation? Click here to make a monthly donation.

Already support Bike SLO County? Thank You!

Advocacy Alert

Advocacy Alert: Bob Jones Trail Extension

Stand up for the Bob Jones Trail

Write your Supervisors & show up!

On Tuesday, May 9th the Board of Supervisors will meet to decide whether to move the Bob Jones Trail Extension project forward, or not.  At least four Supervisors need to vote in favor for the project to move ahead. Bob Jones TrailWhile the San Luis Obispo County Parks & Rec Department has found most of the funds needed to move the Bob Jones Trail forward, it is up to the county Board of Supervisors to approve the use of the money. 

If the Supervisors approve the funding, it will put SLO County in a strong position for additional funds and we could see actual construction of the Bob Jones Trail extension in the next 18 to 24 months.

Please help to move this project forward by doing the following three things:

  • Email or call your Supervisor expressing your support for the additional funding needed to move the Bob Jones Trail project forward. 
  • Show up at 9 am for the May 9th hearing to express your support for this project. We will need a large turnout for the Board of Supervisors so that the minimum four votes are obtained. The Bob Jones Trail item is currently on the consent agenda. If it stays on the consent agenda, there will be no public commentary. This is a great opportunity for signs reading “Support the Bob Jones Trail” “I <3 the Bob Jones Trail” etc. If the item is taken off of the consent agenda for discussion, public comment is encouraged. As always, be polite and respectful. 
  • Forward this request to your friends and family, especially in Arroyo Grande, Nipomo and North County.

Key points to express are:

  • Support the remaining BJT funding necessary to issue the RFP, allowing the project to move forward and become shovel-ready. 
  • SLO County will be applying for a portion of the 200+ million dollars available through ATP grants in early 2018. Having the project shovel-ready will enhance our chances of receiving $10 million in state funds for construction of the BJT extension. 
  • We have already lost significant grant money for this project due to delays, and are at risking of losing an additional $250,000 grant if progress is not made soon. 
  • Funding for this RFP will not impact the County’s progress on the Nipomo Parks projects that are in the works.  

Below is the contact information for the Board of Supervisors.

District 1: John Peschong, jpeschong@co.slo.ca.us
District 2: Bruce Gibson, bgibson@co.slo.ca.us
District 3: Adam Hill, ahill@co.slo.ca.us
District 4: Lynn Compton, lcompton@co.slo.ca.us
District 5: Debbie Arnolddarnold@co.slo.ca.us

Advocacy Alert

Finish the Bob Jones Trail Extension

Ask Parks and Rec to Move the Bob Jones Trail Forward

This Thursday, March 23, 2017, the SLO County Parks and Recreation Commission will consider “strategy for funding the Bob Jones Pathway Construction Documents and Right-of-Way consulting services” for the trail’s 4.4-mile extension from the Octagon Barn to the Ontario Road staging area.

At stake is grant funding for a Request for Proposals (RFP) for consulting services to prepare construction and right-of-way documents for the trail’s long anticipated extension. This work is needed to move the project to “shovel-ready” status and thus eligible for grant funding. Bike SLO County and other groups that support completion of the Bob Jones Trail disagree with the County Parks and Recreation Department staff recommendation to delay bringing any funding requests to the Board of Supervisors.

We take issue with any further delay for this project of regional significance for locals and visitors. The Bob Jones Trail extension is in the final stages of environmental study and review and needs to move forward. While the $775,000 in grant funding earmarked for the RFP are insufficient to cover its estimated $1.1 million cost, the Board of Supervisors can choose to cover the estimated $380,000 shortfall now with Parks Public Facilities Fees or funds from other sources. The important issue is for the SLO County Parks and Recreation Commission to recommend bringing the RFP funding request  to the Board of Supervisors. Failure to move forward endangers work already completed and paid for, adding additional cost and time to a project already years behind schedule.

The Bob Jones Trail extension has been promised for decades. Other pieces of the trail network, including the Octagon Barn and Bob Jones trailhead, are in the works.

The Parks and Recreation Commission meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors’ chambers in the county Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., SLO. Bob Jones Trail is item 9 on the agenda.

What can I do?

  • Attend the meeting and ask the Parks and Recreation Commission to recommend bringing the RFP funding request to the Board of Supervisors.
  • Email the Parks and Recreation Commissioners and let them know that you want the Bob Jones Trail to move forward now. Email addresses for the Commissioners:

Pandora Nash-Karner
pandora@pandoraandcompany.com

Bruce Hilton
bruce.hilton@post.harvard.edu

Connie O’Henley
connie@clarkcenter.org

Kenny Dahlen
kennydahlen@gmail.com

Whether you attend the meeting, email the Commissioners or both, here is some language that might help:

Dear Commission Chair and Members:

Please recommend that the Board of Supervisors allocate Parks Public Facility Fees or other funds to cover the estimated shortfall for the Request for Proposals to provide consulting services for construction and right-of-way documents for the Bob Jones Trail 4.4-mile extension.

This work is needed to move the extension project to “shovel-ready” status and thus eligible for grant funding. The county must fulfill its commitment to complete this stretch of the City to the Sea Trail. Further delays could cause work that has already been completed to expire, adding additional cost and time to a project already years behind schedule.

Sincerely,

(Your Name)

Additional Info:

WHEN:        Thursday, March 23, 2017 6 PM

WHERE:     SLO County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., SLO (map)

WHAT:       SLO County Parks and Recreation Commission meeting to consider “strategy for funding the Bob Jones Pathway Construction Documents and Right-of-Way consulting services”.

Agenda: http://agenda.slocounty.ca.gov/agenda/sanluisobispo/822/QWdlbmRh/6/n/75506.doc

Staff Report: http://agenda.slocounty.ca.gov/agenda/sanluisobispo/7205/SXRlbSBEb2N1bWVudCAoUHVibGljKSA=/14/n/75504.doc

Advocacy Alert

Let The Supervisors Know You Support The Bob Jones Trail

The next phase of the Bob Jones Trail, the section between South Higuera and Ontario Road, is ready to proceed. Unfortunately the project is stalled and in order to continue making progress the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors need to hear that people want this project completed. Please read on and then email TODAY or attend and speak at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday March 7th.

Why Does this Matter?

Though a Request for Proposal (RFP) for this portion of the Bob Jones Trail has been completed and approved by Caltrans, the County has not put it out for bids. Once put out for bids and contracted, the RFP would complete the Plans, Specs and Engineering (PSE) and Right of Way (ROW) necessary for the South Higuera to Ontario Road section of the trail to become “shovel ready”.

Why does this matter?

  • Delaying the project causes the price of the project to go up. Construction prices will continue to rise. The longer we wait, the higher the price tag.
  • A long delay may necessitate that a supplemental EIR be prepared, adding additional time and money to the completion of the Bob Jones Trail.
  • Completion of PSE and ROW will make this section of the trail “shovel ready” and thus eligible for additional grant funding that it can’t qualify for in its present state. Those grants save SLO County money that can be used on other needs.
  • Families, children and individuals from all over SLO County currently use the Bob Jones Trail. Let’s complete the entire project to improve the safety, physical fitness and quality of life for residents and visitors throughout SLO County.

What can I do about it?

EMAIL: Contact the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors by email at boardofsups@co.slo.ca.us and ask them to place an item on the agenda in the very near future to put the Request For Proposal (RFP) for Plans, Specs and Engineering (PSE) and Right of Way (ROW) for the South Higuera to Ontario Road section of the Bob Jones Trail out to bid. Remember to be respectful and to clearly state what you are writing about.

Feel free to amend, copy and paste the text included below:

Esteemed Supervisors,

I’m writing today to comment on Item 13, “Status update on the Public Facilities Financing Plan for Unincorporated Area Facilities”. I respectfully urge the Supervisors to support the completion of the Bob Jones Trail by placing an item on the agenda in the very near future to put the Request For Proposal (RFP) for Plans, Specs and Engineering (PSE) and Right of Way (ROW) for the South Higuera to Ontario Road section of the trail out to bid. Not only has the RFP been completed and approved by Caltrans, grant money will pay for roughly 75% of the cost. With $750,000 of grant money available, the County will pay $280,000 or less to award this contract. Completion of PSE and ROW will make this section of the trail “shovel ready” and thus eligible for additional grant funding that it can’t qualify for in its present state.

Delay in putting this contract out for bid may have serious repercussions. Construction costs will of course rise over time. The longer the delay, the higher the cost. In light of the time and money already been spent, moving forward now will help keep costs down on a project already in progress. Additionally, a long delay may necessitate that a supplemental EIR be prepared, adding additional costs, additional delays and once again raising the price to complete the Bob Jones Trail.

Portions of the Bob Jones Trail now in use serve the recreational and fitness needs of pedestrians and bicycle riders countywide. Families, children and individuals flock to the safety and beauty offered by the trail. Tourists and tourist dollars from outside SLO County are drawn year-round to the already completed section of the trail linking Ontario Road with Avila Beach.

I support the Supervisors efforts to improve the safety, physical fitness and quality of life for residents and visitors throughout SLO County. Completing the Bob Jones Trail accomplishes all three.  Please add this item to the Supervisors agenda as soon as possible.

Thank you,

(Your Name, Your Address)

Attend the Board of Supervisors Meeting:

When: March 7th, 2017. The meeting begins at 9. It is uncertain when Item 13 will be discussed, but to be on the safe side try and be there no later than 9:30 a.m. Please note that Item 13 is listed as “Status update on the Public Facilities Financing Plan for Unincorporated Area Facilities”, not as Bob Jones Trail. On this item Supervisors will be discussing Parks funding in general and while they will not be able to make a decision directly on the Bob Jones RFP, this is the best time to address the Supervisors and ask that they keep the Bob Jones Trail alive and moving forward.

Where: Government Center Board Chambers located at 1055 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.

How: Submit a BOARD APPEARANCE REQUEST FORM prior to the Item being presented on the agenda. These are available at Board of Supervisors meeting.

Public Workshop: The Future of Downtown SLO

The City of San Luis Obispo has announced that the Draft Downtown Concept Plan is available for review. After 13 months of work by staff, consultants, the public, and the Council-appointed Creative Vision Team (CVT), the Draft Downtown Concept Plan lays out a long-range vision for the downtown; it includes both an illustrative diagram and a supplemental narrative that together provide the story to help guide the achievement of the community’s long-range vision for the downtown.

Imagine Downtown SLOA public workshop is being held this Saturday, February 4, to review key components of the Draft Plan. Workshop participants will have a first-hand opportunity to provide feedback to help shape the future of downtown. Wants to see more bike infrastructure downtown? Show up and speak up!

Following the workshop, the public will be invited to provide additional input through Open City Hall on the city’s website, and at a series of advisory committee and other meetings. Council action is scheduled for August 2017.

Workshop Details:

Date: Saturday, February 4th, 2017

Time: 1:00-4:00 pm

Location: City/County Library Community Room, 995 Palm St

  • Drop in at your convenience
  • See a presentation from the project team at 1:15 or 2:45
  • Review key components of the draft Downtown Concept Plan
  • Give input to inform the final plan
  • Coloring station and snacks for kids of all ages
  • Help decide the future of Downtown SLO

For more information:

Visit the project webpage: www.slocity.org/downtown

Or contact project manager Rebecca Gershow: rgershow@gmail.com, or 805.781.7011

Survey

Take the Survey – Bike the Vote!

Participate: Community Priorities Survey and Community Forum

It seems like it was just yesterday, but the time for the bike community of San Luis Obispo to stand up and be counted is here again. Every two years, the City of SLO establishes the top priorities to make San Luis Obispo an even better place to live, work and play. The City Council then matches the resources necessary to achieve these priorities through adopting the budget in June.  ibikeivoteThe adopted budget sets the City’s course of action for the next two years and helps the City to continue to provide the exceptional services and programs the community cherishes.

In previous years the bike community has been a strong presence in the preliminary Community Priorities Survey and at the Community Forum that follows, resulting in bike and pedestrian improvements throughout the town. While we’re happy to see the ongoing improvements, there is always more that needs improving. 

With recent narrow failure of Measure J, which would have generated about $25 million dollars per year for local roads and transportation countywide, it is now more important than ever for people who support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements to stand up and be heard. For residents of the City of SLO, there are two easy steps to take:

  • Take the Community Priorities Survey before midnight on December 14, 2016 and your answers will be summarized and presented to the City Council at the Community Forum in January. A link to the survey site is here: Community Priorities Survey
  • Attend the City Council Community Forum on January 10, 2017  from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Ludwick Community Center, 864 Santa Rosa St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (map).  This forum is an opportunity to present your ideas to the Council and discuss them with other community members.

While many of us in San Luis Obispo will rightly raise our concerns for the projects that we see making the most difference in our daily lives, The Bike SLO County Advocacy Team suggests support for the four following priorities. Experience has shown us that when we focus on a concentrated number of projects we are able to see them adopted and built:

  1. Complete the next segment of the Railroad Safety Trail – Pepper Street to the train station – while continuing the effort to create a permanent trail separated from traffic citywide. (The city received a grant for the segment from Taft to Pepper Street, including a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks behind California Highway Patrol headquarters. Construction is scheduled to start in 2017.)
  2. Complete the Bob Jones Trail, with the priority of designing and constructing the Los Osos Valley Road to the Octagon Barn connection. (The feasibility study is complete and environmental study in the approval process.)
  3. Design and construct Safe Routes to School to Pacheco and Bishop Peak elementary schools, including the Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard from Monterey Street to Ramona Drive and safer bicycle/pedestrian crossings of Foothill Boulevard at Ferrini Road and Patricia/La Entrada. (The previous budget approved feasibility studies for these projects, which are under way.)
  4. Feasibility study for a Madonna Road protected bikeway and improvements to the bikeway crossing of Highway 101 between Marsh Street and Madonna bike path. (The proposed San Luis Ranch project may include some of these improvements.)

Survey Deadline: Midnight December 14th. Do it now! Community Priorities Survey

City Council Community Forum: January 10, 2017  from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Ludwick Community Center, 864 Santa Rosa St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (map). Put it on your calendar now then show up and be heard on January 10th.

Pro-Tip: The Community Forum has historically been extremely crowded, with all seats packed, people standing and also observing from the lobby. If you enjoy sitting down, show up to get a seat early. If you enjoy standing up for 3+ hours at a time, show up at 6:30 or later. Bottled water? Bring some, and even bring some to give to folks sitting or standing nearby. The Ludwick Community Center can get pretty hot and stuffy when packed with the many civically involved citizens of SLO.

Bicycle Boulevard

Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard Plan Meeting #2

Ready for the Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard?

On June 9th, 2016, the City of San Luis Obispo will hold the second community meeting to discuss the process of developing the Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard Plan, which improves bike options along Broad Street from Ramona Street south to Monterey Street.

The meeting takes place on Thursday June 9th, 2016 from 6-8 PM at the SLO County Public Library, 995 Palm St, SLO, CA 93403 (mapand is a great opportunity to provide your input to City staff in person. If you can’t make the meeting in person but would still like to convey your thoughts/concerns/enthusiasm you can do so online at this link:

 http://www.slocity.org/government/open-government/open-city-hall

According to the City of SLO’s press release:

The City of San Luis Obispo invites the public to attend the second neighborhood meeting for the Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard Plan. The meeting will take place on Thursday, June 9th, 2016, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at the City/County Library, 995 Palm Street. As listed in the City’s Bicycle Transportation Plan, the project is intended to provide a through route for bicyclists and pedestrians serving the downtown core and neighborhoods to the north—along Broad Street from Monterey Street to Foothill Boulevard. The agenda for the second project meeting includes:

1. Staff presentation on work completed to date
2. Staff presentation on their preliminary design concepts
3. Design charrette, attendees develop & present their own concepts
4. Group discussion and critique of concepts

At the first meeting, the project was introduced and staff gained feedback on issues to be addressed and the type of bike boulevard that was desired. The goal of the 2nd meeting is to explore a range of design concepts and begin to narrow those concepts into a plan for the bike boulevard.

If you have any questions, please contact Project Managers Jennifer Rice (805) 781-7058 and Luke Schwartz (805) 781-7190

How to Design Cities for People: An Update

Meredith Glaser revisits questions from “How to Design Cities for People”  

A few weeks back we heard from SLO-raised but Amsterdam-based urban strategy and sustainable mobility consultant Meredith Glaser on How to Design Cities for People.

Meredith Glaser & Bike SLO County Executive Director Dan Rivoire at Bello Mundo Cafe

Meredith Glaser & Bike SLO County Executive Director Dan Rivoire at Bello Mundo Cafe

She works on a freelance basis with Dutch municipalities, on international projects with Copenhagenize Design Co, and as a guest researcher/lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. She curates and leads study tours for city leaders around the world. And with any spare time she blogs for Amsterdam Cycle Chic.

Her talk focused on three key ideas for more people-centered urban planning. First, we need to observe how people are currently using our streets and public spaces. Observing human behavior can provide valuable data for leveraging change. Second, providing choices for people makes them happy. Transportation and land use decisions that result in easily accessible services that are walkable and bikeable can change the way people move in and use their city. Finally, we need to hone and nourish our very human skill of imagining better streets that caterer more to people and places rather than cars and traffic.

Kinkerstraat Amsterdam

Kinkerstraat, Amsterdam. From top: 1981 via www.studiokoning.com; 2016 via @fietsprofessor; near future via City of Amsterdam

We had a packed house at Bella Mundo and after her talk many people asked some great (and tough) questions. Meredith took some time to write up more detailed responses to some of those tough questions.

What zoning changes would you prioritize if you were a SLO planner or policy maker?

I’m not a California zoning code expert, but in true cycling cities, like those in the Netherlands and Denmark, daily needs services are within close distances from where people live and work, and the zoning code is flexible enough to allow for uses to change and adapt with the changing needs of a neighborhood. Mixed use developments with grocery stores, pharmacies, child care and schools, doctors, and other specialty retail strategically placed on the ground level and concentrated on corner sites should be prioritized. Downtown SLO neighborhoods would greatly benefit from a full-service grocery store (or a couple) to support the daily needs of its immediately local residents. (The lot across from Bank of America would be an ideal location for a mixed use development with underground parking, ground floor services, and apartments above. Reminds me of several relatively new developments in Berkeley on University Avenue.) Downtown has ample space for infill and small scale, mixed use developments. Outside of downtown is a whole other issue. New housing developments (out off Broad for example) lack accessibility to services within walking or biking distance, which only perpetuates auto dominated lifestyles. New developments should be clustered near existing services; if they aren’t, then the developers need to provide logical and safe bicycle and walking connections to existing services, schools and other daily amenities. You can read a lot more about these kinds of examples in my new book The City at Eye Level, download it for free here.

Would you agree with the statement that we need to make driving more difficult? 

Right now our streets are set up in a way to benefit only one type of user – those driving cars.

Photo from Amsterdam Cycle Chic

photo from Amsterdam Cycle Chic

We’ve become very accustomed to the conveniences of an unbalanced transportation system that doesn’t reflect the actual costs on society – subsidized gasoline, wide streets, free or very cheap parking, and a ‘door-to-door’ righteous mentality. Modernizing our city streets means allocating some of that space to other users of the road. Best practice bicycle infrastructure that is safe and comfortable and gets people where they need to go has proved an effective way to calm traffic and ease congestion. (Imagine if those bicyclists were in cars!) Surveys from drivers in cities that have created more balanced streets showed that they appreciated the bicycle infrastructure: the infrastructure made the street easier to navigate because each user better understood their place, their role and how they should behave. So it’s not about making it more difficult to drive – it’s not a zero sum game – it’s about balancing out a very unbalanced system.

If we can’t have bike infrastructure, what’s the next best thing?

Amsterdam_Intersection

Photofrom Amsterdam Cycle Chic

Best practice bicycle infrastructure has been around for decades; it’s not new and we know how to do it. And compared to car infrastructure, it is low cost, low maintenance and benefits outweigh the risks. The next best thing to permanent bicycle infrastructure is temporary bicycle infrastructure – a trend that is already sweeping the nation. Pilot, pop-up, and demonstration projects are a great way to try out low-stress bicycle infrastructure. Plastic posts or planter boxes can create temporary protected bike lanes or sidewalk extensions. There no reason San Luis Obispo cannot try out some of the ideas that are already out there – no need to reinvent the wheel, especially with that budget surplus we heard about!

I’m not a planner or engineer; what’s my take away from this? What can I do?

Re-establishing the bicycle as a mainstream mode of transport means getting people just like you more involved. If you’re already using the bicycle as a daily transport mode, you are already doing a lot. Keep riding and keep smiling. Tell your friends to join you. Tell your colleagues to join. Have your company buy bikes to leave at the office so they bike to meetings instead of drive. You can advocate for better infrastructure and bicycle facilities by writing to the city council and showing up for city council meetings. Write letters to the Tribune. Join Bike SLO County.

How would you Copenhagenize our downtown streets?

Downtown streets were planned for cars and traffic; it’s time to give more space to people and places. There is ample space to play with and plenty of ideas already out there – just pick a couple and see what works. It’s not rocket science.

If you want more of an answer than that… The design of the streets downtown, for the most part, does not match the uses. Let’s take Higuera: three wide lanes of traffic plus parking on both sides.

Photo by Amsterdam Cycle Chic

Photo from Amsterdam Cycle Chic

This layout is not congruent with the ‘Main Street’ atmosphere, the high amount of pedestrians, and lends to a poor shopping experience. The sidewalks are so narrow people are forced to shuffle around each other. The trees provide a cozy ambiance but the parked cars benefit more from their shade than people. And the traffic is as noisy and distracting as those hideous blinking crosswalk signs. Plenty of bicyclists use the street but it’s unclear where they should ride or park their bicycles. This street (and many others) would majorly benefit from sidewalk widening on both sides, giving people more space to walk and linger – plus restaurants could place more seating outside where people can people watch and enjoy the full sun of that street. Parklets can provide a temporary solution for bike parking or restaurant tables or just more space for people to sit. Raised bike ways (or at least 6′ bike lanes with buffers for car doors) on both sides could allow for increased accessibility to shops as well as through movement while remaining low-stress, comfortable, and intuitive for all users. Again, there are great bones here and lots of space to play with!

How do you convince engineers? Or rather, why are engineers in the Netherlands already “doing it right”?

For 7,000 years streets were designed for people and by people. 100 years ago that all changed and our streets were engineered for the first time in human history. It appears as though engineers aren’t going away any time soon, so it might be time to inject some real life and real design into the engineering curriculum. In the Netherlands where cycling is an every day, mainstream form of transportation, engineers are also bicycling so they experience their work on a daily basis. That’s not the case in other cities and towns, especially in the U.S. It might be very difficult for an American engineer to imagine (and design, no less) bicycle infrastructure if he or she has never experienced best practice infrastructure first hand. I think that’s why study tours are so important. Feeling and experiencing comfortable, safe bicycle infrastructure that’s been around for a century – plus talking to the experts themselves – is better than any PowerPoint presentation.

If you’re interested in study tours check out the Copenhagenize Master Class or contact Meredith for a custom study tour in the Netherlands.

Do you think Cal Poly should play a role?

Absolutely. University decision makers need to make bicycles and mass transit clear priorities, but again linking these networks and nodes seamlessly with housing, daily needs and services, and connections to the downtown core. Bicycle parking should be ample, obvious, and intuitively placed. Policies also must limit students from bringing cars into SLO – but that has to be combined with land use decisions that provide for the daily needs of students.

Cal Poly is not the only stakeholder though. In addition to transitional city officials, key decision makers from local hospitals, SLO school district, developers, Old Mission Church and schools, major employers, and the Chamber of Commerce need to get on board. As I said last Wednesday, this isn’t about getting more bicycles on the streets of San Luis Obispo, it’s about giving people more choices for how they get around. It’s about balancing out our streets and giving more space to people. And it’s about building a better, happier, more livable town for the children growing up here.

Meredith Glaser is an urban strategy and mobility consultant. She is originally from San Luis Obispo, holds Masters degrees in urban planning and public health from UC Berkeley, and has been based in the Netherlands since 2010. Meredith holds a guest appointment at the University of Amsterdam, where she co-leads a summer program on urban cycling and conducts research on cross-national policy transfer and knowledge exchange related to mobility. She hosts other university-level student groups and international professional delegations for cycling and mobility study tours. Meredith also directs the Amsterdam office for Copenhagenize Design Co., which advises cities and towns around the world regarding bicycle urbanism, reestablishing the bicycle as transport in cities, policy, planning, communications and general urban design. In her spare time she blogs for Amsterdam Cycle Chic. She lives in Amsterdam with her husband, daughter, 4 bikes and no car.