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Bike SLO County Announces Leadership Transition

Today we’re excited to announce that Bike SLO County Board Treasurer Tyler Wertenbruch is stepping in as Interim Executive Director for long-term Executive Director Dan Rivoire who recently stepped down to pursue other opportunities. Wertenbruch will helm Bike SLO County during the current transition on a volunteer basis. Welcome Tyler!

TylerW_Staff“I’m honored to be able to serve and continue the great work Bike SLO County hasslated for the future as well as build on the legacy that all of our staff has built,” said Interim Executive director Tyler Wertenbruch. “We’re continuing all of our programs and advocacy efforts full speed ahead,” said Wertenbruch.

In addition to their Bike Education, Bike Valet and Bike Kitchen programs, Bike SLO County advocates countywide for safer streets for everyone, regardless of whether they drive bikes, walk and or drive cars.

“The Board is thrilled that Tyler chose to step up as we begin our search for a new Executive Director,” said Bike SLO County Board President Chris McBride. “Tyler brings fresh energy and a wealth of experience with the organization. We’re confident that his vision for Bike SLO County will serve the bike community well,” said McBride.

Wertenbruch previously served as Bike SLO County’s Board President and is currently the Board Treasurer. An avid cyclist, Wertenbruch rides with Team Clif Bar Cycling and will be competing this summer in the Mongolia Bike Challenge. In addition to serving as Interim Executive Director, Wertenbruch will continue his work as IT Manager at RRM Design Group in San Luis Obispo.

Ring your bell and say hello next time you see Tyler biking by!

Bidding Farewell to Dan!

This week we’re saying a bittersweet farewell to our Executive Director Dan Rivoire, whose parting words are featured below. We’re sad to see him go but we wish Dan all the best as he moves on to his next adventure here in San Luis Obispo.

As Dan departs, Bike SLO County is moving full steam ahead. Bike SLO County Board Treasurer and superstar Tyler Wertenbruch will step in as Interim Executive Director for the next few months as we seek out the next amazing Executive Director of Bike SLO County. Our incredible staff will also be supported by former Bike SLO County Board member Lea Brooks, who joins Bike SLO County as Advocacy Director. Welcome Lea! (We’ll do a proper Lea introduction next week!)

DanRivoire300

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Dear Bike SLO County supporters and superstars,

It is with a heavy heart and a significant bit of excitement that I wrap up my last day as Executive Director of Bike SLO County today.

As all of you know, I love Bike SLO County from the depths of my soul. I started working with the organization as an Americorps member in February 2008. Over eight years later, I am lucky to be able to look back on so many positive memories working to improve local quality of life. I owe nearly every aspect of my professional development to our team and the incredible people that make up our local bike culture. Together, we have accomplished great things in San Luis Obispo and we are truly just getting started.

Looking ahead, I know I will stay involved in many ways and will definitely be able to give back to the cause through my other roles in the community. I won’t be far, working at iFixit right on the other side of downtown, and wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself volunteering at events or the Kitchen in no time.

If you would like to celebrate the big transition with us, please join us at Petra next Wednesday from 5-7 pm for a little going away social hour.

Thank you all for everything. I’ll miss working so closely by your side.

See you in the Bike Lane,

Dan Rivoire

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

The Bikes & Beauty Bike Month Blowout!

Bikes & Beauty is almost here!

This year Bike SLO County’s annual Bikes & Beauty Fashion Show party is joining forces with SLO Rideshare’s Bike Month Blowout for a Bike to Work Day Afterparty Extravaganza! Join us on Friday May 20th from 6:30 – 9:30 PM at the SLO Grange Hall in SLO (map).

Bikes & BeautyCome groove to the satisfying sounds of DJ Malik, enjoy tasty food and beverages (beer, wine, cocktails, kombucha, soda) and watch the always fabulous Bike Fashion Show.

Rideshare will be giving away a Linus Commuter Bike. How can you win? Stop at any Bike to Work Day Station, collect a raffle ticket and bring it to the Bikes & Beauty Bike Month Blow Out for your chance to win!

Bike SLO County will raffle a fantastic Yuba Spicy Curry eCargo Bike (courtesy of Foothill Cyclery)! Whether you’re hauling coconuts, kids or kombucha, Spicy Curry is your jam! Retail for this bike is $4,200. Raffle tickets are $20 each or 5 for $100, available ONLY at Bikes & Beauty.

Parking at The SLO Grange Hall (map): Our free Bike Valet will be parking bikes from 6:15-9:30 PM, and there is also plenty of parking for cars

You can RSVP and Share the Event with your friends over on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1161083450620599/

Very special thanks to the bike-loving sponsors who make this night possible:

Super Spectacular Support provided by SLO Rideshare‘s Bike to Work Day.

Additional Awesome Support comes from Salon 544, Linnaea’s Cafe, Flanders Bicycle, Central Coast Brewing Company, Whalebird Kombucha, Peloton Cellars, SLO Natural Foods Co-Op, Barrelhouse Brewing Company, Mindbody, Rabbit Ridge Winery and Rosie’s Workwear.

Bike Fest

Bike Fest! Bob Jones Trail Day! More!

Saturday April 30th: A big day for Bikes

San Luis Obispo County has a lot going on for bikes this Saturday. Bike Fest? Yup! Bob Jones Trail Clean Up Day? You bet! Bike Valet at Family Fitness Day? Yes indeed!

Bob Jones Trail Clean Up Day

JaimeHillThe Friends of the Bob Jones Trail, in conjunction with the city of San Luis Obispo, is holding a trail work day on Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to noon. Ready to volunteer? Our focus is the city’s stretch of trail from Prado Road to Los Osos Valley Road, including an area that needs to be weeded and replanted near the new bridge close to Los Osos Valley Road. The city will provide tools, water and snacks. Pulling weeds is hard physical work, so pace yourselves.

To participate, confirm with Lea Brooks, at lea2skip@aol.com that you want to participate, and she’ll will send you more details about the cleanup and parking.

Bike Fest

Get ready for an awesome day of bicycles in the Village of Arroyo Grande – the 8th annual Bike Fest takes place on Saturday, April 30th from 12:20 – 4 PM and this year is going to be better than ever.

Bike Fest is a fun-filled celebration of Bikes and the people who love them!  The festivities kick off with a Bike Parade around the Village starting at the Rotary Bandstand on Nelson Street at 12:20 PM. The Bike Parade concludes at Branch Street Deli where the fun continues at 1 PM with great food, fantastic music, incredible prizes (you can win a bike!) and discounted beverages from New Belgium Brewery.

Bike Fest is sponsored by the Bike SLO County, Rideshare, Lezyne, Branch Street Deli, Ira’s Bike Shop and New Belgium Brewing Company.

All ages are welcome, so grab your bicycle, join the Parade then enjoy the festivities at Branch Street Deli (map) – It’s going to be a blast!

Family Fitness Day

The SLO Marathon + Half’s Family Fitness Day will have FREE activities for children of all ages and abilities, on Saturday, April 30 and our free Bike Valet will be there parking bicycles. The fun goes from 9:00am to 2:00pm at the iconic Madonna Inn property. Each family can participate in a variety of games and activities at no charge and will receive a Race SLO Champion sticker, play with all the local team mascots and get lessons in fun and sportsmanship from a variety of local sport teams and clubs. Food and vendors will be at the festival as well as all weekend long.

FREE activities for children and adults include:

    1. Soccer Ball Kick with Cal Poly and Musty Mustang
    2. Basketball Toss with Cal Poly
    3. Baseball Pitch with SLO Blues Baseball and Bluebelle the Bull
    4. Sack Race with Downtown Brown
    5. Cornhole, Ladder Golf, Croquet and Giant Connect Four with SLO Coast Shenanigans
    6. Golf Putt with Sunset Honda
    7. Rope-a-Steer with Cal Poly Rodeo

In addition, on Family Fitness Day, there are three running events:

    1. Kids One Mile (8:00am start)
    2. 5K Run / Walk / Strollers (8:15am start)
    3. Kids Quarter Mile Dash (9:30am start)

For more event information or to register for races before they sell out, go to: www.slomarathon.com/family-fitness-day

Plus, enjoy the food, beer and wine (adults 21 & older only!) garden all day!

Sunday too?

Our free Bike Valet will be back at Madonna Inn on Sunday, parking bicycles for the SLO Marathon + Half. We’ll be there from 7 AM – 2 PM: Bike down and watch the big finish!

 

Bike Kitchen? Car Kitchen!

Ready for the Car Kitchen?

Our donors are amazing! Bike SLO County thrives because of the generosity of so many dedicated members of the bike community.

And the car community.

At this point you may be you scratching your head saying “Wait…car drivers support bikes?”

Almost everyone we know who rides a bike also drives an automobile. Some drive a car every day, some drive multiple times a day, others not so often. While Bike SLO County doesn’t own a car, we sometimes need one and when we do we use a local car-share service.

Historically our Bike Kitchen has been a maintenance/education space to teach people how to fix their bicycles. We have all the parts, tools and knowledge anyone might need to fix a bicycle. The Bike Kitchen has provided guided instruction to over 6,000 people since opening our doors in 2010.

But what about cars? As far as we know, there isn’t currently a maintenance/education space to teach people how to fix their cars anywhere in SLO County. While there are lots of commercial mechanics, up until now not a single non-profit organization has worked to provide the parts, tools and knowledge you would need to fix your own car. That’s why we’re so very happy to announce that today is April Fools Day! Yes! We’re sorry! But we had you going for a minute!

While we like the idea of a Bike Kitchen for cars, we aren’t going to be the ones to get that started. Our focus will remain on Advocacy and Education, endlessly working for safer streets for everyone, whether you are a person driving a bicycle, a person driving a car, a person walking or, depending on the day, all of the above. Bike SLO County will continue to educate people of all ages, in schools around the county, in our Street Skills classes and yes, in the Bike Kitchen.

We’ll say it again. Our donors are amazing! Bike SLO County thrives because of the generosity of so many dedicated members of the bike community, the pedestrian community and yes, the car community. Safe streets are no joke. Donate today and help grow the movement for safer streets for everyone. It’s easy to donate – just click the donate link below:

       → → → https://bikeslocounty.org/donate ← ← ←

Thank you!

(P.S. For every donation we receive, we promise not play any more April Fools Day pranks until sometime next year.)

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.

Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard Plan Kick Off

In late March of 2016, the City of San Luis Obispo will hold an initial community meeting to begin 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 March 24, 2016 from 6-8 PM at the SLO County Public Library, 995 Palm St, SLO, CA 93403 (map)

According to the City of SLO’s Press Release:

SLO emblem_rgb_for dk bkgd_sm“The City of San Luis Obispo invites you to a neighborhood meeting on Thursday, March 24, 2016, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at the City/County Library, 995 Palm Street, to kick of the process for developing the Broad Street Bicycle Boulevard Plan. The project is intended to provide a through route for bicyclists and pedestrians serving the downtown core and neighborhoods to the north. The Plan will look at Broad Street from Ramona Street toMonterey Street, including a future bicycle/pedestrian overcrossing of Highway 101. Your participation at this meeting is valuable and appreciated. To subscribe to project updates and/or provide feedback on the project, visit the City’s online forum at https://www.peakdemocracy.com/3444.

Project Managers Jennifer Rice and Luke Schwartz are also available and can be reached at JRice@slocity.org and LSchwartz@slocity.org, or via phone at (805) 781-7190.