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Even NIMBYs Approve of LB Bike Boulevard

April 30, 2009

lb-vistaI’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time in the LBC of late, but with this kind of support for bike friendly projects, it’s easy to see why. Yesterday evening I attended a preliminary input meeting for the proposed Vista Street Bike Boulevard at an elementary school in a sleepy residential neighborhood in eastern Long Beach.

While I was hoping to see some of the badassery associated with LB bikers, it turned out that the only well represented demographic at the meeting was the over-50 set. But these guys couldn’t be happier to have Vista made into a bike boulevard – granted, this was after it was revealed that no parking spots would be removed, but still. At the end of the meeting, a show of hands revealed that absolutely no one present was opposed to the bike boulevard. Ironically, the strongest opposition came from a commenter who sounded like he actually rode a significant amount; he griped that the bike route “didn’t go anywhere”. This is a legitimate concern, as Vista’s ends are a significant distance from either Downtown LB, the Belmont Shore district, or Long Beach State. However, we were assured that this was a pilot program, selected because of its cost-effectiveness, and if it proved successful the more difficult task of linking it to major destinations would be addressed. At the end of the meeting, a giant map of Vista was provided for all of us to color in our ideas for what to put on the bike route; mine mostly pertained to how to connect the west end of the street to Downtown. A well dressed woman assured me that my ideas would be considered, and I certainly appreciated the reassurance as it’s hard to believe that ideas you scribble onto a giant map will be taken seriously.

This meeting was interesting in that it revealed that a properly implemented bike boulevard would be a benefit even to those who don’t bike often. Hopefully this will be the first of many bike boulevards to come.

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