Long Beach Launches First “Bicycle Friendly Business Districts” in the U.S.
Here’s something to contemplate as you decide what to do this weekend – did you know that 40% of car trips in the United States are under two miles? Did you know that two miles is a very easy trip to make by bicycle? To make your decision even easier of car vs. bike (or gee, maybe it’s time to just go out and buy a new bike) Long Beach has added an incentive called “Bike Saturdays.”
Yes, Long Beach has climbed another wrung up the ladder of success as a leading “bike friendly” city yesterday when it celebrated the launch of an innovative new program called “The Bicycle Friendly Business Districts” with a press conference here in Bixby Knolls. The four shopping districts chosen for this program are Bixby Knolls, 4th Street Retro Row, the East Village and Cambodia Town. It was such a thrill to see our Mayor Bob Foster, Eighth District Council Member Rae Gabelich, local Bixby Knolls restaurateur Natalie Gutenkauf of The Factory (and more) all riding their bikes into LB’s newest bike retailer/repair place The Workshop yesterday.
The first of their kind in the nation, these new “BFD’s” (as LB’s Mobility Coordinator Charlie Gandy has nicknamed them) encourage Long Beach citizens to jump on their bikes and shop locally rather than jump in their cars and take their shopping dollars elsewhere. Starting tomorrow (Saturday June 4th) each person who rides their bike to Bixby Knolls, 4th Street, the East Village or Cambodia Town on Saturdays and shops at a store displaying the distinctive yellow and green “Shop/Dine Bike LB” sticker with be granted some type of discount or incentive for showing their bike helmet as proof of bicycling in.
We at Bikeable Communities are very excited about this new program. We know “bike friendly = business friendly” and hope to spread the gospel to the rest of the world. If you don’t already follow Frank Peter’s excellent blog and podcast at CDM Cyclist please check out his recent blog “Don’t Tell Them” about how traffic calming and the addition of a bike lane in Naples has increased not only bicyclists shopping but those driving cars as well.
The new “Bicycle Friendly Business Districts” are also a terrific example of a public/private partnership. These bike-friendly districts are sponsored by a $72,000 grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health through Project RENEW (Renew Environments for Nutrition, Exercise and Wellness). The project aims to help LA county cities by providing funding for cities and schools to work with communities to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and reduce smoking. To learn more about Project RENEW please click here.
The program has been overseen by Bike Long Beach and April Economides and also includes an array of state of the art cargo bikes which the special “bike friendly” districts can use to deliver groceries and other goodies easily to local residents.
What would happen if you decided to switch to a bike for even 1/2 of your errands this weekend? You’d get out and enjoy the sunshine on your face and breeze in your hair, you’d get that exercise you’ve been promising yourself, you’d save money on gas, and the dollars you spend locally are a great boon to our local economy.
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