Protected bike lane in downtown Long Beach that physically separates cyclists from motorists. Photo credit: Joe Linton/Streetsblog
Long Beach is at it again! When it isn’t installing Southern California’s first protected bike lane or attempting to launch one of the largest bike-share systems in the United States, the LA beach city has also quietly been a leader in encouraging people to cycle with their Bicycle Friendly Business District Program.
A first in the nation, the program was funded by a Los Angeles County Department of Public Health grant and is an excellent way to incentivize making trips to local restaurants and shops by bike. The program is also a great way to rediscover the magic of the city, according to Long Beach mayor Bob Foster:
Bicycling encourages shopping and dining locally. As Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster explains, it also introduces people to businesses we may not notice while speeding by in a car: “I see parts of the city on my bike that I would never even notice if I was just driving. And I love it. It’s not only great exercise, it’s a way for me personally to get closer to the city.” Increased bicycling and decreased driving in business districts also reduces traffic and parking issues.
This innovative piece of bicycle infrastructure in one of Long Beach’s shopping districts is known as a super sharrow. Photo credit: San Francisco Bicycle Coaltion
So far the program has been a huge success, watch this video and see for yourself!
Perhaps this is something Contra Costa cities can do to encourage people cycle and shop locally. What do you think?
Read more about Long Beach’s Bicycle Friendly Business District over at Momentum Magazine or at Bike Long Beach