20120306

On Bollards

I was out on a ride this weekend with my eventual goal being to acquire groceries, but mainly just because it was a lovely weekend here and I wanted to get out, enjoy the weather, and just ride.  And that part was nice, the just riding bit.  Then I got to the part where I remembered that I needed to support my food addiction, and I knew there was a Trader Joes nearby.  Supposedly, there was also an "exit" off The Strand towards TJs.  Awesome, fantastic, etc.  What I didn't know was that said exit had something like a fifteen percent grade.  I'll get to that later.  Fifteen percent grade exit dropped me off on a street that led straight to a nice little plaza with flowers and lots of places to sit and a Jamba Juice and an ice cream shop and and a coffee shop the aforementioned Trader Joes...

But not one.  Single.  Bike rack.  

None.  Nada.  

Okay, first of all: you've got this wonderful bike path that goes along the ocean that is packed every weekend with people riding.  And that's awesome, I love to see that.  Then, you've got this close little plaza with places to stop and get a snack, or ice cream, or whatever floats your boat.  Cool.  But not only does it suddenly become daunting for the average weekend rider to get off the path to get here due to that crazy fifteen percent grade - something that, I dunno, most beach cruisers can't handle - but if the entire family does manage to hike their bikes up that ridiculously steep hill, they have nowhere to safely put their bikes when they want to stop and get the kids ice cream. 

I sat outside watching the bikes whilst my cycling cohort went in and got groceries.  I had really wanted some frozen yogurt, but my only real option was one of these:

The saddest part was the few bikes in the plaza were "locked" to these.
So I remained next to my bike, sitting in this lovely area (that was sadly quite empty for such a beautiful Saturday evening), and getting pissed that I had no way to go get ice cream.  Though I did watch as people stopped by this area with bikes, looked around in confusion, then defeat, then either slowly road away or decided "screw it, I'll lock it to a bollard."  And then they did. I also saw a man walk out of Trader Joes, take a look at one of these "locked" bikes, look around, notice me, then sulk off.  Wow. 

Really, it wasn't like there was no room for bike parking.  First of all, there were at least 24 of those stupid bollards that the city could swap out for these: 

Image via Kay Park Recreation
Bam, problem solved. 

Also, did I mention that this plaza was empty?  Even though the beach with all of these people was right next to this place?  

Here's my solution.  Swap out the bollards for bike-lockable bollards, at least.  Better yet, swap some, and put in some legitimate bike racks.  Then, put a sign on The Strand next to that crazy steep exit advertising to people that their beloved decaf mocha tea latte whatever drink is only mere steps away!  Once people know they have access to it and have a nice place to put their bikes, more people will come.  Portland has proved the benefits of this.  And hey, once people start noticing it, perhaps the issue of super steep exit can be addressed so that less experienced riders don't have to hike their bikes.  There is plenty of room for a much more gradual exit which would not only make getting off the Strand easier, but also re-entering a lot safer. 

Perhaps in the great scheme of things for Redondo Beach, this isn't that big of an issue.  But I still plan to write to the city about it.  Look at Hermosa Beach - tons of bike parking and the Strand basically goes through the downtown area, and that place is booming.  Perhaps you can learn from this, Redondo?

2012 Distance Count: 344.4 Miles | 554.3 Kilometers

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