California dreamin

On a winter’s day and the sky is grey…

Well that’s not really the point of this blog to recall old Mama’s and Papa’s tunes, but hey why not? We are on a red eye back from a week in California visiting several points between San Francisco and Carmel. While one may think California is the home of the auto-centric and viewing some of the traffic it wouldn’t be hard to agree, except for a number of things.

1. Bikes are allowed on the BART (SF’s version of the T). In fact they have illustrated spots where bikes my be leaned. The CalTrain (their version of Commuter Rail) has entire bike cars that were full of riders. There was plentiful interior station bike parking. Think the tunnel at Down Town Crossing filled with bike racks and bikes… Hello MBTA????

2. No matter how suburban the area there is tons of bike accomodation in the form of well marked and signed bike lanes going to real places. There was one news report of the folks at facebook donating big money to one town to improve its bike infrastructure, among a lot of other things… Hello Corporate Boston as well as State transportation planners????

3. Back to the signage… Even the ever exclusive Monterey Penninsula has signs banning parking from bike lanes. I have yet to see one of those in Boston anywhere, not even north of the Charles. Please correct me, but I’d say we’re LACKING in signage big time! Hello Mass Dot? Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, Somerville DPWs?????

4. Tons of by the hour rental bikes available PRIVATELY. We counted no less than 5 different rental franchises in San Francisco offering bikes for as little as an hour. Monterey had 4 in a two block area. Hubway’s set up is expensive? How come there are dozens of companies staffing booths there? Perhaps the weather? This gets back to dotrider’s disenchantment with Hubway as a driver instead of improving infrastructure and working on EDUCATION of riders and drivers alike about bicycling in the city. I’m sorry to be such a Republican on this issue since it is private entities serving the market not public…

So we’ve been on two trips around the school vacation week and we’ve seen Montreal and San Francisco’s infrastructure. This makes me believe our ’50 miles’ is somewhat of a hoax. Counting a blotted out sharrow on Dot-Ave as a bike lane doesn’t count. Sorry. We’re better than we’ve been folks, but let’s set a higher bar. Hopefully the city’s replacement for Nicole Friedman will help address these issues.

Meanwhile Peddle on!

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