Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 24, 2009

I want to ride my bicycle

Filed under: Alameda, Transportation — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:30 am

I was just reading an article in the New York Times about how the latest “It” thing for fashionable New Yorkers is a Dutch bicycle.  The article had a cute discussion of an attorney that used to ride in his suit and tie before he crashed with another bicyclist — neither were on Dutch cycles — but clearly that doesn’t stop folks in Amsterdam from riding their bikes in all sorts of clothing and, apparently, helmetless.

I think those Dutch bicycles are rather neat, but I have always had an affinity for simple bikes.  My own ride is a pink (yes, pink) beach cruiser complete with child seat in the back and a horn in the shape of a turtle.   I love that bike.   The only thing I am missing is a good basket to schlep stuff in.   Usually I use the child seat if I am childless, but that’s sort of a drag since I always have to be mindful of the stuff potentially falling out. 

This is an interesting excerpt from the NYT article about bike culture:

…George Bliss, who teaches at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and is the owner of Hub Station, a vintage bike shop in the West Village, believes the best P.R. for everyday biking comes from people outside the biking world, not inside….

Tomorrow, is, of course the big Earth Day Festival at Washington Park, so if you are going to be heading out there, what better way than on your bike?   The weather is supposed to be beautiful and Bike Alameda will be offering Free Bike Valet parking so you don’t need to worry about finding a place to lock up your bike.



  1. I’m curious: is it against the law to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk here? Because I’m tired of almost getting run over by bicyclists — both adults & children — when I’m out walking. Isn’t that why we have bike lanes on the streets?

    Comment by Sue T. — April 24, 2009 @ 9:03 am

  2. There are signs posted on the downtown business districts (I guess both) streets that state people are not to ride on the sidewalks. But signs such as these are not posted in neighborhoods.

    Yes, there are a FEW streets with marked bicycle lanes, but just because there is a marked bike lane, do you think that makes it safe children under 10 to ride? Think about it.

    This is actually one of those issues that has never been completely thought out. People are expected to give up their cars and opt for other means of transport. And I think people are willing to do that! I commute by bike! Bicycles make a lot of sense, don’t pollute, get you places sometimes faster than cars, here in town, are fun and help in the area of fitness.

    However, the city has only JUST gotten around to adding bicycle racks and bike lockers. I am glad of that, but it took long enough, didn’t it?

    The other side is that people and their children riding on the sidewalks need to be careful of pedestrians; parents need to really shepherd their kids. If your kid is not ready to ride in a straight line, or isn’t coordinated enough to maneuver around people in a safe and relaxed manner, then perhaps the parent(s) should plan the route so that it avoids sidewalks in congested areas until right before getting to the shopping district.

    And then, we can, folks, walk our bikes on the sidewalk when it is crowded with pedestrians. Again, this is an adult judgment call.

    Bike Alameda is really good about working with biking families on bike safety. But sometimes one has to engage some critical thinking in terms of planning trips and being courteous, as well.

    Comment by E T — April 24, 2009 @ 9:33 am

  3. Also most bicyclists fail to realize they are obligated by law to adhere to motor vehicle laws if they are on their bike.

    Like wise autos seem to fail to realize that bicyclists walking their bikes accross the street must be given the right-of-way as pedestrians.

    Education is a big part of making our community safe for all forms of transportation.

    I thank Bike Alameda for their efforts, but schools, press and gov should also be doing more to educate our population of the goals and obligations needed to improve transportation.

    Comment by DK — April 24, 2009 @ 11:20 am

  4. Interestingly, it is specifically legal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in Alameda except in lilited cases such as in front of businesses.

    Most cities require bicycles to abide by the same laws as motor vehicles with the common exception of young children and their parents supervising them. I live on a stretch of Encinal with 12+ foot wide bike lanes on each side of the street, but still see people riding on the sidewalk, often in the wrong direction. I am afraid that some day one of them will learn a lesson as I am backing out of my driveway.

    Comment by brandon — April 24, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

  5. I’ve seen bicyclists speed recklessly on the sidewalk on both Park and Webster. One day a kid was having fun using senior citizens as slalom poles and scaring the hell out of them. I’ve never seen any enforcement.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — April 24, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

  6. I thought Eve Pearlman’s blog was on here, but evidently not — or it hasn’t been posted yet? Sorry, this is off-topic, but where should this be posted, or will it appear?

    Anyway, here’s the link for today’s column in the Journal, “Let’s Revisit Measure A”, which concludes “It is well within human ingenuity to craft laws that allow for the construction of apartments where it is appropriate and still protect handsome old houses”.

    Comment by DL Morrison — April 24, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

  7. OK, I have to post this- I just saw out my window a man riding a bike, towing what appeared to be a 6′ tall goat head. Yes, he was in the bike lane, but on the wrong side of the street! Heading north or west or whichever way Encinal goes. Look and maybe you can see him.

    @DL, I am not sure how you ended up here, but I checked Google and I think you meant to go to:

    Comment by brandon — April 24, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

  8. As a frequent pedestrian, I think it should be illegal for anyone over the age of 10 to ride on a sidewalk anywhere in Alameda (unless they are accompanying a cyclist under the age of 11). Bicycles are vehicles, and as such they belong in the streets, not on sideWALKS.

    The vast majority of cyclists ride in the streets, but those teenagers or adults who ride on sidewalks seem to be a particularly rude bunch (especially that one guy on a recumbent, but I digress). They act as if they have the right of way, but it’s my understanding that they legally must yield to pedestrians.

    Comment by Jill — April 25, 2009 @ 8:32 am


    Comment by Edmundo Delmundo — April 25, 2009 @ 8:36 am

  10. @9 ? What path? and why do you shout about it? I hope you don’t mean to imply a sidewalk is a path to be shared by pedestrians and bicycles.

    Comment by brandon — April 25, 2009 @ 8:41 am

  11. From Eve’s post referred to in #6:

    “I think most people don’t care about Measure A, an unsophisticated sledgehammer of a law, created in reaction to a crisis that has long since passed.

    It is well within human ingenuity to craft laws that allow for the construction of apartments where it is appropriate and still protect handsome old houses. And it is folly to cling so tightly to a law passed out of fear and anger. It’s time for Alameda to show that it can protect what is valuable about its past at the same time as it embraces the future.”

    Obviously Ms Pearlman is extremely out of touch with the traffic concerns of most Alamedans. Since she both lives and works from her home, and reported she no longer owns or uses a car, her views are not at all inline with the majority of us concerning Measure A.

    Comment by David Kirwin — April 25, 2009 @ 10:07 am

  12. What scares me most is the is the “sledgehammer-heads” sitting on CC.

    On Councilmember Matarrese’s website, he confirms he approves the SunCal Plan. This is both strange and frightening because just the other day he himself made a motion to have outside council review the huge body of documents which could be affected by the ballot proposal if it were to pass. He stated a need to know among many things – what the legislative affects would be – how the PB and CC would lose control of the project and ‘over-development czar’ Leslie Little would have nearly sole control of what the city allows SunCal to do, and how the SunCal plan can be changed once MA is eliminated as a development condition for the Point.

    I am absolutely flabbergasted! It clear that he just does not care.

    Comment by David Kirwin — April 25, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  13. Yes, Eve seems to be a very nice person who means well, but I can’t believe she says things like this, or believes it: “Yes, those folks get all emotional over their old houses…” It’s not historic preservation, that has been explained many times. It’s “mobility preservation” really, keeping the traffic on the island at something short of gridlock.

    And the Council, bravely striking a blow for “transparency” — this is almost Orwellian, I mean, how can pages of legalese qualify as “transparent”? This initiative is precisely the opposite.

    Comment by DL Morrison — April 25, 2009 @ 10:56 am

  14. 13. I think you really mean Kafka-esque… Draconian language, if ever I saw it. And from the blank looks of the CC during the last meeting, when Ms. Gallant was trotting out the numbers… It is like calling the Castle, and having the receiver picked up, but you don’t really know if anyone is on the other end or not… Is the CC capable, having missed for YEARS what the finances were indicating?? Then you have the Attari case, AP&T (city should never have lent them money!!!), Kurita (what’s with that “quitting” package we can’t affort!), The Video Maniacs pay-out, the workers comp debacle, the FISC fire (let’s hope there is a class-action lawsuit about that one–it’s our health, for heaven’s sake! We were ALL downwind of that fire)… and on it all rolls.

    There are people in this town and its government that seem to have a vested interest in bankrupting the city. We can all see that every step the CC takes is a step toward that. The latest call for a consultant to come in a do a study is the same old BS that has happened all the way along. If we pay some stranger from out of town to tell us that selling our souls to SunCal is a great idea, then the CC doesn’t have to take responsibility—“we didn’t say it, company so-and-so [paid for by SunCal] said it, so you can TRUST them!”

    The initiative simply should not be allowed on the ballot. It does not exclusively cover measure A, but changes the general plan and the zoning and puts the control in the hands of the effective owners of the point, which will be SunCal, or more likely “Moneybags Shaw” (although even his outfit has been taking some hits, lately), while taking it away from the electorate and their elected officials not just for the 30 years of the project, but for all time.

    This is a very crude breakdown, but that is probably all the language necessary to throw the thing off any ballot.

    The initiative is not about one thing, but about a billion dollar piece of land and who will have control over it, and who will pay for it.

    Shaw will own it, and the citizens will pay for it. And you can forget the amenities. SunCal has not been able to deliver anywhere else. Why here?

    Bad business begets bad business. Someone needs to exhibit some backbone and common sense with regard to this sucker deal.

    Comment by E T — April 25, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

  15. Why are you all discussing measure a in a thread about bicycles?

    Comment by Brandon — April 25, 2009 @ 6:37 pm

  16. DK: “most Alamedans” being those who seem to prevail over your favored candidates in election after election? Just remember that you’re speaking for yourself, pal, not most of us.

    Anyway, this post was about biking, not satanic SunCal and their local minions. (And, if you are going to veer off topic, don’t you owe an answer about the $60,000 that a voice told you that the mayor was getting for being on the WETA board?)

    This is a great city to cycle around. I find I can leave the car in the driveway all week and do almost all of my commuting, shopping and errand-running on my bike. It took a bit of effort to get into the habit, but it’s worth it. I notice more around me, I am fitter and it’s often no slower than driving. It’d be great if the approaches to the Park St. bridge were made a bit more bike-friendly and, of course, the tube is a nightmare to cycle through. But Bike Alameda is doing great advocacy work for cyclists.

    Comment by BC — April 25, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

  17. Most people obviously do care about Alameda’s Measure ‘A’ – That’s why our mayor made protecting MA the biggest plank in her platform – right on her yard signs – remember?

    Also the studies the city has done, and have paid others to do, all show the vast majority of Alamedans work off the island and use their car to get to work. You and Eve are the exception, not “most Alamedans.”

    JKW’s article in this week’s AJ states clearly that our island is likely to see service cuts for both bus and ferry. This is a reminder that the amount of public transit service provided to our island population is not controlled by our city or developers. The ‘magic bullet’ traffic solution SunCal offers is the notion that most of the proposed future AP residents and far more of the residents throughout the rest of the island will take busses despite the added inconvenience, cost, increased commute time, and the increased risk of victim of criminal behavior on ACT vehicles.

    To try to balance the increased time and inconvenience, some members of our ‘Transportation Commission’ would choose to intentionally make it more inconvenient for drivers so busses would seem less unappealing by comparison.

    Personally I realize what the horrendous risk of the SunCal plan, and the extreme cost to our city. I am shocked; shocked that our mayor and Frank have come out publicly to support the ballot initiative prior to getting the information they have requested to help them interpret what the ballot measure means.

    I wish someone with some authority could discuss with the USCG and Navy and VA for a fed to fed transfer of the federal property so that the Coast Guard could move their ship base to the base. SF USCG airbase ( a helicopters only airbase) could move over too. In exchange a short bridge could be built to Alameda’s Government Island from the foot of Grand St., a new pedestrian bridge could be built on the west end of Alameda without the insurmountable restrictions because of the current location of the USCG base. This would have obvious benefits for the Coast Guard, not require the same level of clean up, provide more jobs, ease traffic , and most importantly – reduce the number of proposed residences.

    Comment by David Kirwin — April 26, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  18. Guys, *please* take the Measure A, SunCal and Alameda Point discussion somewhere else. You are in the wrong place.. Anyone following this thread is presumably interested in Earth Day and bicycles..

    Comment by brandon — April 26, 2009 @ 9:41 am

  19. Brandon: We’re usually good boys and girls and we stick to the topic, but every once in a while we veer off. When do you post here anyway? If you never do, then what do you care?

    #14 and #17: Yes, that covers it really well. #17 — it’s funny I suggested something like that once as a joke, but in reality I thought it made sense but had to be impossible. The AP site seems like a better location for the USGS (possibly), tho of course to modernize and rebuild much of the base, that’s extremely expensive. A single, federally oriented group of facilities would make sense, tho, and best of all, a bridge could then be built across the estuary.

    As for the Council supporters: They’re responsible, intelligent people, so for some reason, maybe they think it’s the best thing for Alameda? I agree, I can’t begin to imagine how. It may be the best thing for SunCal, but it really does nothing but harm to the rest of us.

    Comment by DL Morrison — April 26, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

  20. Who said I worked in Alameda, DK? I work off the sceptered isle (10 miles away, in fact). More little voices feeding you convenient misinformation? How about a WETA response too? Shocked, shocked is what I am!

    Anyway, had a great day cycling in the sun. A benefit of exercise is that it reduces undue anxiety–such as worrying too much about violent assault on AC Transit. You should get out of your car more. It’ll do you the world of physical and mental good.

    Comment by BC — April 26, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

  21. Brandon – I hope you had a good earth day. I spent many hours in the garden and helped my son work on his bike.

    DL – How can you think “As for the Council supporters (of the SunCal ballot initiative): They’re responsible, intelligent people, so for some reason, maybe they think it’s the best thing for Alameda?”

    It is irresponsible to govern without, or prior to being furnished with required information. Isn’t that a given?

    Our Mayor and Councilmember Matarrese have already publicly supported the SunCal ballot initiative, but just last Tuesday at the CC mtg, Councilmember Matarrese made a motion to get outside council to interpret the initiative to find out what is really means and what the effects would be on the way the city development staff would assume the controls normally in the hands of PB and CC. Councilmember Matarrese phrased it as the “legislative affects” of the initiative. His motion passed unanimously.

    If they all agree that they need more information as to what this initiative means, how can it possibly be responsible for these officials to have already made up their mind as to how they feel about the initiative and to be actively trying to influence the votes of others with robo calls, fliers, and website statements? At the very best this is a dereliction of duty. It is a complete failure to act in the best interests of the community they are supposed to represent. I agree these are not stupid people. What is the motivation for them to act to promote the ballot initiative, – to attempt to influence voters without yet having the information they all agree they need to better understand what will be on the initiative?

    This is an outrage, why are they peddling their influence? Is this legal, is this an abuse of power?

    Comment by David Kirwin — April 26, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

  22. BC – Wonderful you can work 10 miles from Alameda and state;”I can leave the car in the driveway all week and do almost all of my commuting, shopping and errand-running on my bike.”

    – I’m guessing you don’t have school age kids as you obviously have much more leisure time than most. – Good for you, but the majority of Alamedans don’t have the luxury of having the options you have.

    Comment by David Kirwin — April 26, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

  23. …And Yeah, WETA is losing State funding too. Expect diminshed ferry service, increased fares, and parking fees.

    Comment by David Kirwin — April 26, 2009 @ 7:25 pm

  24. #21 “helped my son work on his bike”

    That’s as close as Kirwin has ever come to posting on topic.

    I wonder if he lied about this, just like he lies about everything else.

    Comment by notadave — April 26, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

  25. Cycling the 10, pretty flat, miles to work takes me 40-45 mins, vs. 30 or so if I drive. I work 10 hours a day. It’s manageable. I have more time for my other responsibilities as my rare blog posts are very brief.

    Please, please stop saying you speak for the majority of Alamedans. It’s cheap rhetoric. I am flabbergasted, outraged and shocked that you claim this.

    Comment by BC — April 26, 2009 @ 8:23 pm

  26. BC – Look at the statistics of Alameda bicycle riders vs those of us automobile users.

    Look at the number of MA supporters. Even BevJo knew she needed the support of MA supporters to get elected.

    Comment by D Kirwin — April 27, 2009 @ 6:30 am

  27. DK, I’m surprised (actually, on reflection, I’m not) that you take a post about cycling to be an assault on all you hold dear. Does my cycling threaten your driving? I also drive–that’s why I own a car, you see. Deep breaths…

    Comment by BC — April 27, 2009 @ 8:20 am

  28. And as for your speaking for the majority of Alamedans, my point is that if you presented people with your collected writings and asked them, “Does this man speak for you?” I don’t imagine you’d get many takers. A prime example of why this is is your letter today on the award-winning ADN blog where you refer to “enemies within”. Your rhetorical hyperventilation probably doesn’t aid your case.

    Comment by BC — April 27, 2009 @ 9:15 am

  29. BC, Out of curiosity, do you bike to work on rainy days?

    Comment by dave — April 27, 2009 @ 10:14 am

  30. Yep.

    Comment by BC — April 27, 2009 @ 11:40 am

  31. And on very rainy days, I’ll take the bus and BART.

    Comment by BC — April 27, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  32. #15. All roads, even bike paths, lead to Measure A, especially for people who use it as their single lens for looking at life in Alameda.

    Comment by M.I. — April 27, 2009 @ 11:44 am

  33. Any time somebody talks about driving less, we hear the questions: “What about this situation? Wouldn’t you have to drive then? Oh yeah, well then what about this situation? What then, Mr. Bike Pants?”

    Contrary to popular belief, using less energy and producing less pollution doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition!

    For example, about 60 days of rain per year is typical for the Bay Area. Assuming 260 work days per year, that’s about 40 rained-out work days. Even if BC drove alone on every single one of those days, that would still represent an 80% reduction in tailpipe emissions compared to driving alone every work day. In other words, you don’t have to be a rain-soaked road warrior to make a huge difference.

    Along the same lines, people are fond of asking, “What about people with little kids?” Well, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that such people will make more car trips while the kids are small. Even so, if these folks are able to drive less before they have kids, and if they are able to return to driving less once the kids are older, that’s still a net gain. It makes no sense to plan the entire transportation system around families with small children, especially given the large and growing number of households that don’t have any children at all.

    Comment by Michael Krueger — April 27, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

  34. NotaDave and BC: You have cooties too.

    DK: Of course I agree that this is a very bad initiative, it pretty much throws the city off a cliff with no idea of where we’ll land, when we finally learn what we’ve agreed to. To say the process is not transparent hardly begins to cover it. I am trying to steer clear of personal attacks somewhat, tho at the same time, I certainly agree that Councilmembers are being irresponsible when they endorse this plan, with or without the analyses.

    Comment by DL Morrison — April 27, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

  35. 33

    Take it easy, Ace, it was just curiousity. I bike to work, too.

    Comment by dave — April 27, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

  36. I saw a letter in the Berkeley Daily Planet very recently, referring to proponents of the city’s GHG plan as “rabid ideologues”. You don’t often hear that directed at environmentalists, at least not in Berkeley. The city’s proposed GHG plan, among other things, wants to force homeowners to put in replacement double-paned windows, at a cost of $30,000, $40,000, whatever — never mind that Berkeley and the coastal east bay generally have a very mild climate, so it’s not only expensive, it’s pointless.

    Anyway, this is the problem, and this is what destroys the dialog — when MK says above that he just wants a compromise, much of the time it doesn’t sound like it — like insisting that people absolutely must pay for parking at the ferry.

    It’s quite true that many people don’t have small kids to consider — however, they may otherwise be elderly, handicapped, hauling home the groceries, on and on. Again, it winds up being kind of a preachy lecture — as in, can’t you people at least try? It’s the combination of arrogant academic assumptions plus the lack of common sense that leaves people — like me at least — feeling that they’ll never get a message thru.

    Comment by DL Morrison — April 27, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  37. #33 “Any time somebody talks about driving less…”

    MK – I think it is great when people can drive less. I think it is great when people can commute to work – even part of the time.

    That’s not my point, and you know it.

    I object when people like you and JKW (who are entrusted to represent all Alamedans while you serve on the Transportation Commission) focus you energies on trying to force Alamedans to drive less by making it more difficult for auto drivers. You express intent to create inconvenience for drivers with the idea that they will abandon their cars to ride busses.

    I used to sit in an idling car for hours each day in my Bay Bridge commute with 100’s of thousands of other cars, and we did not abandon our vehicles despite the traffic delays. You and JKW seem intent on creating miserable traffic delays at our tubes ad bridges with the idea this traffic delay will eliminate itself because people will opt for busses. That’s ludicrous, how many times do you need to be proven wrong. Look at the high density areas with many options for true mass rapid transit AND busses – are the traffic delays gone? No of course not – they are worse, but such realities fail to correct you thinking or objectives. Frightening is you proposal for the Traffic Element of our city’s Gen Plan which you want to state that “”Unmitigatable traffic congestion must be considered an acceptable byproduct of development.” How about restricting development to not exceed environmental constraints?

    It is not worth your words to try to argue that a car traveling without traffic congestion will pollute less than it would if it was in stop and go traffic with long delays. Either way it is clearly apparent from daily traffic reports that people still use their car either way.

    Just as MA once saved many Victorian homes from being converted to apartment buildings, MA still restricts development, but because of all the other developments in the city over the decades, MA’s role in restricting traffic is as important to many as the protection of historic houses.

    Comment by David Kirwin — April 27, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

  38. …and when will bicyclists learn they have traffic laws to obey, so that cars and bikes can get along a little better?

    Comment by David Kirwin — April 27, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  39. Hey, back on point I see 😉

    Don’t forget pedestrians in the mix..

    Near where I work in San Leandro, I have noticed stickers on the *back* of many street signs that are a bicycle with a red circle and slash warning riders to not ride on the wrong side of the street. I always thought this was a smart, cost effective means of helping to educate riders if not enforce some basic bicycle rules. I went so far as to take some pictures and email them to someone at the city in Alameda (can’t remember who anymore) but I never did hear anything back..

    Comment by Brandon — April 27, 2009 @ 6:54 pm

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