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Making Downtown Monterey More Bike Friendly

3/19/13 update: The City Council unanimously approved Monterey on the Move–the multimodal plan.

11/9/12 update: Monterey County Bike Share Feasibility Study – Draft available. 11/28/12 meeting, 12/21/12 deadline for comments on draft.

6/20/12 update: Downtown Specific Plan draft ready for review and comments.

5/7/12 update.  Click here for tips on some downtown locations, including Custom House Plaza and other Monterey plazas.

4/25/12 update.  See “Share a bike? Local transportation officials consider program” by Larry Parsons in 4/25/12 Monterey County Herald.

12/8/11 update.  (1) See bikeshare note below–“Bikeshare program, an adjunct to local bike rentals.”  (2)  The Transportation Agency of Monterey County hopes to issue a Request for Proposal for  a Bike Sharing Feasibility and Implementation Plan in January or February 2012.  With a consultant selected in March, it is hoped there will be preliminary feasibility results in September 2012. If the result is shown to be positive, it is hoped that a bike share system will be launched in Monterey County as early as 2013.  For updates and further info, contact Kaki Cheung, TAMC Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.  (3) See Bikes at Traffic Signals–How does it work? for more tips on making use of the City of Monterey’s and other municipalities’  leaders and resources with regard to bicycling.

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6/23/11 update.  Wednesday, June 29, 2011, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.  An important opportunity to give input on bicycling in the City of Monterey. Click here for details.

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“I love biking, including when I  go downtown.

“Everything the Traffic Engineer and others can do to make downtown more bike friendly will help more people to bike here.  That means more vehicle parking available for those who cannot bike, less traffic congestion for everyone, and less pollution–including noise and air pollution and oil runoff into the bay.”

City of Monterey Traffic Engineer Rich Deal is committed to doing all he can to make Monterey an even more bike friendly town.  (He’s one of the many responsible for the  “Signs of a Bicycling Friendly Monterey County“!)    And he appreciates input, on an ongoing basis, from cyclists and others.

There were cyclists in attendance at the Downtown Specific Plan: Community Workshop #1, a public meeting on 10/7/10 that addressed the transportation plan.  Dedicated Naval Postgraduate School Cycling Club members MAJ Jarrod Gillam and LT Cameron Ingram were there representing the NPS cycling community.  Also present were local commuter bikers of various ages.  Here’s some of what was discussed:

Bikeshare program, an adjunct to local bike rentals

Among bike-related input was a suggestion for a bikesharing program.  Click here for bike-share info from the California Bicycle Coalition.   I’ve experienced such a program, like this one, and know bikesharing could especially benefit parts of our county where there are no bike rentals, such as Salinas (one of Monterey County’s best-kept tourism secrets for bicyclists–miles of bike lanes, and plenty of flat, wide streets).   The City of Monterey is fortunate to have bike rentals in the city limits, and yet, bikesharing could even be beneficial in downtown Monterey.  Here’s why:

Surprisingly, tourists at the top of Wharf I often ask , “Is there anything else to do in that direction?” as they point across the Custom House Plaza to downtown Monterey.   Many are not yet venturing even so far as to discover that there is a bike rental shop just across that plaza!   Rather than have them getting into their cars and heading out of town, let’s help them to easily hop on a bike so they can explore.  Strategically located bikeshares can help visitors expand their Monterey experience beyond the waterfront areas.  Those formerly unaware can make delightful discoveries on Alvarado Street and all of downtown.

Please do encourage people to make use of our local bicycle rental businesses.  They’re a terrific community asset, and we want them to thrive!   Still, for people who aren’t yet inclined to seek out a rental bike, a quick-and-easy bikeshare option, with multiple conveniently located pick-up and drop-off spots, can help break the ice.  It can introduce them to biking here, and it may lead them on new paths around Monterey that they might miss if depending only on their cars or their feet.  Once they’ve gotten into biking here, many will become regulars of the local bike rental shops too.

And for residents,  a bikeshare membership program could make living here easier and more fun.  Check in with Kaki Chen of TAMC to learn about the future of bikesharing in Monterey County–things are looking good for making this a reality in MoCo!

[Update:  Read this story from Grist about Washington, DC’s CaBi program–Capital Bikeshare, by Sarah Goodyear.]

Beautifying the downtown bike-and-ride center

The Monterey Salinas Transit system (MST) is one of our best bike-and-ride options!  But it’s far underutilized in most places.  It was suggested at this meeting to have more bike parking; and an all-weather bike corral–like those at NPS–at or near the downtown transit plaza would be a great step toward encouraging more use of the MST by cyclists.   Making the transit plaza a gorgeous magnet for downtown would encourage more people to use the bike-and-ride option of putting their bicycle on the bus to get all around Monterey County.

Other bike-and-ride options can be found downtown too, like the taxicabs that typically line Munras Street alongside Cooper Molera adobe and the new Uptown Monterey shopping center.   Ask cab drivers to put bike racks on their cabs as a way of showing visitors that Monterey is an unusually bike-friendly town.

Speak up

Concerned about safety?  So is Rich Deal.  And he has some great plans in store to help “make bicycling downtown really safe and fun,” as he told reporter Kevin Howe in a 9/30 story for the Monterey County Herald. Pedal on down and check out downtown, then give Rich Deal your feedback about what would make downtown more comfortable and accessible for cyclists. And remember, as the Scottish Parliament determined:  The more people who bike in a community the safer it is to do so!

What’s the plan?

This Downtown Specific planning meeting was the first of three such Monterey public meetings.  The next meeting is Thurs, Oct 28. As Rich Deal indicated:

  1. October 7th’s meeting was important for the bike community. It focused on the land uses and activity centers in downtown Monterey.  Folks were asked to identify what businesses, attractions, and activities they would like to see in the center of Monterey, and which ones they would like to see less of.
  2. A primary goal of the traffic engineer is to make downtown pro-bike in a way that makes it way more fun to ride and walk than drive. This kind of big vision takes new, thoughtful participation from cyclists who really want to see a great downtown.  This meeting was all about what goes into downtown.
  3. Later meetings will work on how we build a great downtown.  There will also be a riding meeting, where city leaders and other cyclists bike through downtown and look for solutions to obstacles and barriers to biking.

Who’s biking downtown?

BIKING DOWNTOWN MONTEREY: Visitors Chris and Alyce Broome of San Luis Obispo at Paris Bakery



Cyclists gather on the Triangle Plaza, home of  East Village Coffee Lounge,

Aquarian Bicycles, The UPS Store, and Santa Lucia Cafe.

(Photo below courtesy of Leo Kodl)

BIKING DOWNTOWN MONTEREY: No problem finding a parking spot

at Trader Joe’s if you’re on a bicycle, as NPS student Italo knows.

Neighboring r.g. Burgers knows that too.  They are charter participants

in HER Helmet Thursdays, motivating their customers to bike by providing discounts on Thursdays.

One of the many HER Helmet Thursdays spots downtown:  r.g. Burgers.

BIKING DOWNTOWN MONTEREY: Fun on the Custom House Plaza!

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Tips on biking to the meeting

Bike, or bike-and-ride, to these public meetings.  Head out early, to enjoy the sights while it’s light.  Then invite other cyclists from your neighborhood to join you for the return trip in the dark, and remember to have your bike light charged up.  What?  No light for night riding?  Get one at these local shops.

Got kids?  If you’re biking with children or teens, teach them these personal safety tips. And if they aren’t old enough to bike safely in the dark, remember the bike-and-ride motto:  “Any cycling is better than no cycling.”  Bike there with them, then use a bike-and-ride option to get home.

Next meeting:  Oct 28

For the next meeting, October 28; please confirm location. Since 10/28 is a Thursday, stop at a HER Helmet Thursdays spot en route!

Direx for bicycling to the Monterey Conference Center (please confirm mtg location):

Coming from the multi-use/bike path at Fisherman’s Wharf/Wharf #1, the Monterey Conference Center is just across the Custom House Plaza–where these young cyclists are circling the fountain.  The Conference Center is in the building on the left in the photo below.

Naturally, remember bike security; and in Monterey, you have options!  You may lock up your bike at the rack right out front of the Conference Center.  And there is also bike valet parking available on request right there at the Portola Hotel.

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Can’t make a meeting but want to

share ideas with City Traffic Engineer Rich Deal?

Contact Monterey’s Traffic Engineer:

Rich Deal City Traffic Engineer 831.646.3470

This post was published on 4 October 2010. One or more changes last made to this post on 11 July 2013.

  1. Mari: Thank you for continuing to be a great voice of the Monterey Cycling Community.

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