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Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey: Bike parking, riding tips, and more

Sometimes good things do come to those who wait: like no more parking hassles on Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey!

Soon after the first businesses on Lighthouse joined the HER Helmet Thursdays Project in 2009, we began advocating for bicycle parking racks on Lighthouse. Lack of bicycle parking on that street was a gap in the bike friendliness of City of Monterey—for example, locally owned business Taqueria del Mar, on Lighthouse Avenue since 1987, had nowhere for customers to park their bicycles.

Taq del Mar - logo sign - Nic 3 - DSC00146Download PDF: What people say about Taqueria del Mar

Lighthouse is a busy street just up from the Cannery Row section of the bike/multi-use path (the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, which is part of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail network highlighted in Bicycling Monterey’s bike maps section)

Sure, the Cannery Row bike path is cool. And people want to bike up on Lighthouse too! They’re eager to reach the many businesses on Lighthouse.

Trio and pup on Cannery Row trail

Summer 2016, our wish came true…

[Info below was previously published on Aug 27, 2016]

A stretch of new bike parking racks

along Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey

After checking the tips in this post, pedal over to celebrate the improved infrastructure on Lighthouse—easier bike parking. Among other places, you’ll find new bike racks near these HER Helmet Thursdays bike-friendly spots:
  1. Bon Ton L’Roy/s Lighthouse Smokehouse – Formerly located on the Coast Guard pier, the work of co-owners Lenny Leon and Valentina Rapisarda is much appreciated, not only for their food and drinks but for regularly featured live music too.
  2. Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Room – Santa Cruzans know the sister Hula’s up there, and when they come to Monterey, they’re delighted to find this Lighthouse Ave business serving up their favorite dishes—as are many other visitors, and residents.
  3. International Market and Deli – Local language students are among the many regulars who dig this spot. Ask Gloria and Adil Altamimi for details about their celebration Sept 1-4, highlighted on the Lighthouse District’s website.IMG_0469
  4. Monterey Bay Photo Lab – Photography can be both entertaining and educational, which is why this Lighthouse Ave business said: “Count us in! We want to help HER / Mother Earth by encouraging bicycling, as one of the Hotels, Educational and Entertainment spots, Restaurants, and related places in HER Helmet Thursdays.” People who run errands or go shopping by bike are delighted to find this business gives discounts on Thursdays to people who bike.
  5. Namaste India Bistro – There are only a handful of Indian restaurants in Monterey County, and when Namaste opened, Indian food lovers were thrilled to have another delicious local option.
  6. Sakura Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar – As the Monterey County Weekly has reported, although there are not many late-night dining spots in Monterey County, there are some night-owl spots—including Sakura!
  7. Taqueria del Mar – As their HER Helmet Thursdays listing shows, this unassuming, independently owned longtime local restaurant is highly regarded, including by many restaurant reviewers. It’s also muyo tranquillo—in contrast to many of today’s establishments where music plus multiple TVs often make it hard to converse. It’s just one of the reasons that lots of, parents with tired babies, and others who value a peaceful setting love Taqueria del Mar.


Below: Patrons of HER Helmet Thursdays spot Hula’s Island Grill & Tiki Room on Lighthouse will be happy to find a new bike rack out front there too.

Women at Hula's

And of course, in addition to HER Helmet Thursdays spots,

other businesses in New Monterey’s Lighthouse District

also have new bike parking racks.

This makes it so much easier for people who like to Among them, these customers of BookBuyers will now find a new bike rack out front of the store.

Shopping - Biking for books
What about biking on

Lighthouse Avenue sidewalks?

One of the many Bicycling Monterey projects is advocating for infrastructure improvements. In June 2011 I attended the City of Monterey Transportation Parking and Charrette (a three-day event first referred to in 2011 here). As part of the charrrette activities, I biked with transportation professionals to point out firsthand some of my concerns about particular routes, such as Fremont Avenue in North Monterey.

I also testified about the need for improvements for people biking along Lighthouse Avenue.

The City determined it wasn’t feasible to put bike lanes on Lighthouse. One result is that many people—even if not biking with children—prefer to bike Lighthouse sidewalks, rather than in the street.

It is legal to bike sidewalks on Lighthouse, as long as you abide by City of Monterey’s ordinance. Essentially the City ordinance requires that you bike polite. The image below is an excerpt from Bicycling Monterey’s riding skills, safety, and laws section. Go to that section to click on the links and read the ordinance for Monterey.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 1.05.45 PM

More things to know about sidewalk riding

“Get off the sidewalk!” / “Get on the sidewalk!” People who bike hear both, and visitors and residents alike are often confused. Did you know? Laws about sidewalk riding vary around California.

The Bicycling Monterey website makes it easier to find the ordinances for City of Monterey and other Monterey County communities. Start here: “Local ordinances on sidewalk riding and more: Monterey County cities and unincorporated areas.”

Is it safer on sidewalks? Learn the answer to that and other questions in Bicycling Monterey’s audio and other tips about sidewalk riding, including the importance of safety at crosswalks, driveways, and intersections. See “Bicycling on Sidewalks: Misconceptions and Advisories. Also: Crosswalks, and What Pedestrians and Bicyclists Want Each Other to Know,” where you can access the audio too.

Be Cool Be Safe bike law summary

* * *

Make a contribution to

support the Bicycling Monterey

website and projects:

* * *

Why bike? Just one of many good reasons: Peak traffic times on Lighthouse Avenue and elsewhere

Traffic will be temporarily increased beginning August 2016 due to construction of the Holman Highway 68 roundabout.

That’s another good reason to bike or bike-and-ride Lighthouse Avenue.

“If you’re driving during the peak morning hours and peak afternoon hours, it is definitely faster to use your bike, and probably walking, too,” Andrea Renny of the City of Monterey’s traffic and engineering department told KSBW TV Action News 8 in a 5/10/16 KSBW story about bike-to-work week, the Holman Highway /Highway 68 roundabout construction, and summer traffic.Traffic on Lighthouse June 2010 - DSC00288

Why bike? Environmental as well as economic—and other—benefits

Just down from Lighthouse Avenue, on Cannery Row, is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Aquarium encourages its employees, guests, and everyone to consider biking:

Why? The Aquarium knows that among the multitude of reasons are the environmental benefits.

Bicycling helps reduce oil runoff, brake dust, and other contaminants that flow into the Monterey Bay. Biking is also part of the mix in reducing carbon emissions, as noted in a Bicycling Monterey post on climate change.

Irene and Jeff Dibble of Sonoma Cty 454 cropped

Hey, what about

Lighthouse in Pacific Grove?

You bet, there are also HER Helmet Thursdays spots on Lighthouse in Pacific Grove.

Locate those plus all the hundreds of businesses and organizations throughout Monterey County that give 10-50% discounts on Thursdays to people who bike. How? Refer to the HER Helmet Thursdays Quick Reference Guide or the Venues Map.
Where to find that Guide and Map? Under the Bicycling Monterey website banner, note the “H-E-R Helmet Thurs INFO” section. It includes  “LISTINGS, How to Get the Discounts, and FAQs about HER Helmet Thursdays,” which includes the Guide and Map.
Since the full-page 5th Anniversary ad below ran in the Monterey County Weekly in December 2014, there are additional HER Helmet Thursdays participants. Check the guide to find them all, plus to access individual listing details for each one.

HER Helmet Thursdays 5th Anniversary poster

Advocate for bicycling

Yes, sometimes it takes patience, yet improved infrastructure like the new Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey bike racks and other increased bike friendly measures can happen. If you aren’t advocating for bicycling already, see Bicycling Monterey’s “Bicycling Advocacy: What you can do.”

Remember when there weren’t any bike racks at all in this stretch of Lighthouse Avenue? Persistence and patience in advocating for bicycling reaped results!

As this weekday early morning photo shows, when the day unfolds and many people start traveling this busy street, people who bike can now find plenty of convenient parking.


Most participants in the HER Helmet Thursdays project—a long-term project, not a short-term discount promotion—realize their participation is part of a vision to make Monterey County one of the most bike-friendly places in America.
How did the project begin? Read “Wheel the Earth: HER Helmet Thursdays cuts carbon emissions and costs” in the Earth Day 2010 issue of the Monterey County Weekly.Wheel the Earth - April 2010
You may also be interested in the two-minute audio right here, which introduced HER Helmet Thursdays back in April 2010 on public radio.

Videos about the HER Helmet Thursdays Project

  1. Watch Bicycling Monterey’s video #3 here, which includes a sampling of spots around the county.
  2. Or watch KSBW’s January 2010 video introduction here.

This post was published on 27 June 2018. One or more changes last made to this post on 9 January 2022.

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