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Ray LaHood Jazzed About MST’s Rapid-Transit Monterey Jazz Lines

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Monterey County on Veterans Day 2012 to celebrate the new rapid-transit Monterey Jazz lines of the Monterey-Salinas Transit System (MST/ “The Bus”)Read the Department of Transportation story about his visit.

Along with MST and Monterey Jazz Festival staff and board members, also present were Congressman Sam Farr and various local government officials.  Representatives of the Monterey County bike community were there, including people on bikes from Velo Club Monterey, Monterey Off Road Cycling Association, Shoreline Church, and others.

See a sampling of attendees in the gallery of photos below.

The ceremony took place at the first high-tech shelter on “The Bus”/MST’s new rapid-transit lines, at the Edgewater Shopping Center in Sand City.

Bicyclists were there to show our nation’s transportation leader that bicycling is an MST transportation partner. Year-round, Bicycling Monterey encourages using the MST bike-and-ride option as a boost when stamina, schedule, or inclement weather don’t permit biking all the way to your destination.  We’re delighted to celebrate MST’s new rapid-transit lines, which make it easier for bicyclists and others using the MST to get to these destinations faster!

The presence of Monterey County bike community members also served to remind Secretary LaHood and others that biking is an important transportation option with many benefits, including to personal, national, and planetary health.  As Secretary LaHood saw on 11/12/12–and as local Congressman Sam Farr, also present, knows–in Monterey County, we value both these sustainable transportation options, our bus system and bicycling.  And we appreciate all support for both bus and bicycling infrastructure!

Why did Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood take time to chat with people on bikes?

Respecting biking as a transportation option isn’t new to Ray LaHood, a Republican leader from Peoria, Illinois (not far from my native soil). He announced in March 2010:  This is “the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”  In spite of criticisms, he did not back down. As the New York Times later reported,  Secretary La Hood reiterated his commitment, saying, “This is what Americans want.”

Congressman Sam Farr…

also places a high priority on bicycling as a transportation option and as an ecotourism draw to the Monterey Bay region, boosting the economy while protecting the environment.  Our Congressman has worked hard toward the creation of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail.

Lynne, active with Keep Fort Ord Wild, was happy to see Congressman Sam Farr so she could thank him again for his role in securing National Monument status for Fort Ord lands, a historic and environmental treasure.

On this Veterans Day, the presence of Army personnel…

stationed at the Defense Language Institute serve as a reminder that reducing our dependence on foreign oil is one more key to national security. Increasing our use of mass transit and bicycling contribute to that effort.

And of course, a jazz quartet was an essential ingredient on this auspicious occasion!

Sand City Mayor David Pendergrass extended a warm welcome.

The cyclist below, Jason Campbell, is a Seaside resident and business owner who is well respected for his commitment to both people and the environment. He caught news of the celebration because he reads MORCA’s group emails.

The man (at left) that Jason is chatting with, Seaside Mayor Felix Bachofner, is also an avid bicyclist.  Felix and his wife, Sat, and their two young children are out biking together regularly. It won’t be too long before their one-year-old son is out of a parent’s carrier, for he’s now starting to pedal his own tricycle.  Sat decided to sell her car and now walks and bikes almost exclusively–an excellent roll model for the children!

Representing recumbent riders was this woman who caught the news because she is a Bicycling Monterey subscriber.

Phil Yenovikian’s bright smile testifies to his many miles in the saddle. He’s a serious cyclist, named a Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) 2012 Silver Helmet Award winner as an avid bike commuter.  Phil bikes Monterey to Salinas and helps others do that too (click here, then scroll down).  And when cyclists cannot bike Blanco or 68, he knows about another option for them:  the MST routes for doing the bike-and-ride between Salinas and Monterey!

Joyful everyday bike commuters added more welcome energy to the day’s mix!

Vera Noghera, RN, treasurer of Velo Club Monterey, knows the many economic benefits of bicycling–including less money spent at the gas pump and the likelihood of reduced health care costs due to improved fitness.

Pastor Roy of Shoreline Community Church recognizes that whether you bike to worship, bike to work, bike for shopping, or bike to any destination, biking as a transportation option is one more way to serve as a good steward of the earth.

What would a Monterey Jazz line celebration be without jazz?  No worries, thanks to the very fine musicians on hand!

In background, dressed in red:  Libby Downey was also present.  In her role as a member of the Monterey City Council, Libby helps strengthen the City’s bike-friendly nature.  Like Roy above, Libby also happens to be a member of a bike-friendly faith community.

Dennis Renault, a Velo Club Monterey member AKA the Biking Viking, is happy to speak out about the value of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail and protection of Fort Ord with National Monument status.  He is out on the bikeways regularly, and he frequently chats with touring cyclists who are delighted to experience the Monterey Bay region by bike.  Dennis knows Congressman Farr is quite correct about the economic value of biking as an ecotourism draw to our region.

Bicyclists gathered with their trusty wheels at the west end of the assembly, mindful of applying bike parking etiquette concepts to this sidewalk gathering.  They wanted to observe the ceremony without impeding the flow of people visiting back and forth.

Monterey County being the home of the bicycle world’s premiere festival, and one of the world’s largest, it wasn’t surprising that a Sea Otter Classic shirt appeared too!

Bike-and-riders and all MST riders are sure to fall in love with the new rapid-transit Monterey Jazz lines.

That’s a pretty jazzy bus design!

Thanks to U. S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Monterey-Salinas Transit’s excellent leadership–including Hunter Harvath, shown below–for their vision and hard work, collaborating with many others, resulting in more sustainable transportation for our county and nation.

For more about Veterans Day on this site, click here.

For tips on taking a bicycle aboard an MST bus, click here.

This post was published on 13 November 2012. One or more changes last made to this post on 2 April 2023.

  1. Pat McNeill says:

    Thanks Mari, for the alert on a special event. It was great to visit with the Secretary and with Representative Farr, to meet you, and see so many familiar and kindred spirits, all with a sunny jazz backdrop.

  2. Phil Yenovkian says:

    Thanks Mari for covering this. Interesting to read about the background that so many local people have in cycling!

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