Home > Downtown, transportation > Cross-Country Lessons: Biking

Cross-Country Lessons: Biking

Before moving to Long Beach, I was excited to find out that the city was among the most walkable and bike-friendly in the nation. While I don’t currently own a bike, and biking to work isn’t feasible for me, but I believe that streets should be built for everyone: cars, buses, walking pedestrians, and cyclists. “Complete streets” is an important part of fostering the energetic, interconnected communities that make great places to live.

Long Beach is lucky enough to have its own bikestation downtown on the 1st Street Transit Mall. Here, members can park their bikes 24/7, access bike related amenities like air and tune-ups, and get discounts to sales and rentals. The public is also welcome to free parking during business hours.

It was announced earlier this year that St. Louis would be getting it’s own commuter bike station and shop downtown in the 411 building at 10th & Locust.

As the project comes closer to reality, St. Louis is seeing a change from a spread out and auto-dependent region to a more accessible and healthy one. Both the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County have made great strides in the past several years to promote cycling, make roads safer, and develop bicycle trails. This new commuter station will do something very important for cycling in St. Louis: it will show the importance of providing bike-friendly amenities to people other than just cycling enthusiasts and give value to alternative methods of transportation.

I remember reading somewhere last year that in order to make St. Louis more bike-friendly, we need commuters, consumers and neighbors- not cyclists. It should be easy and safe for people to get to work, school, or the store no matter their chosen method of transportation: on a bike, in a car, or on foot.

This is where St. Louis can learn from Long Beach. Based on what I have observed, and October’s disastrous critical mass event, it seems that many people are confused about bicycle laws, and this could be what is driving the generally negative perception the public has toward bikes. If people on bikes knew to stop at stop signs, wait for the light to turn green, stay to the side of the road, and use turn signals, there might not be as many issues or accidents, and most likely, fewer complaints about cyclists. It is the responsibility of both the public and the city to make sure that cycling is safe, effective, and recognized.

If St. Louis’s new Bike station is as successful as it appears it will be, the region will take a giant step in diversifying public amenities and making St. Louis more accessible to all.

Soon, I hope to have a post on the new protected bike lanes in downtown Long Beach.

 

St. Louis Commuter Bikestation on Facebook
Long Beach Bikestation

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