Thousands of San Diegans ditched their cars Thursday for the San Diego Association of Governments' (SANDAG) annual Bike-to-Work Day.
“Countywide there’s actually 1,700 miles of bikeways,” beamed Chris Kluth, SANDAG’s Active Transportation Program Manager.
Getting some of those dedicated bike lanes cost local governments millions of dollars and quite a few headaches for some local businesses and property owners.
“Taking away parking; they’re always going to have a problem with something like that,” said Sean Hale, a manager at Rouleur Brewery in North Park.
“Parking is an issue,” admitted cyclist Robyn Blackfelner who often bikes the 50-mile roundtrip between work and home.
“Some of those were long-fought battles, but now that they’re in, people really like them,” smiled Kluth.
He just thinks it will take time for opinions and habits to change.
“I think we’re definitely headed that direction,” added Blackfelner.
Some of the businesses that disliked giving up parking spots for bike lanes are now catering directly to cyclists.
“You have to adapt and change and move forward,” said Hale, whose brewery is already a cyclists-themed business.
However, other breweries offer cyclists discounts. Some restaurants offer special packaging for cyclists. Others have requested bike racks be installed of their businesses.
“Just like how people cater to people with dogs, they’re starting to cater more and more to cyclists,” said Blackfelner.
The Main Street North Park Association started hosting a monthly “30th on 30th” event, which encourages cyclists to patronize local businesses on and near 30th Street on the 30th of every month.
“Grab your bike, come out and use the bike lanes that are here, and hit up your local businesses,” explained Hale.
“I love it, of course,” smiled Blackfelner. “I patronize those businesses as much as a I can because I appreciate what they’re doing.”
“We’re going to keep on building more and more [bike lanes],” declared Kluth. “We’ve got two, three really big projects in construction now; six more going out to construction next year.”