A bike-laned bridge over troubled parking

Most of you have already made up your mind on the whole DecoBike fiasco:

  • Worried about the extra 400 bikes.
  • Don’t want our boardwalk sold to private companies.
  • Just don’t want more people coming to Long Beach.
  • Just don’t want more bicycles on the boardwalk and around Long Beach.
  • Worried about the DecoBike racks taking up much needed parking spots.
  • The impact on Buddy’s Bikes.
  • The impact on Long Beach Bicycle.
  • The impact on Local Cycles.
  • Etc.

Like it or not, we are stuck with DecoBikes for the next 5 years. Will it work? Well, none of us went to school for bike sharing and its impact on small barrier Island cities, so I don’t think any of us really know that answer. Only time will tell. Our city officials are billing the ‘DecoBikes plan’ as a way to solve our parking problem, but it can’t and won’t.  Out-of-towners still need to drive and park their cars here in Long Beach to use the service. One way we can solve our parking problem is to bring less cars to Long beach, but we can’t because our current infrastructure doesn’t support safe bike travel from other parts of Long Island.  There are no bike lanes between Long Beach and Island Park, Lido Beach, Point Lookout, Atlantic Beach & even Oceanside.  Heck, I would even go up Loop Parkway though the Meadowbrook to Merrick.

A lot of residents from these neighboring towns, especially Island Park, park in Long Beach to use our beaches and spend money at our restaurants. Maybe some of these folks would love to leave their cars at home and take a bike! Why take a bike when it’s so much easier to drive? Well, it’s simple: there is comfort knowing you won’t have the frustration of finding a parking spot near the beach. Exercise and fresh air are always good too! (Some people, like myself, actually like exercise and fresh air).

This, of course, brings me back to the bike lane over the Michael Valente / Long Beach Bridge proposal (see – Bike Lanes by the Sea).  How many cars come over the bridge from Island Park and park in our spaces?  I’m sure it’s a lot – especially on a hot Saturday in July.  If we can offer them a safe alternative – some will bite.  As of now, bike travel over that bridge is freakin’ dangerous & downright scary. Between the Harbor Island Condos & a redeveloped Island Park downtown, we are going to see an influx of folks coming to Long Beach and that only means less parking spaces for all.

Similar to my bike lane proposal for Long Beach (see – Bike Lanes by the Sea), I propose bike lanes for :

  • Michael Valente / Long Beach Bridge
  • E. Park Avenue & Lido Blvd to Point Lookout
  • Loop & Meadowbrook parkways
  • West end connection to the Atlantic Beach Bridge (which already has a bike lane, by the way).

They say that no man is an Island. Well, lets put those words to good use.

LB Patch has new Bike Rental / Bike Lane info

One of the agendas from yesterday’s Long Beach City Council meeting was the following:


Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to  Enter into a Contract for a Self-Service Bicycle Rent/Sharing Program for the City of Long Beach  (Source: Long Beach City Council Meeting Agenda – JULY 5, 2011)

Well, The LB Patch was there and has new information on this topic. Check out their “Question of the day” and comment there, where a discussion has already begun.

Source:  Question of the Day: Bike Lanes in Long Beach?


More Bike Rental Info (girls not included).

The Long Beach Patch has more information on the city bike rental service. (see – City May Add 800 Wheels to Long Beach Streets). The article answers the following questions:

  • Why don’t we use local bike shops?
  • Why did the city signed a six-year contract?
  • Are bike lanes in the mix?
  • How much money could this potentially bring to the city?

One interesting fact from the article is that DecoBike will be the operators.  From what I understand, Decobike runs a top notch bike rental service that works really well in Miami. Their website gives us a sneak peak of what to expect here in Long Beach:  www.decobike.com

How To Use DECOBIKE (Instructional Video) from DECOBIKE on Vimeo.

Source: Long Beach Patch – City May Add 800 Wheels to Long Beach Streets

A great insight on the Bike Sharing Program.

A reader named Allison posted the following comment in the Self-Service Bicycle Rent/Sharing Program’ (by the sea) thread, but it deserves it’s own post because it’s so good. So here it is!

Allison Writes:

Bike sharing programs are wonderful and work in places around the world that have have an existing bike culture; bike routes and an equal share of the roads with cars. We do not currently have that in Long Beach (but we could, and quite easily).

As this proposal stands, the company would introduce up to 400 bikes into the community. Long Beach cannot at this time handle 400 more bikes on the sidewalks and/or roads. Furthermore, these bikes would more than likely be rented to out of towners which is great for business in areas not surrounding the LIRR; however, without bike lanes and an understanding of the flow of traffic in this city (I’m thinking of the West End in particular on this one) this could lead to a potential traffic clog and safety issue for bikers, drivers and pedestrians.

A second issue is the lack of parking we already have. On any summer day there is a shortage of bike racks which leads bikes to be locked to the boardwalk ramps or using inconvenient placed structures that create unsafe sidewalks for pedestrians, strollers and handicapped. If there is a need for bike racks as it is, where would the installation of between 20 – 40 locking racks for up to 400 rental bikes exactly be?

Third – and most important- is the local bike shops that already rent bikes. The owner of Buddy’s Bikes on Beech St and Local Cycles on Park were not aware of this program; they simply were not approached by any member of the council about a need to bump up bike rentals and/or to make them more conveniant. Charles Theofan simply did not approach them. What gives? Since when has Long Beach shut our their own business owners to favor out of state business?

And finally, this bike sharing program would lock our city into a 6 year contract. 6 years.

While I understand the need to bump up revenue via 10% share of profits via advertising, the consequences to our streets, business owners and overall safety is not worth it.

‘Self-Service Bicycle Rent/Sharing Program’ (by the sea)

At the June 21st council meeting, there was talk on bringing ‘Bicycle Rental & Sharing’ to Long Beach. From the proceedings:

A “Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into a Contract for a Self-Service Bicycle Rent/Sharing Program for the City of Long Beach” was tabled

With the Quiksilver Pro this September, bicycle rentals could be a cash cow for the city. But what about the long run? I guess if the rental kiosks are strategically placed in the right locations, it could work.  In other words, don’t put one in the Waldbaums shopping center.

So what do you guys think? Do you think something like this might work in Long Beach, or will it suffer the same fate as the pedi-cab experiment of 2009?



*photo is unrelated to Long Beach, NY.