Decobikes coming July 4th?, Fine Arts Show, Historical Marker @ the LIRR

(A Decobike kiosk sits empty on the Olive St & Edwards Blvd intersection, two weeks after installed.)

DECOBIKE

The DecoBike bikes are coming this July 4th, according to a recent Newsday article titled: Long Beach bicycle rental program to roll. Well that sucks. Didn’t Deco get the memo that our beach season is a lot shorter than that in Miami? I call this a major missed opportunity, as June is an important beach month to the city. I also feel like more kiosks should have been installed at the LIRR, so visitors can use these bikes to ride around and spend money. I mean, isn’t that the whole idea?

Safety concern was actually the bulk of the Newsday article:

“Residents, and some Long Beach officials, said the bicycles could bring a rise in traffic accidents and make driving in the city more difficult on busy beach days. 

If the city really cared about safety, they should place more speed bumps at stop signs (especially at roads heading to the Park Avenue stop lights), enforce speeding laws and narrow the roads. Also, like what Allison said in the article “bicycle safety education”. Instead, the city installs more stop signs which does nothing, for I watch automobiles drive though them at full speed all day long. One of these days I should just video tape in and post it on here.. I just have to figure out how to blur the moving license plates.

18 ANNUAL KENNEDY PLAZA FINE ARTS SHOW

One local artist told me the event was a huge success: “Every artist I spoke to seems happy, so I’m happy.” The fine arts show is a great way for local artists to get their stuff out there. Oh and it didn’t rain! Although it did seem like there were less vendors this year. Maybe the possibility rain scared some away….

HISTORICAL MARKER AT THE LIRR

During the city’s 90th anniversaty celebration of becoming a city, the Long Beach Island Landmarks Association unveiled a new historial marker (photo below) at our Long Beach LIRR station. We already have historial markers scattered across the city, but I love this new one. It looks like it’s built to last, plus the coloring is fantastic.  Advice: Let’s now bring one to our historical boardwalk and make sure you mention the elephants.

 

Decobike Kiosks Collect Dust, City Council Meeting Agenda (June 5th, 2012)

A Decobike kiosk sits empty in front of Kings Pharmacy (639 East Park Avenue) as the City of Long Beach keeps losing potential revenue.

This Tuesday, June 5th marks the first City Council meeting of the month.  The most important part of the Agenda, as far as I’m concerned, is the following:

WHEREAS, the City of Long Beach desires to have a fireworks display as part of the 4th of July celebration on Friday, July 13, 2012, for the pleasure and enjoyment of the residents and visitors to the City; and

That should dispel the rumors that this years fireworks were going to be cancelled. The full list of the agenda is listed below or view it online here: Agenda for June 5, 2012.

1. Resolution Granting Waiver of Off-Street Parking Requirements Re: Premises 151 East Park Avenue, (street floor), Long Beach, New York. Re: Wholesale/Retail Specialty Coffee Store and Café.

2. Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into a Contract for Sludge Management Services for the City of Long Beach.

4. Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Enter into a Contract for a Fireworks Display to Celebrate the 4 th of July.

5. Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Pay Administrative Costs Under the Emergency Tenant Protection Act, Authorizing the Passing On of Administrative Costs to the Owners of the Buildings Included Under Such Act, and Directing the City Comptroller to Make Billing Therefore.

6. Resolution Authorizing Publication for Hearing of an Ordinance to Amend the Code of Ordinances of the City of Long Beach Re: City Bus Fares.

7. Resolution Authorizing Publication for Hearing of an Ordinance to Amend the Code of Ordinances of the City of Long Beach Re: Water and  Sewers.

8. Resolution Authorizing Publication of a Notice of Public Hearing of an Application to Waive the Off-Street Parking Requirements for Premises: 248 West Park Avenue (street floor), Long Beach, New York. Re: Gift Shop

DecoBike: Coming Soon This Season? [EPIC FAIL]

(Photo taken Thursday, May 31st)

When I asked the guy who was working on the Dekobike kiosks when the bikes were coming and he said “As early as tomorrow (Sunday, May 27th).” I believed him and blogged about it (Read-DecoBike Kiosks Going Up. Bikes Come This Sunday). Well, I’m not sure who to believe anymore because it’s now Thursday and the bikes are no where to be found. So far Decobike has been nothing but a big failure and the season barely just started.

I’ve tried to contact Decobike several times, but never heard back. I get it. This is just a lowly blog. The Decobike public relations team might not have time for us, but this blog does have a lot of readers. You’d think in a town where many folks are against the Deco-deal, Decobike would be looking to spread their propaganda as much as possible. We at SBC might not be experts at journalism like the other guys, but we do try. When Quiksilver gave Shaun & me Press Credentials, we ran more articles about that event than everybody. Maybe even more than Quiksilver themselves!

My point is this: I am somewhat of a fan of Decobikes. I actually see bike sharing as a benefit to our city by the sea, but so far they’ve been nothing but a big disappointment:

Here we are several days after Memorial Day weekend and the bikes, as of this morning (Thursday), are still nowhere to be found. I feel like an idiot for blogging they would be here. I’m not even sure if I care anymore.

DecoBike Kiosks Going Up. Bikes Come This Sunday. (UPDATED)

(Decobike kiosk located on the boardwalk between Franklin & Neptune Blvds)

UPDATED May 27th:

The Decobike Long Beach website is now live (decobikelbny.com). There you can find additional info, an interactive map of kiosk locations, as well as a more elaborate pricing scheme, which includes Monthly Bikepass Memberships:

————

(May 26th) You might of noticed the Decobike kiosks being installed all over Long Beach. I spoke to a Decobike technician who said the bikes should come as early as Sunday morning. As you can tell in one of the photos, the prices are set:

  • 30 Minute Access = $4
  • 1 Hour Access = $6
  • 2 Hour Access = $8
  • 4 Hour Access = $18
  • 8 Hour Access = $24

Or, if your thrifty, search on craigslist.com and buy a your own bike for under 50 bucks. Those usually come with unlimited hour access.

 

 

Monroe/LB Blvd Mall Beautification, “Minor” Lot Development, Bike Stencil Comparison & Combination [INSTAGRAM]

I mentioned in a previous post how Seabythecity is now on instagram, which is a social photography app that is available for both the iphone and android. I’m not going to be annoying and abuse it, but I’ll casually snap a photo or two of stuff that peaks my interest. You can actually view all the photos on tumblr where they automatically get dump: seabythecity.tumblr.com, or just add me on instagram by downloading the app (iphone,android) and searching for seabythecity. How’s that for social networking?

Here are a few photos:

Monroe/LB Blvd Mall Beautification: This week we have a new addition at the Monroe Blvd / Long Beach Blvd Parking mall on E. Park Avenue (you know, the one that has us scratching our heads).

As you can see in the photo below, a giant anchor and cleat (nautical, not footwear) appeared unexpectedly. There are actually two sets of these: one at each end of the parking mall. Whoever was responsible for bringing this to Long Beach, keep it up. We desperately need more random art scattered around town. Bonus Points goes to the city for not making it look like a memorial. Or was that Nassau County’s idea, since they own those malls? Either way, I like it.

Other parking/grass mall beautification ideas: Rowboat planters, a giant statue of neptune (like on our city seal); a giant statue of a mermaid (like on our city seal.) Oh, I think I wrote about that already: Read – Mermaids, Neptune, “Save the Clock Tower” & the City Seal (april 2011).

“Minor” Lot Development: Yeah, I’m talking about that empty lot next to the Allegria Hotel. In August we learned how it was purchased by the owners of Aqua on the Ocean (read – Aqua on the Ocean Owners Get A Lot). Besides a few trucks during Quiksilver Pro, that lot hasn’t seen any action since then, until this sign was erected. While it’s still unclear what the owners plan on doing with the lot, I just thought it was funny seeing this giant billboard smacked right in the middle. Maybe I’ll talk to the owners and see if I can get a Seabythecity billboard there too.

Bike Stencil Comparisons: I just thought it would be fun to compare some bike stencils. The first image is from the boardwalk, while the second was given to us by DecoBike: Read – Here Come The Bike Lanes (Updated: Stenciled Bikes By The Sea).


Isn’t this fun? yaawwn….  Well actually…While the first image has a person, two wheels and no bike. The second image has a bike with no person. Let’s combine them into the ultimate bike stencil: 

 

Here Come The Bike Lanes (Updated: Stenciled Bikes By The Sea)

UPDATE: That photo was taken on Magnolia Blvd. I am an advocate of bike lanes, but these are not bike lanes. Lines create boundaries which are supposed to narrow the road and calm the traffic. A painted bike with a couple of arrows doesn’t do anything, but piss people off (as you can see by some of the comments below). Perhaps the lines come later? (I doubt it).

———

The other day we posted a map of where the Decobike-funded bike lanes would be. It looks like the lanes have arrived! I just received a mysterious text message with the following photo and no other info. Hmm.. is that Grand? It’s Magnolia Blvd. Edwards? Riverside? What street has those bricks hugging the curb? And no bike lane lines? Is that technically a bike lane or just a bike graphic?

I’ll update when I get more info.

Related Article: Bike Lanes & DecoBike Kiosk Locations [MAP]

Bike Lanes & DecoBike Kiosk Locations [MAP]

(Not to Scale, click to enlarge or view full PDF: DecoBike_Kiosk_Locations)

Thirteen Kiosk locations:

  1. Pacific Blvd / Shore Road (Presidents Section)
  2. Boardwalk / Neptune Blvd (East End)
  3. Virginia Ave / Beech Street (West End)
  4. Welcome to Long Beach Park on Beech Street between Nevada and Ohio Avenues (West End)
  5. Grand Blvd / West Park Avenue (The Walks)
  6. Magnolia Blvd / Recreation Center (Westholme)
  7. West Walnut Street / Edwards Blvd (Central District)
  8. Clark Street Park (The Canals)
  9. Riverside Blvd / Park Place (North Park)
  10. LIRR (Central District)
  11. Boardwalk / Edwards Blvd (Central District)
  12. Boardwalk / Grand Blvd (Westholme)
  13. Roosevelt Avenue / Park Avenue (East End)

After a quick glance, one has to wonder why there isn’t a kiosk right near the Allegria Hotel. I guess you can say there’s the one a block away on Edwards Blvd & the boardwalk, but that seems to better serve the NYC folk riding bikes down Edwards from the LIRR kiosk. And is anybody going to really use the kiosk all the way up in the canals at the Clark Street Park?  Ahh soo much to discuss. I’ll write more on this topic later on.

Ok, the bike lane locations. I was hoping it would have been laid out more like Helltrack from the 1986 movie RAD, but beggars can’t be choosers. Still, not bad if you’re just riding from one Decobike kiosk to another. Ocean view & the boardwalk are already ‘bike lanes,’ so it appears to me that the only new ones Decobike will carve out are four north/south routes:

  1. Grand Blvd
  2. Magnolia Blvd
  3. Edwards Blvd
  4. Riverside Blvd

I’m still wondering how biking on Park Avenue or Beech Street can be improved; or even Long Beach Blvd for folks coming from Island Park. Perhaps I’m the only person who even cares about that? Hopefully, one of these days the city will officially adapt a Complete Streets policy, but I’m not holding my breath on that one. Although, I am hearing how the new administration is open to the idea. We shall see.

In the meantime, what do you think of the bike lanes and kiosk locations? Discuss…

(Source – City of Long Beach, NY: DecoBike Kiosk Locations)

Bike Lanes + Bike Culture = Profit?

Mary Ellen of the West End Beautification Association sent over this interesting little article regarding the impact bike lanes have made in Long Beach, New York California (Read – Bike Lanes: The New Job Creators?). In California, the bike culture has taken off and people are profiting from it:

Already we know that when it comes to jobs created per million dollars, bicycle facilities are one of the most efficient transportation investments. But once the paint dries and the asphalt cools, are there lasting economic effects? Can bicycle infrastructure build bicycle culture that will build a bicycle economy?

The answer seems to be yes — at least in the case of Long Beach, California. More than 20 new bicycle-related or bicycle-inspired businesses have opened at last count.

The article then highlights some of those companies, which include:

It’s interesting how DecoBikes, bike lanes and more bike racks could, in a way, have a positive effect on our three local bike shops by strengthening the bike culture of Long Beach. I said this once already (I don’t know what article I said it in), but Long Beach, NY has to be one of the few towns in the New York metro area where I see such a wide variety of people riding bicycles for both transportation and pleasure.

I realize our Long Beach is much smaller and less populated than in California. It’s just the idea of establishing a strong bike culture, which could rub off on new businesses opening up – or get more people to buy bikes from our three local bike stores. A strong bike culture in Long Beach, NY will add value to [our] community by creating economic activity, creating jobs, and improving quality of life (source – Bike Lanes: The New Job Creators?). 

 

OPINION: on DECOBIKES (I’m Confused-By-The-Sea)

DECOBIKES. What’s there to say that hasn’t been said already? I don’t know. I am a bit confused over the whole thing. I like the idea, but was it well thought out? Will it work in Long Beach? Of course it will, right? Maybe it won’t. What about our local bike shops? They could of had rental booths on the superblock, but then maybe that wouldn’t of worked unless they had rental booths all over town. Wait, is this bike share system for summer visitors or as a mass transit replacement for all? I’M CONFUSED-BY-THE-SEA!!!

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

  • The City of Long Beach, NY signed a five year deal with DecoBike on December 5th, 2011.
  • The deal calls for 400 bikes at 17 bike kiosks around our City (23.53 bikes per kiosk? what?) Those numbers will most likely change.
  • Those already installed bike-kiosk-cement-slabs in the residential areas will be removed. The city will try to get DecoBike to foot the bill for restoration.
  • Bike lanes are coming.
  • As of now, our three local bike shops are not involved with DecoBike at all.
  • The city hopes to make $500,000 in revenue per year from this deal (10% of $5,000,000).
  • The bikes don’t come with girls in bikinis, high heels and knee-high socks (see photo).

We all have our reasons why we don’t like this Deco-deal: “We don’t need it,” “It’s not going to work,” “Who is going to use it?,” “This person is related to that person who owns the company,” “They aren’t even a good company,”  “I don’t like bikes,” “I don’t like fun,” etc. Well, we’re stuck with Decobike for five years (assuming that they don’t fold). Now that the residential-kiosks ordeal has been sort of settled, I have concluded that my only real concern is with our local bike shops and the impact this deco-deal will have on them.

What about everything else?

MORE BIKE TRAFFIC: I am not worried about that. NYC has been implementing bike-shares in various clusters (Forest Hills, Queens is an example) and seems to be working out just fine. NYC has more people, more bikes, more cars (can you believe that?) and less room. Nothing to be afraid of here in Long Beach, NY. With that being said, I really don’t think out streets are going to be overly crowded with Decobikes (THE LOCUSTS ARE COMING!) To me, that is a NIMBY-fear.

BIKE LANES: I actually want bike lanes and I cannot understand why people get so offended by them. Are they really needed in Long Beach? I believe so. Maybe not on the side streets, but we do on roads where automobiles are constantly breaking the speeding laws and driving through stop signs. Oh wait, that’s every road in Long Beach. Yes, we need bike lanes here. All of our roads are dangerous.

At the East End Long Beach Listens on March 21st, Len Torres (City Council Vice President) said that a street needs at least three feet to accommodate a bike lane. Most of our boulevards, Shore Road and Broadway can accommodate that. My main concern has always been with Park Avenue: How can we make that road safer for cyclists? I have no clue what would work, but I do have some own ideas. Back in July 2011 I did a whole post on that topic (read – Bike Lanes by the Sea).

CHARACTER:  I am probably somewhat alone on this one, but I actually think bike kiosks and bike lanes will give our city a little bit more character: Something is going on around here. We care about the environment. We live a healthy lifestyle. We aren’t a typical Long Island suburb. Wow, this place is so European. I believe this type of character will ultimately attract more people to want to visit and live here (higher house values anyone?).

KIOSK LOCATIONS: The Deco-deal calls for 17 bike kiosks all over Long Beach. And what better place to install them than on our residential streets…… As one resident tells me, “It looks pretty awful and cheesy to say the least. It has taken away from the beauty of the grass and feel of a residential neighborhood.”

(W. Olive Street & Washington Blvd intersection)

Regarding the residential slabs (see picture above): At LONG BEACH LISTENS (March 21st) our City Manager Jack Schnirman seemed puzzled and questioned if a study was even done.

Then again, you have to ask yourself: Maybe that is the only way this system works? Make decobike our mass transit: Flood the city with bikes and kiosks everywhere!  Do I believe that? I actually do… but not for Long Beach, NY. Maybe in an area like say.. um.. Miami?

Fran Adelson (City Council President) said at LONG BEACH LISTENS that all kiosks will be in commercial areas. So does that mean no side streets at all? What about major roads that are surrounded by high rises like on Shore Rd or Broadway? Right now the obvious locations I can think of are the following: Several on the boardwalk, the LIRR, City Hall, Post Office, but where else? What about the West End? Is there any room at all to install a bike kiosk anywhere in the West End? I asked Mary Ellen Pollina of the West End Beautification Association if she had any input on that. Here is what she had to say:

In the early days of deco bike the suggestion was to carve out some space in one of the city -owned parking lots for a kiosk. From the merchants standpoint, the closer to a bar, boutique, coffee shop etc. the better. This will cause an uproar among the “but we’ll lose a parking spot” group because for safety sake and to avoid disrupting pedestrian traffic it would need to take up a pretty big chunk of a parking lot.

The other option is the Welcome to Long beach park between Ohio and Nevada ave. On W Beech Street (photo below).

WHO ARE THESE BIKES FOR ANYWAYS?

Are summer renters the ones who will benefit? Perhaps guests of the Allegria Hotel? Maybe it will be a taxi-replacement for that drunk wanting to go back to the East End from a West End bar at 3am? Maybe for those in high rises not wanting to drag their bike down a flight of stairs or have no room in their small studio apartment to even store one? That Brooklyn hipster off the LIRR because it’s ironic? Maybe JWoww of Franklin Square wanting to come to Long Beach to cruise the boardwalk, but doesn’t want to pack a bike because she might break a nail taking it off her giant cadillac SUV? Or how about that guy with a stolen credit card who wants to “rent” a bike as a momento?

Are residents that live in houses going to use this service? No. It’s not for you (unless you’re that drunk person).

I’m actually going to give the city (past administration) some credit for thinking outside the box. I can’t think of any other Nassau County community that would even consider a bike-sharing program. A year from now those DecoBike kiosks are going to blend into our city landscape, give Long Beach a little bit more character and not really bother us one bit.

Yeah, my feelings are mixed and that’s reflected in this confusing article. I get the whole bike-sharing thing: You rent a bike at one kiosk and have the option to return it at another; it can almost replace a taxi. Of course, I don’t understand why it’s a five year deal. Let’s try it out for a year – see it’s impact on the community and make sure the contract calls for maintenance and repair to be done at our local bike shops. Because the ones who should be making hot air about this deal should be them. All three bike shops setting up a rental booths on the superblock probably could have worked. Not the same way as a share/kiosk system, but probably good enough for Long Beach, NY.

All three local Bike Shops talk about DecoBike (And they all seem pissed)

I don’t know if I read it somewhere or if somebody told me, but I had the belief that our three local Long Beach bike shops (Buddy’s Bikes, Long Beach Bicycle, Local Cycles) were all involved with DecoBike for maintenance and repair. Well, I just called them and asked if they did indeed have any involvement whatsoever. Here is what they had to say:

Local Cycles‎
307 West Park Avenue
Long Beach, NY 11561
(516) 390-7085

Nick over at Local Cycles: “I asked, but haven’t heard from them [DecoBike] in a while.” Nick then questioned whether or not it would work in Long Beach by the amount of bicycles that will be used. “Boston is a city of around 500,000 [617,594 according to the 2010 census] and they have 500 bikes in their bike rental system. Long Beach has 50,000 people tops in the summer and they [DecoBikes] are going to have 400 Bikes here? Those numbers just don’t add up.”  

——
Long Beach Bicycle‎
755 East Park Avenue
Long Beach, NY 11561
(516) 432-9632

Rick over at Long Beach Bicycle: “Nobody ever contacted us. We don’t know how it will effect us.” 

——

Buddy’s Bikes‎
907 West Beech Street
Long Beach, NY 11561
(516) 431-0804

Buddy over at Buddy’s Bikes: “I was never contacted. I would love to be on the boardwalk. I’ve been renting bikes for 35 years. I charge $15 for three hours. That’s peanuts. I had no idea about this deal. A friend of mine told me about it. I wish they gave me a chance. All three of us [bike shops] could have set up shop on the boardwalk, but they didn’t give us a chance at all.”

——

So there you go. At this point, nobody knows what kind of impact this five year DecoBike deal will have on our local shops, so make sure we still support them for purchase, repair and parts.