Journalist, cyclist pedals to campus
Jeff Mapes will discuss his new book in one of the nation’s most bike-friendly cities.
Published: Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2012 15:07
If sustainability is the destination, then bicycling is an important means of getting there, according to an author stopping by campus Thursday.
Cycling sustainability will be discussed Thursday from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. as Cal State Long Beach and the city of Long Beach host a book-signing event and discussion on the environmental benefits of bicycling at the University Bookstore.
Jeff Mapes, a longtime political journalist and supporter of going "green," will talk about his book "Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists are Changing American Cities." The event is part of Eco Week, a showcase of CSULB's eco-conscious organizations.
Long Beach City Manager Pat West and CSULB Vice President for Administration and Finance Mary Stephens will attend to show their support. Recently, Long Beach and CSULB have collaborated to improve bike mobility on campus and its vicinity: Faded bike lanes have been retouched, and more "Share the road" signs greet bicyclists. The League of American Bicyclists also granted the city a bronze ranking for bike friendliness.
"The city of Long Beach has embraced the phrase of being ‘the most bicycle-friendly city in America,'" West said, "and we reach out to experts like Mr. Mapes to help us along our path and give us ideas and feedback."
Rideshare coordinator Elissa Thomas said "Pedaling Revolution" is well worth the read because it not only addresses the health benefits of biking, but expounds the bigger picture, as well.
"Thursday's event, to me, is kind of a celebration of city, state, private industry and individuals coming together to create what's called a more livable community," Thomas said, "‘livable' meaning a healthier community, safer for cyclists, safer for pedestrians and encouraging intermodal transportation."
Long Beach conducted annual bike and pedestrian counts last month.
Geology lecturer Bruce Perry was one of more than 70 volunteers who manned locations throughout the city. His mission was tedious: count how many cyclists and pedestrians passed by his post, reporting helmet use, sex and direction in comparison to traffic.
"This is being used to help us determine where to put new bike lanes, maybe where we can increase signage and protection for cyclists at intersections — things of that nature," Perry said.
Thursday's talk and book signing is one of several Eco Week activities. Prior to the bookstore event, West, Stephens and Mapes will present to Perry a prize donated by Jax Bikes, a bicycle business that offers free monthly tune-ups on campus.
An avid cyclist who bikes to campus, Perry appreciates the city's recognition of green transportation and its benefits.
"I think there's a real effort by the city to make it safer for cyclists and to raise awareness to motorists that [cyclists] do have some rights," Perry said.
CSULB has its vast share of cyclists. Thomas said the 55 bike racks on campus are not enough to meet the demand of nearly 40,000 students.
For linguistics graduate student Kyoko Takamura, the ease of biking to campus makes up for the lack of rack space.
"I've noticed there are more and more bike lanes in the city, and also signs that say, ‘Share the road' with cyclists," Kyoko said. "I don't know if it's enough or not, but I'm glad about that change."
"Pedaling Revolution" is all about changing the way society views transportation and changing how people regard sustainability. Thomas said that the more convenient alternative transportation becomes, the more enticing it will be for people to transition from driving.
"We can all literally breathe easier," Thomas said.Comments powered by Disqus