Those recently installed racks are the latest additions to a small but growing collection of custom-made bike racks in Redding, Anderson and Shasta Lake, all of which serves as evidence that public agencies, business interests and advocates are making progress on improving the area’s bicycling infrastructure.
The bike rack project “gives a nod of the head to people who bike, and it’s a sweet little reminder to people that there are bicycles in the world,” said Sally Mawbry, an artist who heads the Viva Downtown Redding design committee.
The committee designed the unique racks a couple years ago after some downtown boosters noticed the district had virtually no place to park and lock a bicycle properly. Cyclists had to lock their rides to parking meters, trees and other immovable objects.
Healthy Shasta provided a $500 grant to Viva Downtown to move things along, and the first bike racks went up last summer. A few merchants have provided money for the City of Redding to install bike racks in front of their businesses. Caltrans purchased the new racks for the Dana-to-Downtown bike path. Approximately 25 racks are now in place in the three cities, including about eight in downtown Redding.
“They are getting used. I see bikes on them,” said Amy Pendergast of Healthy Shasta.
Anyone is welcome to use the unique design. Gerlinger Steel in downtown Redding makes the racks, which are powder coated Verona green to match some City of Redding features. Although the racks are pricey at approximately $300 apiece, they are stronger and more handsome than less-expensive versions found in catalogues, Mawbry said.
Healthy Shasta intends to fund another round of bike rack installations this coming summer, according to Pendergast, who is compiling a list of locations suggested by business owners and cyclists.
“Like everything, it’s limited by money,” said Sue Lang, a Viva Downtown board member. “We’d love to see them all over town to help with connectivity. We want to encourage people to walk and ride bikes.”
One of Viva Downtown’s priorities is establishing a well-marked bicycle and pedestrian route from the Turtle Bay/Sundial Bridge/Convention Center area to downtown. Locals know how to get between the two areas, which are not far apart, but visitors need assistance, Mawbry said.
A recent study from Baltimore indicates that investment in such a route would be good for the local economy. The study found that bicycle projects create about twice as many direct, indirect and induced jobs as road building and road surfacing projects. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood – who, I should note, is a Republican from rural Illinois – recently wrote about the study and his “enthusiasm for increasing Americans’ transportation options.”
Healthy Shasta also is working with Shasta College to replace the crummy bike racks on campus. Most existing racks are in the middle of the campus, where cycling is prohibited. (Doh!) The new racks will likely be placed in more accessible locations on the perimeter. A grant from the state to help fight obesity is funding that project, Pendergast said.
• I’m a little late with this one, but … It’s never too late get your high school equivalency certificate. Shasta Adult School is beginning a new round of GED preparation classes this Thursday, January 20. The classes are scheduled 5:30 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday for three months. While the classes are free, the cost of taking the GED test is $140 at the time of testing. For details or to sign up for classes, contact Louinda McLean at Shasta Adult School, (530) 245-2626.
• Don’t pass this up … An annual entrance pass for Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and Lassen Volcanic National Park is now available online. The $25 pass is good for 12 months at both parks. Such a deal. The Lassen park website has details.
Paul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and somehow managed to earn a high school diploma. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at email@example.com.
Photographs by Michael Burke.
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