Saturday, May 2, 2020

Adequate Bike Parking in South County

The message was clear from the Bay Area Public Health Officers during the shelter in place issued regarding COVID-19.  Remember to get out for a walk or bike ride.  This was mentioned at many of the press conferences by the Bay Area Public Health Officers. Spending time outside improves mood and well-being, and is particularly beneficial to children. You can go for walks, go to the park, and engage in other similar activities, but you should maintain social distance (more than six feet away from persons who are not part of your household) to avoid spread of the virus.

I couldn’t agree with them more.  In Gilroy we have plenty of off-street bike/ped trails and more that are planned for construction.  Whether you live on the east side, west side, or central, we all have access to these trails.  If you don’t know where they are, check out our website that’s available in English/Spanish.  https://www.cityofgilroy.org/280/Bicycle-Pedestrian-Commission   

The Gilroy BPAC hasn’t lost any momentum and remains committed to advocating for all the projects and policies that we have been working on.  Once City Hall opens back up, we will hit the ground running. This is how government works. Disasters will always happen and government has to react, that's why we try and get as much done during good times.  We are always working on projects and ideas behind the scenes.  Connecting virtually with other advocates around the world is what we are used to. 

In my last column I wrote about the Gilroy Bike Parking Ordinance that I drafted and the Gilroy BPAC approved in January 2020.  Going through my first shelter in place, it has become an even higher priority that we have adequate bike parking for our community.  We don’t have any zoning requirements for bike parking in Gilroy.  The goal of CA Senate Bill SB330 is to streamline the residential development process, and still allow cities to develop clear objective standards. Gilroy needs to take full advantage of it now. Otherwise whatever a developer proposes based off of our current standards, it will automatically be deemed complete on submittal. 


As a South County advocate, I am teaming up with Bike Therapy Owners/Morgan Hill residents Doug & Jodi Hall to make some incremental changes that I think will benefit us all.  Morgan Hill's zoning requirement for multi-family residential is 1 long-term space for ever 5 units (regardless if it’s a studio to three bedroom). Do you think that’s enough? Why shouldn’t every unit have access to a long-term bike parking space or better yet each bedroom? In today’s housing market not all families will be able to own a home, and some will stay in these apartments indefinitely. Families, young adults, and seniors all need a safe place to store their bikes and incentives to not drive their cars.

Bicycles are essential transportation for many who need to get around during the coronavirus outbreak. This might include traveling to essential jobs, running crucial errands, or participating in mutual aid for vulnerable people who cannot leave their homes. I am connecting Gilroy & Morgan Hill residents who have an extra bicycle to residents who need one. Whether you have a bike or need a bike, we will match you. If your bike needs a little TLC before it’s ready for a new home, please consider reaching out to a local bike shop to service it. https://bit.ly/BikeMatch 


Until our local government is back open, take care of each other and your health.  Get outside and enjoy the great weather in Gilroy.  Support your local restaurants and cafĂ© that remained open for to-go orders.  Most have great front row bike parking when you pick up your orders.  If they don’t, then ask them to reach out to me for a free consult.  #GilroyBPAC

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Bike Match Gilroy

Moments like this are why I serve the community as a Commissioner for the Gilroy Bicycle Pedestrian Commission. OJ Macias and I are Dad's at El Roble Elementary.  He contacted me because his family had three bikes and a co-pilot trailer bike and they wanted to donate to a family in need.  With some elbow grease, new parts, and my friend Jorge Mendoza we were able to find a family that has been wanting bicycles for their kids since Christmas. This is why I do community engagement throughout the year. To be able to capture and respond to moments like this.  Thank you OJ Macias for donating and to Jorge Mendoza for finding us the perfect family.  Specialized Bicycles last forever as you can see! https://bit.ly/BikeMatch 
#BikeMatchGilroy



If you find yourself cleaning out that garage while sheltering in place and find some bicycles in working condition that you want to donate, reach out to me and I'll help find a good home in Gilroy for it.






After watching a League of American Bicyclists webinar on YouTube yesterday featuring a program called #BikeMatch from Transportation Alternatives out of New York, I realized I was doing something similar.  They open sourced their program, and I launched it last night.  I am still accepting kids bikes too.

Video Link- https://youtu.be/vOqobG0IikQ?t=524 (Some of the #GilroyBPAC met host Ken at California Bicycle Coalition Bike Summit 2019)

In Gilroy & Morgan Hill, CA, bicycles are essential transportation for many who need to get around during the coronavirus outbreak. This might include traveling to essential jobs, running crucial errands, or participating in mutual aid for vulnerable people who cannot leave their homes. I am connecting Gilroy & Morgan Hill residents who have an extra bicycle to Gilroy & Morgan Hill residents who need one. Whether you have a bike or need a bike, fill out the form below, and we will match you.  If your bike to give needs a little TLC before it’s ready for a new home, please consider reaching out to a local bike shop to service it. https://bit.ly/BikeMatch

Friday, March 6, 2020

Gilroy's Bike Parking Ordinance

All residential development bike parking in California is voluntary unless a local jurisdiction has an ordinance.  This was confirmed at our City of Gilroy Bicycle Pedestrian Commission (#GilroyBPAC) January 28th meeting by City of Gilroy’s Building Official Hipolito Olmos.  The need for this Ordinance began in August 2019, when we found out during a development review that bike parking in multi-family residential is voluntary according to the California Green Building Code.  The residential developer at 1st/Kern (AS 19-12) stated that Gilroy needed to reference a code that stated bike parking was required.   It’s even more important after SB330 came into law Jan 2020.  

Imagine having a family and forced to live in an apartment because you can’t afford a home.  You, your spouse, and kids want to ride bikes.... well where do you store them?  That right there makes people rely on cars and doesn’t keep them local for our Gilroy economy.  You will get in the car and drive somewhere else if that's more convenient.   In today’s housing market not all families will be able to own a home, and some will stay in these apartments indefinitely.  Families, young adults, and seniors all need a safe place to store their bikes and incentives to not drive their cars. 



The statement in a recent Gilroy City Council study session by our new Community Development Director Karen Garner sums it up.  "Some of the new legislation requires monitoring and reporting to the state. Staff time must be dedicated to these tasks to ensure compliance with these requirements. This is in addition to the staff time, including the City Attorney, to review legislation, analyze how it affects current City ordinances and policies, revise ordinances, policies and other documents, implement the new or modified processes and outreach to the public on these changes. Staff is committed to working through these changes and ensuring City ordinances and policies are reflective of state legislation as well as keeping the public informed."  We need clear objective language to be up to speed with SB330.  Residential development projects that meet our current objective standards, general plan, and ordinances will be deemed complete on submittal.  This ordinance defines a clear objective and takes all the subjectivity out.  


I drafted up a bike parking ordinance using strong language from several bike parking ordinances across California and in our region.  It was introduced and approved at our GilroyBPAC meeting in Jan 2020.  This Ordinance is not ready for City Council approval as it needs to be reviewed by the City Attorney’s Office, Staff, and then would need to go to the Planning Commission since it’s a land use ordinance.  All that would prep it up for a good discussion at City Council level once everyone has provided their input.

The GilroyBPAC has continuous professional development training through webinars, conferences, and meetings that provide the ability to meet in person other like-minded people.  That is what gives us the opportunity to bring projects, legislation, and funding back to the City.  I truly feel that we are the experts when it comes to bicycle parking in Gilroy.  We understand the needs of the community and we are the ones that utilize bike parking daily in Gilroy.  I've personally read over dozens of strong bike parking ordinances and have been to study sessions regarding them.  While drafting language for an ordinance might seem out of ordinary for a Commission, it’s not.  In 2017 while only a few months into my first year as Chair, we were passed up when it came to reviewing the City’s Capital Improvement Plan.  I was told it wasn’t in our powers and duties.  None of us knew where our powers and duties were listed until it was discovered that we were governed under an ordinance and not the city charter.  I drafted up what we wanted our ordinance to look like, and introduced it to the City Council.  In 2018 our updated ordinance was approved by City Council. In February 2020 we are reviewing the Capital Improvement Plan for bicycle and pedestrian facilities and will make recommendations to the City Administrator and City Council.  Change is always possible, especially when it comes to empowering public transparency.  If I were to hold the Office of a City Councilmember I would personally host an annual “Their Ought to be a Law” competition each January where a citizen can identify a problem that needs a solution and pitch their solutions to the problem. 




We are actively embracing, advancing ideas, and projects that promote the concept of free-range people in the City of Gilroy.  We advocate for building and planning that considers future generations as well as current residents who don’t own cars.  Advancing mobility options reflects what we are teaching the youth in our community through Safe Routes to School and why we are nationally recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists, as well as recognized by the World Health Organization as an Age-Friendly Community.  #GilroyBPAC