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Board of Supervisors affirmed Blanco Road bike lanes

 See Kids Bike to School in Monterey County to learn some ways that local ag leaders are supporting more bicycling, through the “Pedal to Perfection” program.

Farmers’ concerns

  1. If you are a farmer or work in agriculture, please contact me to discuss any concerns you may have about Blanco Road bike lanes.  As a farmer’s daughter, I am especially interested in hearing your viewpoints.  I know that many of you are both farmers and cyclists yourselves.
  2. Most bike commuters are keenly aware of what’s happening alongside the bikeways.  This makes the presence of more cyclists along Blanco Road an asset to those with farmland here, because cyclists can serve as a “neighborhood watch” for these farmers.
  3. As bicyclists, one of the ways to build a more bike-friendly county is to consider the concerns of others, including farmers, and how you might be of help.  Michael Baroni, owner of Green Pedal Couriers, decided to do just that, with the farmers who grow our food, and benefit our county’s economy in a huge way.  See Michael’s 12-6-11 public comment at the  Board of Supervisors meeting.
  4. As farmers, one of the ways to build better relationships with people who bike is to troubleshoot ways to be sure your farming operations are in harmony with legal requirements, such as laws prohibiting depositing of rocks and dirt on any roadway. Keep in mind that rocks and dirt, along with spray from irrigation sprinklers, can combine to create slippery conditions that endanger, or prohibit the travel, of cyclists who legally share the roadways.
My younger brother Emil (Emil Kiliman’s namesake) and his nephew.
My dad and his farming mentor, Emil Kiliman.

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Thank you to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors who voted 4-1 on December 6, 2011 to reaffirm their earlier unanimous approval for the Blanco Road bike lanes.  A video of the meeting can be viewed online at the County’s website. Public comments include, at 3:07:00, that of Michael Baroni.

Please refer to the Acknowledgements” section of this post to learn about Monterey County residents who actively participated in this process, doing education and outreach.  These individuals deserve much credit for improving our county’s bike infrastructure.

The above, posted 12/6/11, is an update to the info that follows.

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  • Exchange ideas with a farmer? Attend today’s meeting? Sign a petition?  Contact the Board of Supervisors? Why are people who love biking in Monterey County being urged to do this?
  • Better bicycle facilities/bike infrastructure–like the bike lanes approved and funded to be added on Blanco Road–are vital to safer travel, and to more people bicycling.

What’s up:

  1. The Blanco Road bike lane project that had been approved as part of the Monterey County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan is now at risk.
  2. The Monterey County Board of Supervisors will revisit this issue December 6, and a December 30 deadline looms when the County stands to lose $200,000 in approved funding for the project.  You may write to the Board of Supervisors by addressing the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors via email, CTTB@co.monterey.ca.us or via postal mail, P.O. Box 1728, Salinas, CA 93902.
  3. Attend the Board of Supervisors meeting on December 6, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. If you cannot attend the entire meeting, note that Blanco Road  is unlikely to come up on the agenda before 2:30 p.m.; for the most updated agenda: http://publicagendas.co.monterey.ca.us/.  
  4. Turn off cell phones and pagers, as usual, and please enter quietly if you must arrive late.
  5. It is not necessary to fill out a Speaker Request Form if inconvenient/interruptive to do so.  You may still offer your comment during the Public Comment Period for that agenda item.
  6. Because public comments are normally limited to three minutes, it is helpful to prepare your comment in advance, timing yourself, so your public comment will be concise and most effective.
  7. Can’t attend?  To watch the meeting live, go to http://monterey.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=5.
  8. Sign an informal petition at Change.org, which will be provided to the Board of Supervisors to show public support for Blanco Road bike lanes; contact Phil Yenovkian, [ by email:  warrantone [AT] gmail [DOT] com ] with any questions.
Local press coverage includes:
  1. 12/4/11 story by Andy Stiny in the Salinas Californian, “Bike lane debate rolls out Tuesday for Monterey County Board of Supervisors.”
  2. 11/13 story by Andy Stiny, “Proposed Blanco Road bikeway hits a snag,” and 11/16 story by Sunita Vijayan, “Proposed Blanco Road bikeway projects stalls,” in the Salinas Californian.
  3. Sara Rubin’s 12/1 story, “Farmers weigh in against county’s planned Blanco Road bike lane as funding times out appears in the 12/1-7 Monterey County Weekly.It makes sense that, with the volume of information we are all faced with daily, some in the farm community were unaware of the proposed Monterey County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.  As reported in the Monterey County Herald on June 10, 2011, TAMC urged public input.  That same message was also conveyed in the “Local Bike News” section of the BicyclingMonterey.com website, beginning in November 2009.  (Of course, few farmers–or cyclists–would have read the 190-page document itself and noted the Blanco Road plans.)

So, where are we now?  My parents farmed, and I have many friends in agriculture, so I am especially attuned to the unique challenges of farmers. Among the benefits of creating Class II bike lanes on Blanco Road, thereby increasing the numbers of bicycle commuters, there is a benefit for farmers.  Most bicyclists are keenly aware of what’s happening alongside the bikeways.  This makes the presence of more cyclists along Blanco an asset to those with farmland here, because cyclists can serve as a “neighborhood watch” for these farmers.  (Cyclists typically carry cell phones and can quickly phone in a tip if they see suspicious activity, such as a theft-in-progress of ag equipment.)  See “Neighborhood Watch by Bike” for examples of the effectiveness of such vigilance in our county.

Other benefits of Blanco bike lanes are encouraging this transportation option for students and staff  traveling to CSUMB from Salinas, or peninsula residents traveling to Hartnell.  Check in with Hartnell instructor Frank Henderson, a League of American Bicyclists safety instructor, about this bike commute.

There are also numerous others who reduce the motor vehicle traffic on Highway 68/Monterey-Salinas Highway by bike commuting.  Ask Jan Valencia, the Velo Club Monterey’s Answer Man and a Salinas business owner who bike commutes from his Seaside home daily and knows firsthand that Class II lanes on Blanco would be a great alternative to biking Highway 68.

Yet another advantage:  Class II bike lanes would encourage more touring cyclists to consider that there is much more to Monterey County than just the coast!  By heading inland to experience the Salinas Valley and surrounding areas, these visitors will carry away a new appreciation for the Salad Bowl of the World, as well as leave tourism dollars behind in Salinas and other inland communities.

With much respect for the contributions of Monterey County agriculture to our county and far beyond, I ask our Board of Supervisors to go forward with the approved, funded bike lanes on Blanco Road.

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Lack of understanding of the perspectives of others is not uncommon, of course, including in the ag community and in the bike community.  It takes time to learn about one another’s concerns and to communicate about those thoughtfully–time that often is not as available as desired in people’s busy lives.  It’s hoped that any possible future controversy about Monterey County bicycle infrastructure projects will be resolved in a more harmonious manner.  Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Acknowledgements

Several local bicycling advocates worked especially hard to share info with fellow cyclists, our Supervisors, and the general public about this issue, including  Phil Yenovikian, Frank Henderson, Jan Valencia, Cath Tendler-Valencia, and Michael Baroni.  

Take a ride soon with Phil or Frank on Blanco (see “Cyclists want you–and are ready to help” below); then ride with them again after the new lanes are in, and see what a difference improved bicycle infrastructure makes.

Cyclists and other supporters, you are urged to stay engaged in improving bicycle infrastructure in Monterey County (or wherever you live):

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Commute to Salinas?

Cyclists want you–and are ready to help.

Do you commute to Salinas for work, school, or other reasons–and wonder about those people regularly seen bike commuting those routes?

Ever been discouraged to commute by bike between the Peninsula and Salinas because of  (1) traffic,  (2) weather,  (3) road conditions, (4) anything else?
Here’s a chance to get past those obstacles, save some serious coin, get in shape, and achieve something great for the planet.  Cyclists who have made this trek for years are interested in helping you.“The reason most cyclists avoid the commute to Salinas is that they don’t feel safe.  That feeling can easily be overcome by riding in a group,” said Phil Yenovkian, one of those who has made the journey for years.He also explained that “Cycling equipment and clothing have improved to the point where it is no longer necessary to be uncomfortable while cycling on a routine commute.”Phil’s goal is to see an increase in the number of cyclists commuting by bike, on West Blanco Road in particular.  ”Seeing more cyclists out there will make our commute more fun too,” he added.The fastest routes to Salinas are Highway 68/Monterey-Salinas Highway (pictured above) and Blanco Road (pictured below).  Between the two, Phil considers Blanco to be safer.  In addition, construction of Class Two bike lanes are currently funded for Blanco, which will  further improve bicycle safety.

Bike buddies on Blanco Road
Phil and local bike safety expert Frank Henderson, another daily bike commuter, are willing to ride with any interested cyclist from the Monterey Peninsula to their destination in any part of Salinas.  ”Just let us know where you want to meet and the date/time, and one of us will be there.  We even do test rides on the weekends for the truly interested,” said Phil.
Phil Yenovikian and Laura Murphy on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land

If you are a potential bike commuter and want to give it a try, contact Phil Yenovkian:

warrantone [AT] gmail [DOT] com

Beginners welcome!

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Want to give it a try just one direction due to point of departure, stamina, or schedule?  Consider riding with Phil or Frank one-way, then doing the MST bike-and-ride the other way.

Want to take a peek at the Blanco or Highway 68 routes?  See the Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s countywide bike map in the Maps section.  TAMC’s map was last published in 2008 and an update is forthcoming. Meanwhile, riding with Phil or Frank, you’ll learn about improvements not yet reflected on the TAMC map.

Need some added motivation?  Velo Club Answer Man Jan Valencia is another who, like Phil and Frank, bike commutes from the Peninsula to Salinas daily.  Check out some of the many beautiful photos from Jan’s photo stream and know you’ll be treated to such views as these–too often overlooked when zipping by in a car.

Regarding Salinas, also see “What to do in Salinas” section of the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide, “Salinas youth and others for bikes,” and other Salinas posts (type “Salinas” in this site’s search window, or contact me).

Regarding infrastructure, see  Monterey County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and other infrastucture news in the Local Bike News section of this site.

Biking along Spreckels Boulevard

Special thanks to Frank Henderson for shooting photos and to Phil Yenovkian for his assistance with this post as well.

This post was originally published on November 3, 2011.

  1. Debris in the Public Roadway is a Public Safety Hazard and not legal.

    CVC 23114. (a) Except as provided in Subpart I (commencing with Section
    393.100) of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations related to hay
    and straw, a vehicle shall not be driven or moved on any highway unless
    the vehicle is so constructed, covered, or loaded as to prevent any of
    its contents or load other than clear water or feathers from live birds
    from dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing, spilling, or otherwise
    escaping from the vehicle.

    Blanco Rd is the primary transportation corridor between Marina and Salinas, allowing access for thousands of roadway users, including motorists and bicyclists.

    Funding has been approved.
    The project is comprised of widening a 4″ white line to 6″, bicycle legends in the bike lane, and signage.
    The county has spent $28k of the $200k which has been awarded to the County of Monterey for this project.
    The money has been available for about 2 years.

    This project should go thru.
    Blanco Rd is a Public Roadway.
    Debris in the roadway is a Public Safety Hazard.

    The Class II Bike Lane is a safety margin, limiting vehicular traffic on the right sides of Blanco Rd.

    Bicyclists are as if an “indicator species” to our zoom-zoom transit lives, and experience our Public byways up close and personal. When a roadway such as Blanco Rd has become obscured with debris to such an extent, cyclists are as if the proverbial canary in the coal mine.

    hey… “there’s something happen here”

    devo

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