Bicycle Master Plan
South Pasadena residents have seen the personal benefits of using a bike for transportation around the city, but even those of us who don't ride still benefit from encouraging bicycling. Public benefits include better health, improved pedestrian safety, active local businesses, cleaner air, and quieter environment. Because of the spatial efficiency of bikes, they reduce congestion for drivers – meaning that traffic flow often remains the same even when lanes are removed. Critically, bicycles and e-bikes are the most powerful tool we have to reduce emissions from the transportation sector, accounting for 52% of our community's greenhouse gas. EVs are a welcome step, but a complete lifecycle analysis showed only ~1/4 reduction in emissions compared with gasoline cars.
For all these reasons, it is vital that we take urgent action to enable and encourage South Pasadenans to take more trips by bicycle. And the key hurdle preventing most people from riding bikes in cities is safety – a recent nationwide survey showed that 70% of city-dwellers would like to ride, but 50% were too concerned with safety to ride on city streets. Infrastructure is the only proven solution to this problem, and its effects have been shown in cities across the nation.
South Pasadena brings many huge advantages as a city for bikes. We are compact, have key amenities located in the city and others in neighboring cities, and we have gentle grades in much of the city – and electric bikes can easily handle even our steepest hills. Unfortunately, our bike network as it exists today does not live up to this potential and to the interest shown by residents. To achieve meaningful change, our network of bike lanes should be comprehensive, allowing access to the entire city, and safe, encouraging people of all ages and abilities to ride. The 2011 Bicycle Master Plan would achieve at least the first goal, but our city has not prioritized it; even the Tier I projects listed in the plan are not completed.
South Pas Active Streets is a community organization working to strengthen our city by improving walkability and bikeability. We will advocate for rapid implementation of the bicycle master plan under a clear, common-sense schedule. The city should at a minimum, implement the plan during all street repaving. However, many options exist to accelerate this timeline and make certain upgrades on key corridors.