Saturday, December 13, 2008

Supporters Come Together, Make Advancements

Approximately 60 people gathered at the north east corner of Park Blvd. & University Ave. on Dec. 5, 2008 at 5pm, to raise awareness about the unjust removal of Atip's Memorial/Ghost Bike.

The Peaceful Demonstration, announced by Atip's closest friends Mike & Jena, brought concerned cyclists, friends, supporters, urban planners, and advocates together.  

In a public outreach effort we handed out fliers to locals, residents, and pedestrians to inform them about why planning-experts, livable streets-advocates and a wide body of the public support the presence of Atip's Ghost Bike.  

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(Above, is the flier we handed out; a collaborative effort between Jena and I).

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(Above, is the flier Jena made for the peaceful gathering).

The timing of the gathering was convenient in that thousands of people passed through the intersection on their way towards the Winter on the Prado event at the  nearby Balboa Park. 

When we asked pedestrians if they felt that the Park Blvd. & University intersection safely accomodated pedestrians, not one person believed that the intersection was safe enough. 

With Kathy Keehan, Executive Director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, and myself, a UCSD-trained Urban Planner & Bicycle Planner, we discussed (long-term) infrastructure improvements to the deadly intersection, on site.

The core group of supporters came to a consensus on what we can do next. We agreed that an appropriate permanent solution would be to pursue a custom roadbike-shaped bike rack, dedicated to Atip.  We'll be working side-by-side w/ the SDCBike Coalition to make this happen.  In fact, the motion from the North Park Planning
Committee and Subcommittee already includes support for a 'permanent solution.'  We'll be returning to the Committees to do a follow up proposal on our confirmed permanent solution.

A highlight of the gathering included crossing paths w/ David Slattery, a wheelchaired pedestrian who I first met at the corner while doing a Site Plan for Atip's Memorial Bike in October. David expressed to me in October that he peronsally observed that the Memorial Bike slowed down 
speeding automobiles.  He was excited and supportive of the fact that we're moving forward w/ plans to raise awareness about the deadly
Park Blvd. & University Ave intersection.

We believe bicycle advocacy ought to be fun, too.
After the gathering, many of us rode our bikes together to a benefit show for the San Diego Bicycle Kitchen (Bikes Del Pueblo).  We danced and celebrated life to the sounds of some of SD's best local garage-rock and roots-rock bands.

75% of all the proceeds that night have gone to the SD Bicycle Kitchen.  The Bike Kitchen is present
every saturday at the City Heights Farmers Market for affordable bike repairs and loaner tools.

25% of the proceeds have gone to fund a permanent solution (discussed above) in memory of Atip.
It's a step in the right direction.  After a couple more benefits we'll have enough money for the bike
rack (approximately 500$) and for the Encroachment Removal Permit (500$) (these fees according to the SDCBC).

Overall, the evening was a success!  Thanks to all the supporters who came out to the intersection and to the Bike Kitchen. Thanks to those who organized the benefit show,  thanks to the bands, and to the volunteers making the Bike Kitchen a reality. We'll be keeping you updated on our advancements. Until then, we hope to see you soon, on two-wheels.

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