Bicycling in region rolls up big gains For years, cycling advocates have been trying with limited success to spread the word that the bicycle was one answer to many of our commuting headaches. People caught on, but no one was suggesting that old-fashioned pedal power had transformed the landscape.
This year, it's different. Unprecedented gas prices and a host of other variables, including the temporary closure of Interstate 5, mainstream awareness of our carbon footprint, ever-increasing emphasis on fitness and newfound support from employers, have created a groundswell of bicycle commuting in the Sacramento area.
What might come of it remains to be seen. Tuesday, the second full commuting day of the I-5 closure, found cyclists of all kinds going to and from work. It seemed practically European out there. ( Read more.)
In a state with three hugely charismatic shining cities-- Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego (sorry San Jose, you're a great city, but...)--it's easy to overlook Sacramento. But in bicycling terms, Sacramento matters, big time. Here's why.
Sacramento is, of course, the capital of California, the sixth largest economy in the world. It's a company town, and the company is state government. Decisions are made in Sacramento about the allocation of billions of dollars in public resources. And the decision makers are not the transient legislators or our commuting Gubernator, but legislative analysts, agency directors, policy directors, planners, bureaucrats, journalists, lobbyists, and other assorted state government functionaries.
These are the permanent Sacramento residents who actually shape the state's policy. And where California leads, generally the nation and often the world follow. Bicycling enhancements in Sacramento are observed by, lived by, traveled on, enjoyed by, and inspired by these folks, who determine California's transportation, health, environment, and education policies.