Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Planting a Seed in Hopes of a Tree

Every Monday night, friends, family and neighbors gather at Tommy Pastrami on Fourth Street in downtown Santa Ana to celebrate the end of another Monday while enjoying the last football game of the week.

As I was chaining my bike to a puny birch tree, one that was just recently planted out front of Tommy Pastrami blocking their $8,000 sign, I wondered if the city of Santa Ana would ever install bike racks, or if myself and other bikers will forever be chaining our bikes up to fences, light posts and trees.

It was that moment that I remembered reading about the Bike Tree–a solar powered, medium capacity bike rack that safely stores bicycles above ground, protected from the elements and away from those looking for a “free ride”.

From Treehugger.com: Rather than hitching your bike to a post at street level, swipe a smart card, enter your PIN, and your cycle is taken up the “trunk” of the tree to a dome that protects it from thieves and the elements. The tree’s footprint is minimal, which helps keep space open for pedestrians (and the dome shields them from rain, too).

In a recent conversation I had with Mayor Pulido, he stated that he wants Santa Ana to keep looking for ways to be a Greener City. If that were truly the case, one would think that bike racks would be a good start; Bike Trees an even better one.

David Hastie, the general manager of Memphis CafĂ© and fellow biker once told me that Santa Ana did indeed at one time have bike racks throughout the downtown, but being constant targets of graffiti, not to mention bicycle thefts, prompted the city to remove them all together. “A typical solution of the city by throwing the baby out with the bathwater”, he stated.

David has lobbied the city to allow him to install a single bike rack in front of Memphis, and has even offered to have the restaurant pay for it. No word yet on whether or not the city will permit this crazy idea.

In my humble opinion, the Bike Tree coupled with Thomas Gordon’s notion of bringing bike sharing to our town would be a bold statement about our town to the rest of the county, and could truly set the pace for a greener, more pedestrian/biker-friendly and multi-transit Santa Ana.

Check out the Bike Tree in action below.

2 comments :

Gustavo Arellano said...

How the HELL did you talk with Papi Pulido? The man speaks only when guaranteed positive coverage!

And though this is completely biased, the Papi speaks about a greener city but has never stepped into the Road Less Traveled, my gal's store.

Anonymous said...

Need to start with safe ways to get there first - not a single bike lane in this city.

It's not easy being green?