include alternative fuels, ride sharing, and increasing the use of
bicycles and walking as an alternative to driving.
Given its small size
and charming architecture and scenery, Pacific Grove should be an
ideal town in which to walk rather than drive. Much can be done to
make it more conducive to walking, although any attempt to change
patterns of traffic flow, parking, and City landscaping are bound to
create strongly polarized views. Nevertheless, making it more
pleasant and safer to walk is key to reducing automotive traffic. See
for research and ideas about designing cities for walking (and
bicycling) safety.See also
for ideas about encouraging and making it safer for kids to walk to
1. Our downtown streets
are periodically closed to traffic for specific events: Good Old
Days, the Butterfly Parade, etc. The Chamber may have information
about the effect of that on downtown businesses; it's probably good
for some and not others. We should explore the possibility of closing
Lighthouse Avenue to traffic on a regular basis (weekends?) in such a
way as to mitigate negative economic effects, but permit us to
reclaim our downtown from the automobile.
2. About 10 years ago,
the City and/or PGUSD, did a survey of barriers to walking in Pacific
Grove: broken or missing sidewalks, overhanging tree limbs, etc. That
was in conjunction with a 'Walk to School' week (see website
above). It would be useful to do a similar survey aimed at
discovering what barriers exist to safe and comfortable walking in
PG. The results of such a survey could be used to set City priorities
for sidewalk repair.
To increase bicycle
use, safety and accessibility must be addressed through the planning
and engineering of bike lanes and the implementation of a
bike-lending program. The objective is to create sustainable,
people-friendly opportunities for quality bicycle use. Successful
bike lending programs have the following characteristics:
enhance the sense of ownership and community, which reduces theft.
Insurance carriers do not underwrite such programs.
There is a sticker
and a signed waiver for "ride at your own risk."
The only assets
are the bicycles.
A safety check is
completed after each use.
One station, with
a maintenance clinic, located at an existing bike shop, is a more
stable model than a "controlled network" (several bike
identified bikes. They should be painted in checkered or striped
patterns in bright colors. The more easily recognized, the less
Bikes should have
adjustable saddles, saddle bags/racks, tow wagon options and use
solid rubber tires; 75% of all abandoned bikes have a flat tire.
Helmets should be
provided as part of a check out system (based on either a deposit of
$20 or a credit card swipe)
that theft, abandonment, regular maintenance and staff
turnover/burnout is part of the program in the first years.
the status of the General Bikeways Plan for Monterey County outlined
by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Advisory Committee (BPC) of
the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC). Add our own
suggestions for bike lanes in the City.
2. Determine the need
and practicality of a bike lending program.
3. Offer bicycle repair
workshops for kids only, women only, adults, etc.
show seniors becoming the majority of the population in Pacific Grove
in just a few years. So, transportation issues that affect seniors
are very important. The Sally Griffin Center will make a Sustainable
PG table available, if we wish to discuss transportation needs, or
other sustainability issues, with the seniors who come to the Center.
Several transportation services have already been developed to meet
senior needs, including 'rides on demand' options, for example,
to Doctors Row on Cass Street. MST offers the RIDES program for
people unable to use regular bus service. Seniors also use taxicabs
and the Meals on Wheels program transports food to people who can't
The need, from a
'sustainability' point of view, is to convert the cars and vans
used to provide these transportation services to alternative fuels
such as electric and bio-diesel, and to combine passenger miles
whenever possible. In that respect, senior needs are not different
from the transportation needs of anyone else who wants to, or needs
to, reduce the use of cars for single passenger transportation.
1. Combine passengers
in minivans (like the 'collectivos' used in Mexico) that gather
at convenient points in Pacific Grove and travel well-used routes at
popular times. That could be to Del Monte Shopping Center two or
three mornings a week and on weekends, a regular Forest Hill circuit,
or to popular scheduled events like First Night. Although there is
bus service from the Transit Plaza in Monterey into Pacific Grove,
there might also be a market for minivan transportation from the
Transit Plaza to the Tin Cannery, various stops along Lighthouse
Avenue, Forest Hill and Pebble Beach, mornings and evenings, for
workers. This could be an autonomous operation, or an extension of
MST's operations, or operated in conjunction with the school bus
2. City property, for
example the old reservoir behind the Middle School or the City Yard
on Sunset, could be used to generate bio-diesel fuel from local
household and restaurant waste. If the collectivos mentioned above,
cars used by Meals on Wheels, school buses, etc., had diesel engines,
they could use locally created fuel. Residents with diesel engine
cars could have access to this fuel as well. A simpler but cruder
option is to convert cars to burn filtered cooking oil from
restaurants, directly. This might be a good option for teenagers,
whose cars already smell like fried food. CSUMB is a resource for
information about alternative fuels; or, Google: 'bio-diesel' or
3. It is not easy and
takes time to get good information on alternative methods of
transportation. Some hybrids are not the best choice in terms of fuel
efficiency. Some electric cars are compatible with highway driving,
some aren't. There are many factors to consider when deciding
between a motorcycle, scooter or motorized bicycle as an alternative
to a car. Finding the right bicycle, especially if the last one you
rode had training wheels, may require getting information about the
differences between road, mountain, hybrid, racing, and recumbent
Knowledgeable members of local sustainability groups: Sustainable Pacific Grove ,
Monterey Green Action, Citizens for a Sustainable Monterey County, etc., should
share their knowledge about these issues on the websites that these groups maintain.
by Larry Telles, Feb, 2008 )