Thursday, June 14, 2007

Palo Alto: Bike-friendly, aiming higher

Image of bike sign on Ellen Fletcher Bike Boulevard in Palo AltoFrom the Palo Alto Weekly, 07.13.07:

Serious spinners
Palo Alto is certified as bike-friendly, but what will it take for more people to ditch their cars?

It's 11 a.m. on a Monday morning, and 78-year-old Ellen Fletcher hops off her bicycle on Bryant Street near Embarcadero Road and observes the fruits of her labor: helmeted and spandex-covered cyclists zipping down the bicycle boulevard that bears her name.

"Hey Ellen!" one cyclist shouts, waving to the former Palo Alto vice mayor as he pedals past Castilleja School in a pack of riders. He recognizes her from across the street, even though she is wearing her helmet. "My goodness, look at them all!" Fletcher says.

Those who ride past her--proving her theory, "You build it, and they will come" -- are among the many cyclists in Palo Alto who have benefited from Fletcher's 30 years of bicycle advocacy.

With approximately 1,700 Palo Altans--5.6 percent of the working population -- choosing two wheels instead of four for their daily work commutes, Palo Alto has almost five times the percentage of bike commuters as that of Santa Clara County as a whole. The city's ratio is 14 times the proportion of bike commuters in the United States, according to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2000. (Read more.)
The tireless bike advocate Ellen Fletcher cited in this article is familiar to viewers of Ted White's excellent 1992 film, Return of the Scorcher. The article indicates that Palo Alto aspires to raise its "gold" level Bicycle Friendly Community recognition to "platinum," a distinction presently enjoyed only by Davis, California.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site
Also posted at Cycleicious.

1 comment:

Fritz said...

Ellen Fletcher is MY HERO. I think of Yoda when I see her.