You have to love 4th Street / Retro Row in Bike Friendly Long Beach
Long Beach is working hard to become more bike friendly. We have separated lanes in the downtown area. We have green sharrows on 2nd Street. We have a great bike boulevard on Vista…and are in the process of designing three more Bike Boulevards.
And now we have Sharrows, new pole banners and buses with great bike safety messages all in the Retro Row area of 4th Street.
One of the most vibrant and interesting shopping and dining areas in Long Beach is RetroRow on 4th Street. Centered between Junipero and Cherry on 4th, it is populated by unique stores offering “retro” clothing and other goods, a great book store, awesome coffee shops including the well known Portfolio, the great Art Theater, which has hosted several of our bike film festivals and two new parklets, one in front of Lola’s Mexican Restaurant and the other in front of Number Nine restaurant.
Retro Row has always been an area that has attracted bicyclists.
Coffee shops such as Portfolio, owned by Kerstin Kansteiner, has for years been a mecca for bicyclists looking for a great place to hang out. And it is now the place were the monthly Cyclone Coasters ride begins, a rider that attracts over 100 bicyclists each month for leisurely ride through Long Beach on vintage bikes.
Because this area was bike friendly and had a number of business owners who were interested in making their shopping area even more bike friendly…Retro Row was chosen to participate in the Long Beach’s first Bicycle Friendly Business Districts program.
But along the popularity of bicycling in the area came issues with bicyclists on sidewalks. And the merchants said…we love the bicyclists coming into our shops and restaurants…but what can you do to help us get the bicyclists off of the sidewalk?
The city looked at the option of putting in bike lanes…but without removing the center lane – or removing lots of parking there just wasn’t enough room for bike lanes.
The use of sharrows on the street was suggested to the business owners and the residents…and the overwhelming response was…lets try it.
So two months ago our City Street Crew installed the sharrows on a 14 block stretch of the street. At about the same time as part of our Share our Streets campaign we installed pole banners with safety message for both motorists and bicyclists ..and walk your bike on the sidewalk messages. We also began a program with our police department to do a combined education and enforcement campaign centered around walking your bike on the sidewalk.
This photo shows the sharrows, the bike banners and one of the “bikes may use full lane” signs that are posted along the route. It also illustrates the proper place to ride…out on the sharrow. The reason for riding here is that the rider (1) is out of the door zone and (2) is visible to drivers.
And ask the merchants about the Bike Saturday program…and about how they are making use of the 4th Street Cargo Bike
Dine on the parklets in front of Lola’s or Number Nine– two of the great restaurants along Retro Row.
We want to say thanks to everyone who has been such a big part of not only making Long Beach more bike friendly – but making great areas like Retro Row wonderful places to Dine, Shop and Bike….
Want to know the route from the BikeStation to Retro Row…check out the Maps and Rides section of BikeLongBeach.org