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SCV biking just got easier

City Council votes to approve riding bikes on sidewalks

Posted: March 11, 2009 1:24 a.m.
Updated: March 11, 2009 4:30 a.m.
 
Watch your step. The City Council on Tuesday approved a revised municipal code allowing bicycles to be ridden on Santa Clarita sidewalks.

The item wound up on the agenda, in part, because as the city implements its nonmotorized plan it must deal with gaps in the trail system. Bike riders often resort to sidewalks in areas where they feel unsafe riding on the street next to traffic.

The item was unanimously approved by council members Laurene Weste, Bob Kellar, Marsha Mclean and Laurie Ender, with Mayor Frank Ferry absent.

Canyon Country resident John Lukes expressed concern regarding a portion of the code that stipulates bicyclists must dismount and walk their bikes through crosswalks.

If a cyclist is riding in the street with traffic, they may ride straight through intersections.

"When you get on a bike to commute, you want to get to work," said Lukes, who commuted eight miles daily for 15 years as a design engineer for Lockheed. "What you really want to do is get things moving."

Now retired, Lukes is a bicycle safety instructor, volunteering with the city and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

The long-term non-motorized plan approved by the council last year calls for $14 million in bicycling improvements, including 11 miles of new bike paths, 13 miles of new bike lanes and nine miles of bike routes, which are shared with motorists.

The city already has about 30 miles of off-street bike paths, 13 miles of bike lanes and two miles of bike routes.

Councilwoman Ender commented Tuesday that there also needs to be an increase in "share-the-road training" for motorists.

At the start of Tuesday's meeting, the council presented the city aquatics staff with the 2008 National Parks and Recreation Association's Excellence in Aquatics award.

Aquatics Director Doug Botton also received a certificate of special congressional recognition from U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, for Botton's work with the FBI underwater search and evidence response team. The team has trained at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center.

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