Click here to find more stories published in the April 17 – 30, 2019 issue of Gilroy Life

Zachary Hilton

The wonderful thing about living in Gilroy is that the sunny weather is just around the corner with spring in the air. My family checks the air in our tires, brakes, and chains on our bikes religiously before each ride. We ride off down the bike lane on Third Street with the sun at our backs, and take it directly into downtown. Third Street would make a perfect bicycle boulevard in the future. We lock the bikes up at Sixth Street and Monterey Road and walk a few steps to Promised Land Brewing Company. The large glass windows make it inviting.  You can see directly into the newest taproom in downtown while driving, walking, scooting, or biking.  A parklet out front would enhance the walkability even more.

If you have not taken a walk in downtown lately, you have missed out on all the activity. Downtown is going to experience a huge boom soon with new restaurants, breweries, residential units, and retail. We are ready for all you walkers, scooters, and bike riders. There are more than 100 free front row bicycle parking locations and a free bicycle fix-it station at the bus stop on Fifth Street and Monterey Road. So when you come down for one of the many events we will reward the effort with free parking. We have plans for the free bike valet to come back this Summer for the Thursday Night Live Series.

The Gilroy Bicycle Pedestrian Commission released our 2019 Strategic Plan, Work Plan, and Budget Recommendations. One of the downtown projects we would like to complete is the downtown artistic bike racks. Creating a sustainable and integrated bicycle network connecting to all our bicycle friendly facilities in Gilroy. Downtown is a cycling destination for residents, visitors, and employees and a place to dine and shop. Caltrain users can travel to Gilroy with their bikes and connect safely throughout the city. With the addition of e-bikes/e-scooters, and a car share company we will reduce the need for owning your own vehicle. We would like to build off our success of a public/private source to fund the remaining seven artistic bike racks. We have a Downtown Bicycle Parking Plan in place, and a successful bike rack decal program that contributes to our Public Bike Fund. The cost is $350 for five years. After that, the donor will get first rights for another five years. We also have a focus on vehicle parking in the downtown and how it can be accomplished while creating equity for all users. The only type of angled parking we recommend is called back-in-angle parking. It’s the safest for all users of the road. We will be working on a test section for this style of parking on Eigleberry Street this summer for possible future use around the city and in the downtown.  We do not support or recommend parallel parking on any street for safety of motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclist.

On another note, the Bicycle Pedestrian Commission agreed with city staff to provide recommendations on bicycle parking on all projects as they come through planning. Sumano’s Bakery will be coming to downtown soon and will feature a small retail shop. Sumano’s will provide bicycle parking for their employees and  include bike racks out front for its customers. This brings back memories for me as a kid growing up in Berkeley and my mom would give me money to go get bread for dinner, and the ends of the sourdough baguette were always missing when I returned home on my bike.

Come join us May 9 for Bike to Work Day at the Caltrain VTA Station where we will be cheering on all the bike commuters and those that use public transportation with their bikes. We will be part of Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalitions 150 energizer stations located throughout Silicon Valley. Whether you use a tech shuttle, VTA, or Caltrain (where bikes board first) we got you covered with goodies and a free tote bag while supplies last.

Please remember to not block the bike lanes on trash pick-up days. If you have to place them in the bike lane, please remember all the users of the bike lanes that rely on it being clear and bring them back curbside as soon as possible.

Zachary Hilton is a member of Gilroy’s Bicycle Pedestrian Commission. Follow him at #GilroyBPAC.

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