Orange County’s love/hate affair with automobiles may be about to leave a little more road space for bicycles, at least in Garden Grove. City authorities’ current crowdsourcing initiative Re:Imagine Downtown is designed to brainstorm with the public a broad new vision plan for revitalizing downtown – with the promise of implementation to follow. That new vision could include improving bike safety.
One of the topics under discussion on the forum are “Programs and Events to Educate and Promote Bike Lanes and Bicycle Culture”. For Garden Grove residents, this discussion is long overdue. According to the latest figures from the California Highway Patrol, in 2011 alone Garden Grove had 73 injuries involving bikes, (2 fatal) and 58 injuries involving pedestrians (2 fatal).
As part of the initiative, the inaugural Garden Groves Open Streets festival is scheduled for Sunday Oct. 12th. 3 miles of downtown will be closed off and for five hours the streets will belong to bikers and pedestrians. The free festival is inspired by a Bogota, Columbia tradition called ciclovia that first began in the 1970s to help curb automobile pollution and traffic. This idea is just now beginning to spread to cities in the United States.
The festival is an encouraging start. But continued citizen involvement is needed to keep the momentum going. I encourage you to go to the Garden Grove Open Streets Facebook Page to post and comment. This is your chance to make your voice heard on what you want for Garden Grove. This initiative may be our best opportunity to significantly reduce Garden Grove bike accidents and make other welcome changes as well. Join the discussion and give it your support. Council members and planning commissioners are listening. But active community support will be necessary to see the vision turned into action.
If you have any questions about the initiative’s bike proposals or any other current measures to reduce personal injuries, please contact us.