What Do You See? New Bicycling Flag Flies for SB Families, for Choice
SANTA BARBARA—Look up, and you’ll see a new flag gracing State Street. The bright, colorful banner, designed by Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition (SBBIKE) art director Cynthia Stahl, depicts a family out on a bicycle ride together.
The community’s vibrancy and Stahl’s love of cycling inspired the flag’s design. “The bright colors and bold shapes that reference California’s design history,” Stahl explains, “also portray the blue sky, sun and ocean, tile roofs, and bougainvillea I view when I’m biking around Santa Barbara.”
Right now, Santa Barbarans have a unique opportunity (one that comes around only once every 15 years) to shape what they see when traveling by bike or car or foot. The South Coast’s municipalities are updating their Bike Master Plans (BMPs), which will determine cycling infrastructure changes over the next decade and a half. Through May and June, the City of Santa Barbara is conducting a public input process to determine what type of cycling infrastructure Santa Barbarans choose.
Choice, says Ed France SBBIKE executive director, is key. “We’re proud that Santa Barbara is a place where families can choose to ride bicycles together, where residents can choose to bike.”
And France is proud of how the new flag represents the coalition’s vision. “Every movement of a community needs an aesthetic element to give life to our shared vision,” he says. “I’m so appreciative that Cynthia and those she collaborates with on our team have brought to life a new aesthetic vision for cycling.”
That vision, says France, includes improved cycling and pedestrian infrastructure because improvements mean a transportation system where all road users—people who bike, people who walk, and people who drive—are safer. Better infrastructure also gives more people the opportunity to make alternative transportation choices, bringing benefits, such as less congestion, to the community.
Twenty-five years of community outreach shows SBBIKE the community supports this vision too. Through efforts like a survey conducted in both Spanish and English during SBBIKE’s annual bike light giveaway and a month-long project, Stand Up for Cycling, the coalition wants to help inform City Council’s research. Stand Up for Cycling, launched at SB’s Earth Day festival, has already produced 407 photographs of smiling groups and individuals displaying messages such as, “We need better bikeways,” “Close the gaps,” and “Bikes mean business.” Both the photos and survey results will be delivered to City Council.
SBBIKE education efforts, such as school programs, adult classes, and community events, teach people who choose to bike to share the roads safely.
When SBBBIKE, whose current advocacy campaign is called Connecting Our Community, looks to the future, it see the entire South Coast connected with safe bikeways—improving safety and comfort for all road users. If you look up on State Street for the next few weeks, you’ll see the colorful new bicycle banners. What do you see when you look to the future of Santa Barbara’s transportation system?
To be heard on this issue, visit the city’s BMP website at bmp.santabarbaraca.gov or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BMPSB. Highlight routes on the map. Fill out a survey in English at sbsurvey.org or in Spanish at ciclismosb.org. Get your photo taken at CycleMAYnia events held throughout May. Engage with the city in the public input process.