Is there anyone in Southern California who has accomplished more?
That may be debatable, but one thing that isn’t is that Charlie Gandy has made Long Beach the preeminent city for cycling safety with the landmark project: bringing sharrows to Belmont Shore.
What’s a sharrow? See photo below; in Long Beach it’s a green stripe on the right lane with a cycling icon and a chevron, or arrow, in white, above it. The green stripe defines the safety zone, away from car doors that can open suddenly and away from faster moving traffic in the left lane.
What’s it feel like, riding the sharrows? Liberating! Validating! You feel like a legitimate vehicle! How do drivers react? “Nervous at first,” says Charlie, but they understand where the cyclist is; it’s more organized today. Since implementing the sharrows, bicycle traffic has doubled.
You say Belmont Shore reminds you of Corona del Mar in Newport Beach? It does for me, too, but what are the key features that made it work in Long Beach that may be harder to duplicate in CdM? How do local merchants react? It’s a great story of how bicycles are bringing added vitality to this neighborhood.
It’s Part I of two interviews with Charlie.