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SAN DIEGO -- In a region where cars rule, San Diego is taking big steps to become a bicycle-friendly city, civic leaders said at the unveiling of a new bike corral this morning on Richmond Street in Hillcrest.
The fifth such structure in the city, the bike corral includes six racks in the shape of bicycles that bicyclists can secure their bikes to while stopping in the area. The first bike corral in San Diego was unveiled last May - also in Hillcrest - on Fifth Avenue at University. Since then, the city has made it a priority to install these structures, although all of them currently reside in neighborhoods in City Council District 3.
Council President Todd Gloria said at this morning's ribbon-cutting ceremony that while he is proud to represent the district that is home to all of the city's bike corrals, he'd like to see them placed in other areas, too.
"District 3 residents need to be able to ride their bikes to other parts of the city," Gloria said.
The bike corral was paid for by the Uptown Community Parkig District and the organization has signed an agreement with the city to maintain the structure in perpetuity.
Glenn Younger, president of HBA said that his organization is pleased to help support a more bike friendly Hillcrest and city.
"Hillcrest is one of the most bike friendly cities in the neighborhood, although it lacks bicycle lanes in many parts of the neighborhood," Younger said.
Younger hopes that the installation of these corrals is a step toward a more bicycle friendly city.
Mayor Bob Filner was also present at the event, and said that these bike corrals are simply the beginning of the city's efforts to make San Diego more bike friendly.
Filner told the crowd that he sympathizes with bicyclists in the city - after participating on numerous ride-a-longs - noting that riders often endure harassment from drivers, car doors swinging open into bike lanes, and dangerous intersections.
"We are beginning to build a bicycle infrastructure in San Diego with the installation of these bike corrals and the bike share program that will launch in a few months," Filner said.
The mayor also announced San Diego's first CicloSDia event, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 18.
Based on the ciclovía concept that is popular in many Latin American countries, an entire portion of San Diego's roadways will be cleared of cars to make way for people to bicycle, walk, jog, and relax without the interruption of cars.
Some cities throughout the world host such events each week to encourage residents to get out and explore their cities and be less dependent on automobiles as a form of transportation.
In Los Angeles - considered by some to be one the most car-dependents cities in the U.S. - has launched CicLAvia, an annual event that promotes the ideals of the ciclovía.
San Diego's first CicloSDia event will start in Barrio Logan and follow 30th Street into North Park.
Back in Hillcrest, the new bike corral on Richmond Street was created to celebrate the neighborhood's history as the center of San Diego's vibrant LGBT community. The 6 racks are each painted a color of the rainbow, causing Gloria to call the structure "culturally competent for Hillcrest."
More information about other bicycle innovations in San Diego can be found on BikeSD's website.
Top left: The new bike corral on Richmond Street at University Avenue.
Bottom left: Gloria addressing the crowd at this morning's unveiling.