Category Archives: General

More Hidden History of the Bicycle in the North State

Construction Workers Ride Bikes in Clear Creek Tunnel
Construction Workers Ride Bikes in Clear Creek Tunnel

Sometimes we come across little tidbits of our the bicycle’s place in the history of the North State that are too good not to share. We recently came across this photo and article from the December 20, 1961 Redding Record-Searchlight:

LEWISTON— It was one of the strangest bicycle rides in the world.

Marvin Higday and Bob Day were clipping along on their lightweight bicycles thousands of feet inside the $36 million Clear Creek tunnel.

Higday and Day were just part of the crews that were winding up the big tunnel job last week. They work for Continental Drilling company, which is drilling test cores from the tunnel’s concrete lining for the U.S. bureau of reclamation.”

The 11-mile long, 17 1/2-foot diameter tunnel would have been quite an interesting bicycle commute, especially without today’s high-lumen bicycle headlights!
from the December 20, 1971 Redding Record-Searchlight

Bicycles & the Fourth of July of 1899

Redding has long history with the bicycle that we are just starting to rediscover through careful research.  For this Independence Day, we thought we would take a look at at the bicycle parade that was part of Redding’s Fourth of July celebration of 1899.

The Morning Searchlight [a predecessor of today’s Record Searchlight] of that day had an item alerting the public to changes in that day’s parade as follows:

The line of march for the illuminated bicycle parade this evening has been arranged as follows:

From North [Street, now Eureka Way]–down California street to Placer  across Placer to Market, up Market to Trinity, across Trinity to Pine, down Pine to Butte, across Butte to Market, down Market to Yuba, across Yuba to California, down California to North.

The Morning Searchlight ofJuly 6, in an article titled “The Greatest Celebration recapped the bicycle parade thusly:

The bicycle parade in the evening was a thing of beauty. The possibilities of wheel decoration and illumination are almost unlimited. As the procession of silent but fantastic bicycles rolled by the crowd cheered its delight. The first prize of $25 [over $700 in 2014 dollars] was awarded to Mrs. T.L. Price. A Chinese umbrella formed a canopy above her and the rim of this was hung with glowing lanterns. The wheel was otherwise beautified. The second prize of $15 [over $400 dollars in 2014 dollars] was awarded to Mrs. J.E. Pollock and G.W. Schafer of Red Bluff. They rode a companion wheel [an early form of a tandem bicycle where the riders rode side-by-side] which was completely hidden by its decorations. Their canopy was lighted with small incandescent lamps. The third prize went to Harry Bush and George Lawry for their battleship Oregon which they had constructed about a tandem.

Today, this tradition is carried on by Shasta Living Streets and friends, who ride in the Redding Rodeo Parade. Stay tuned for more fascinating bits of Redding’s lost cycling history, and have a Happy Fourth of July!

Further Refinements to California Street

When the California Street right-sizing was initially completed,  a large empty area was left on the east side of California Street to the left of the yellow line. We felt this was a less than optimal choice, because we were concerned the wide, empty area would be used as a travel lane or encourage speeding.

Happily. Caltrans recently returned and striped about a dozen on-street parking spaces along the east side of California Street. In addition to adding to downtown Redding’s already generous parking capacity, this has the effect of calming traffic: parked vehicles prevent motorists from using the area as an additional travel lane, the parked vehicles act as a buffer between traveling vehicles and pedestrians on the sidewalk, and the act of on-street parking discourages other motorists from speeding.

This is a win-win: more parking for motorists and safer streets for everyone!

More Refinements on the Way

A process is currently underway to develop a plan for Parking, Circulation, and Transportation in Downtown Redding.   Share your thoughts on these important community development issues:  contact information here –  Downtown Redding Transportation Plan

Mark your Calendar!  The first Community Workshop will be Wednesday, March 25 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, in the Atrium at the south end of the Market Street Promenade.   We hope you can attend this workshop to learn more about planning activities – and ways you can provide your input and ideas for improvements to downtown transportation.  Your voice counts.

Want to learn a little more about the history and development of Downtown Redding?   From the beginning of Redding’s history until today, it’s fascinating!  View it here:  Downtown Redding: A Timeline

Walkability: How To Revitalize Redding One Step At At Time – Part One

Before you start to say it can never happen here, it’s already begun. 

{Part One of a Series On Jeff Speck’s Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step At A Time, originally published on A News Cafe.]

Shasta Living Streets sometimes gets described as a bicycling group. While we advocate cycling, it’s just a portion of our platform.  Our full platform can be found in our name—living streets.  Streets that are lively and accessible to everyone in our community: bicyclists, pedestrians, young, old, abled, differently abled, and yes, motorists too.Carnegies_wide

The City of Redding has been attempting to revitalize downtown for fifty years now, to various degrees of success. In Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step At A Time, author and city planner Jeff Speck posits the key to making a vibrant city is walkability.  His book, clocking in at a breezy 312 pages, is an engaging and easy read that encapsulates the Shasta Living Streets agenda as well as anything we’ve seen.  We urge you to buy it, read it, share it with your friends, and join us to discuss it.

Characteristics that make streets truly walkable:  useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting

WalkableCityIn Walkable City, Speck argues walkability is more than just pedestrian safety. “If walking was just about creating safe pedestrian zones,” Speck asks, “then why did more than 150 Main Streets pedestrianized in the sixties and seventies fail almost immediately?” (Sound familiar?)  Speck puts forth what he calls the General Theory of Walkability, which asserts that a walkable city, town, or district must meet four criteria to be considered truly walkable: useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting:

Useful means that most aspects of daily life (work, school, groceries, etc.) are located close at hand and organized in a way that walking serves them well.  Safe means that the street has been designed to give pedestrians a fighting chance against being hit by automobiles; they must not only be safe but feel safe, which is even tougher to satisfy.  Comfortable means that buildings and landscape shape urban streets into “outdoor living rooms,” in contract to wide-open spaces, which usually fail to attract pedestrians.  Interesting means that sidewalks are lined by unique buildings with friendly faces and that signs of humanity abound.”

So why should our cities and towns be walkable?

Demographic Demand

Speck observes, “surveys show creative-class citizens, especially millennials, favor communities with street life.”  While Boomers and Gen-Xers grew up on TV portraying cities as dangerous dens of crime and the suburbs as pastoral ideals, millennials grew up on shows portraying cities as exciting and benevolent places full of life.  This preference for urban living is becoming dominant and is expected to last for decades.

Will they want to live in Redding or will they want to live somewhere else?

As they age, Baby Boomers (25% of the U.S. population) are downsizing their large, isolated, suburban empty nests and seeking more compact neighborhoods where they can walk instead of drive as part of their daily lives.  It makes sense; how many of us know an elder who has had to give up driving?  What happens when they are stuck in their suburban home miles from stores and services? How alienating must that be?

Between the millennials and boomers (the two largest demographic groups in America), the demand for walkable urban living has the potential be a large economic windfall;  Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institute theorizes it will take 20 to 30 years to meet the pent-up demand.  Will they want to live in Redding or will they want to live somewhere else?

It Makes Economic Sense

Living a walkable life means less spending on cars and more disposable income for local businesses.

In cities from New York to Seattle to Detroit, housing in walkable urban areas fetches a 40-200% premium over comparable housing in suburban neighborhoods.  The same principle can be found at work with commercial properties—during the recession, suburban office vacancies increased while downtown vacancies stayed put.

Living a walkable life means less spending on cars and more disposable income for local businesses.  Studies have shown that the average American family now spends more on transportation than housing—“about $14,000 per family per year driving multiple cars,” according to Speck, and “almost 85% of money spent on gas and cars leaves the local economy.”  If we made Redding walkable enough that only 1% of our families decided to go car-free, that could mean over 12 million dollars a year would be freed up for more discretionary—and local—spending.

Healthier Cities, Healthier Families

By now, everybody should know by now we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic that is making a tremendous negative impact on medical expenditures, lifespans, and the quality of life.  Many studies are beginning to link this epidemic “directly to the automotive lifestyle.”

According to Speck, “one effort found for every additional five minutes Atlanta-area residents drove a day, they were 3% more likely to be obese.”  The automobile also impacts public health through pollution, car crashes, and even higher blood pressure caused by sitting in traffic.

It Can Happen Here

Before you start to say it can never happen here, it’s already begun. More and more young professionals are moving downtown, citing its proximity to activities, events, businesses, and the river trail as its best features.  Christine Stokes, Executive Director of the Shasta Historical Society, moved downtown to be closer to work and friends and quickly fell in love with the architecture and greenery.  “I love being able to sit outside at a local restaurant for dinner and then take a stroll home,” says Stokes.

“I see so much more when not driving through; businesses I didn’t know existed, places I’ve never visited, in a town in which I was born and raised.”

Brandi Greene of E2 Consultant Engineers and Catalyst bought a house downtown to make a daily impact in an area she would like to see evolve.  “I have enjoyed the look on other’s faces when I say I walked,” she smiles. “I see so much more when not driving through; businesses I didn’t know existed, places I’ve never visited, in a town in which I was born and raised.”

Both Greene and Stokes still see a need for changes downtown—we’ll discuss these changes in a future article—but it’s becoming clear that with a little work, we can turn this kind of interest and commitment into a thriving downtown for everyone.

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Michael Kuker contributes policy analysis and communications strategies to help create more livable communities in our region.

Better Bikeways and Walkable Cities

Bicycling is growing as more people discover the joys and convenience of bicycling.   Businesses want more people to walk and bicycle because more foot traffic means more spending and social energy in local business districts.  

People want to  walk or bicycle more in their daily lives to reduce transportation costs, stay healthy, and have more active lifestyles.

At the same time too many people are still hurt or killed while bicycling.   The average person  will not join those of us who already bicycle and walk unless we overhaul our streets with safe streets and bikeways that connect our destinations and protect us from speeding car traffic.   

better bikeways2

 See all the people in our community standing-    up and smiling big in order to support Better Bikeways and Walkable Cities, visit our Instagram.

 Read the blog post on Walkable Cities:  Here

 

HOW DO WE CONTRIBUTE?

Support.  Shasta Living Streets works to share the broad support by individuals, families and businesses in our community for Better Bikeways and more Walkable Cities.    Funding.  We help local agencies secure more funding for implementation of changes on the streets and development of greenways and trails.     Best Practice.  We share information and facilitating conversation about best practice and innovations in street and neighborhood design so we can all better support improvements.     Better Design.   We help local agencies and cities plan for improved local standards and street design that meets the needs of individuals, families and businesses in our community.

GET INVOLVED

Become a Member of Shasta Living Streets.  Build the movement for excellence and active living in our community.   It’s easy:  Here

Add your smile to our set of photos.  Come to one of our events and have your photo taken, or contact Anne at athomas@shastalivingstreets.org

Read Walkable Cities with us.  Join our community-wide book club or one of our conversations about what makes towns and cities thrive.    Information:  Here   1st Blog Post Review:  Here

Collaborate.   Shasta Living Streets is a collaborative effort by people like you.  Add a little of your time and energy to make a difference.   More information:  Here

Downtown Can Save America

What makes towns and cities thrive:  walkability.

People in the Parkview and Garden tract neighborhoods can walk to downtown Redding in 15 minutes, but today they rarely do.   The River Trail hosts many tourists looking for a place to eat lunch, but they have a hard time getting to local restaurants ten minutes away.

People in our community regularly report they want to walk or ride a bicycle to local destinations but they do not feel safe because of traffic.   Why is that?   And what can we do about it?

What is a walkable, bicycle-friendly downtown – and how do we get one?

We are asking that question, sharing methods and examples about how towns can and do change, and hosting conversations across the community to build understanding and develop ideas about how to support improvements in our community.

Would you like to join one of our discussions?

Contact Anne at athomas@shastalivingstreets.org to plan a  time to talk with your group.

WalkableCity

Walkable City:  How Downtown Can Save America One Step at A Time.  by Jeff Speck.

Jeff Speck is an urban planner who has dedicated his career to determining what makes cities thrive.  And he has boiled it down to one key factor:  walkability.    His book does not describe a new approach, rather it is a readable overview of what has been known for over thirty years.   What’s needed is:  understanding, decision-making, and action to put good ideas into place.

 

A New Look For A New Year

Welcome to our new website! We thought a new year deserved a new look, so we borrowed some of Santa’s more technically-gifted elves after Christmas and plied them with oatmeal cookies and Christmas leftovers.

Our new website should be more legible on your tablet and phone, and features more images to show off our beautiful region. Let us know what you think!

Add your voice, work together virtually, minimize meetings and maximize impact

Volunteer with Shasta Living Streets

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You have energy, expertise, a desire to learn more and contribute to your community in a real and meaningful way.

We have a strong, local organization with a great reputation and an ever-growing list of opportunities to make a difference in this community.  We have a group of talented people who contribute time and expertise to provide tangible products, services and events.

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We need your help.   We are already making a difference – but the opportunity is great.  Let us help you find a way to connect to this movement.   Our goal is to have powerful impact with what we do – and have fun while we do it.

Upcoming opportunities include:

    • Be a part of the hackathon to develop and launch our new website
    • Join the team putting together our first BIKE WALK SHASTA COMMUTER GUIDE
    • Help us gather sponsorships for the next Cascade Theatre event
    • and more!

 

Contact us today to find out how your skills and expertise can make a difference.  Volunteer a little of your time:  add your voice, work together virtually, minimize meetings and maximize impact.

Thank you!

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Anne Wallach Thomas

I look forward to talking with you.  Contact me at athomas@shastalivingstreets.org

 

Shasta Living Streets is evolving to function as the grassroots backbone support organization to facilitate collective impact by a number of individuals and groups in our community who want to see our region become a more livable place.  It’s about business, families and health.  And brings more joy to everyone’s lives.

 

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Join Shasta Living Streets—Become A Member Today

Your support helps build great cities and towns in our region where everyone can lead an active lifestyle and bicycle and walk for everyday transportation, health, and joy.

Join Us or Renew Today!  Together we build better bikeways, trails, walkable cities and vibrant public places.

  • Individual Supporter…. $20
  • Family Supporter……….. $30
  • Champion……………………… $60
  • Innovator……………………. $250
  • Student Supporter……. $10

Pay online:  Individual membership on Square Market

Pay by check:   For your use –  Printable Form for mailing.  MembershipInvitation

Mail your membership and contact information to us at:

Shasta Living Streets
P.O. Box 941, Palo Cedro, CA  96073

Local businesses will receive exclusive promotional benefits.  Printable Form for Businesses

Thank you.   Encourage your friends and favorite businesses to become members today.   Learn more:  What we do

Your membership and donation to Shasta Living Streets is tax-deductible.   Questions?  Contact Anne.

Thank you!

Caring supporters like you ensure donated funds are used locally and help build excellence in our community.

Learn more – What we do

The Railyard

All Aboard! Exciting Potential Development Coming To Downtown Redding?

Shasta Living Streets has been talking with the Shasta Historical Society and other stakeholders in the discussion about the historic Wells Fargo building on Yuba Street and the long underused Union Pacific railroad reservation on which it sits. The current proposal would transform the site into “The Railyard,” a permanent home to the farmers’ market and a major multimodal transportation crossroads in downtown Redding!

This is an important opportunity to improve the walking and bicycling experience in downtown for three groups with significant purchasing power that will help make this downtown site a success:

Local shoppers:  People who will be more easily able to walk or bicycle from the many neighborhoods within two miles;

River trail tourists: There’s tremendous untapped potential for spending that will naturally come downtown once we build better bicycle and walking connections to our trail system;

Adventure-cycling enthusiasts bringing their bicycles to town by Amtrak’s Bicycle Tourism Route.  Read more about what Amtrak is doing to encourage and support tourists traveling with their bicycles.

Take a look at the preliminary Master Plan, put together with input from many stakeholders by the talented team at Trilogy.

Shasta Living Streets is working with the other stakeholders in this project to ensure that the infrastructure and facilities to support these groups (and their spending downtown) are included in the project scope.

What We Hope to See in this Mixed-Use Site

More ideas and details will come as we help develop the concept with stakeholders.  For now, here are five key things that we think are necessary to make this project a success.

  • Bikestation to provide services and information for people using a bicycle to get around Downtown Redding and beyond.
  • Bike corral or bicycle lockers for shoppers at the Farmers Market and visiting the historical site and other attractions.
  • Roll-on bicycle service at Amtrack – Infrastructure to ensure convenient travel for people with bicycles
  • Local neighborhood connections – Infrastructure to ensure reliable connections to neighborhoods and attractions within 2 miles of the Railyard
  • Reliable, convenient connection to the River Trail – Infrastructure to ensure reliable connections between the River Trail and the Railyard

If you have any ideas or other input you want to see included, or just want to talk about the project, please contact Anne.

Bikestation 

One of the facilities we are advocating for the Railyard project is a Bikestation that would serve people coming to Redding through the transit crossroads and as well as those using the Railyard for the farmers’ market and other activities.

Bikestations are being installed in many places around the country and each one is customized to meet the needs of the community. They serve as a convenient place for secure bicycle parking and can offer affordable services and amenities for travelers, commuters, and casual cyclists such as:

  • Bicycle self-repair stations
  • Bike rentals & repairs
  • Retail sales & bicycle accessories
  • Restrooms, showers and/or changing rooms
  • Day-use lockers
  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Access to environmentally-clean vehicle-sharing
  • Easy access to public transportation
  • Information to plan your commute trips

Learn more about Bikestations across the country.

A New Direction – Rails-With-Trails

This report gives examples across the country of public places and trails near railways.

Rails-With-Trails Are Safe and Increasing

Inspiration – An Image is Worth A Thousand Words  

The Downtown Redding Railyard project needs ideas and support from all of us across the community.  There is much we can do to build a livable community and a vibrant downtown in Redding.

The photo below is from a project in Rockville, MD.

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From Better Cities.