Making a Good First Impression

Stopping at Spanish Landing Park

Yesterday I rode the bike and pedestrian path along North Harbor Drive to an interview at the Airport.  The dress requirement was business casual, so I was wearing tailored slacks, a blazer and a tie, that I reserve for such occasions.  While riding I was struck by the beauty.  The Bike and Pedestrian path along the San Diego Bay must be one of the prettiest most relaxing entrances to a city around.  Knarled old trees throw shadows across the path, flowers are in bloom.  There are sights of sail boats bobbing in the harbor with a modern skyline in the distance.

I was able to navigate my way to the airport quite successfully it was apparent that the path was designed as a recreational walk meandering back and forth and prioritizing cars at all of the crossings, all of which were low traffic entrances to parking lots with the exception of the Harbor Island Drive crossing which had a push button activated signal designed for pedestrians.  When I reached the airport I found that there were no bike racks. I consulted with a security guard who advised me that I could lock my bike to the fence, but that there was a possibility that it could be impounded.  I had no other options so I took my chances.

While I was waiting in the lobby of the airport I saw a giant banner advertising the airports “Green” expansion of the airport terminal.  I hope that this expansion will include accommodations for bicycles as well as a connection to the San Diego Trolley System.  I have concern that bicycles accommodations in airports are under fire after reading a recent streets blog entry about how Arizona Senator John McCain inserted a stipulation in the “federal aviation reauthorization” that would bar airports from using passenger facility charges for bike parking facilities.  I believe that bike facilities are both practical and attractive especially at an airport that is close to the downtown and in a city that has beautiful weather year round.

The interview went well and I took my time on the ride back stopping to enjoy the sights. The “Positive Mental Attitude Walk” at the cancer survivors monument in Park was uplifting and sitting in the sun watching the harbor was relaxing.  I sat for a while as I penned this article and saw many bike commuters pass by including a military man riding a mountain bike wearing fatigues, a older gentleman with a French style beret hauling his groceries, a stylish young women off to an afternoon appointment along with a variety of people using the trail for exercise walking, jogging, or biking.

The view of the Harbor

Heading home I decided to go a little out of my way and swing by the Convention Convention Center.  I think that with the thousands of people who enter San Diego through the Airport and head for the downtown San Diego owes it to itself to put emphasis on active transportation.  We already have a beautiful recreational corridor connecting the Airport and the downtown.  A few minor accommodations such as bike racks and long term storage boxes at the airport could make this a practical option for bike commuters.  Risking having your bike impounded is not so practical.  If we added a bike sharing or rental system like has been implemented in other cities such as Washington DC, Minneapolis, or Denver riding a bike downtown could be a viable option for a large number of passengers arriving in San Diego.  They say “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and riding into San Diego along the harbor is a wonderful one to make.