The Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) and its Beautification Committee are to be commended. From flower baskets, to utility box art, nice trash cans, watering street trees, and cleaning the sidewalks; These are among the many things that the HBA does for the community.
It’s too bad most people in Hillcrest are driving past these beautification efforts in their car. Sure, Hillcrest can be abuzz with people on the street on weekend nights, but if you have ever walked University Ave in the middle of the day, you know that it’s mostly the homeless who are enjoying the flower baskets and sidewalk art.
All the flowers and art in the world cannot make a poorly designed street a successful street. Street beautification efforts without good street design is like putting lipstick on a pig.
Two changes are coming to Hillcrest that could help change that, but only if Hillcrest and the HBA are willing to embrace them. SANDAG has prioritized it’s Uptown Bike Plan and is pushing forward to add great bicycle facilities in Uptown’s business districts. And, Bike Share will become a reality in January 2014
Other cities that have added bike lanes and bike share already know the positive effects. Retail sales increase, injuries decrease, and the street becomes much more friendly and safer for everyone – not just bicycles.
And that’s the point; Great bike facilities are good for everyone – businesses, cars, pedestrians, and for those people too scared to ride on unsafe streets now. Building bike lanes and cycletracks is for all the rest of us, not for the people who already bike.
Hillcrest and Uptown have the opportunity to embrace the missing link. By designing streets for everyone and not just for cars, everyone benefits. Don’t let fear of change stop good change from happening. Educate yourself. Know the facts. Take a chance. Embrace change.
NYC is just one city that has been measuring the effects. Read the study.