While most of the attention at Monday’s meeting of the Huntington Beach City Council was focused on the city’s growing image – to some – of being a hotbed of racist activity, there was good news on a wholly different front.
“Surf City” attracts a wide array of people wishing to exercise in the sun, including joggers, skateboarders, skaters and bicyclists. However, since 2017, electric bicycles have been banned on beach paths.
E-bikes are a fast-growing part of the two-wheel recreation world, especially among those over 50. The ban originated in complaints from beach-goers about some e-bikers moving too fast along those paths.
However, Councilmember Mike Posey – who first proposed the restrictions on e-bikes – has since come to the conclusion that it wasn’t just electric bicycles that can zoom unsafely. A vigorous cyclist on a traditional bike can easily reach or exceed 25 to 30 miles an hour.
“So,” Posey said at Monday’s meeting, “it’s not so much a problem with electric bikes as it is an enforcement issue.”
The council approved a proposal by Posey and Councilmember Natalie Moser for city staff to develop an “overall beach paths safety” plan that would allow for the use of e-bikes.
GG’s vigilant angel of the bike path
Nearly every city council has its regular cast of “gadflies” who make regular appearances, usually to complain about something. However, few have had much positive impact.
Craig Durfey is an exception. He has been a tireless advocate for maintenance and cleanup of various parts of Garden Grove with special attention being paid to the old Pacific Electric right-of-way that is now home to the Medal of Honor Bike and Pedestrian Path running northwest from Nelson to Brookhurst streets.
Durfey is the man who suggested naming the path after Garden Grovers who were honored with the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration. He patrols the path and takes photos – which he sends to city officials and the news media – of graffiti, litter and other things he feels detracts from the beauty of the area.
He gets results, too. We can see the impact of his vigilance. This is especially significant as city leaders mull the possibility of extending the route all the way to Chapman Avenue at the city’s retail core. Construction is already underway for a new center to be called Pavilion Plaza West, to be anchored by a Sprouts Farmers Market upscale grocery store, an Ulta beauty supply store and a Habit hamburger eatery.
If all came to fruition, Garden Grovers or visitors to city, would have – eventually – a parklike path from the city’s downtown to its most prominent shopping destination.
“Usually Reliable Sources” is posted every other week, alternating with Jim Tortolano’s “Retorts” column.