South Bay Bicycle Coalition Scores $240,000 Grant! Huge Grassroots Victory for Brand New Bike Group

South Bay Bicycle Coalition members including Redondo Beach Councilman Steve Diels, with County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas and County Department of Public Health Staff upon awarding of the grant. That's South Bay Bicycle Coalition Chairman, Todd "Elvis" Dipaola rocking the shades.

Your Greenius got great news from downtown Los Angeles on Friday when my pal, Todd Diapola called me from outside the Kenny Hahn Hall of Administration to report that he and the other representatives of the South Bay Bicycle Coalition, of which I am a proud founding member, had just been told our SBBC was getting the big, fat $240,000 grant we had applied for.

Considering that our volunteer group had scrambled and worked our asses off at a whirling dervish pace to get all the paperwork and lobbying done by the deadline, it was especially sweet news for us.

But it’s even better news for the health of our South Bay communities – not just for the obesity-fighting exercise that people on bicycles are going to be getting, but just as importantly, for the cleaner air we’re going to get to breathe thanks to people using pollution-free bicycle transportation instead of driving their cars.

The $240,000 grant is going to pay for a Master Bicycle Plan for the South Bay, one that will link our lead city of Redondo Beach with Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Lawndale, Gardena and the Blighted City of Torrance.

Members of the newly formed South Bay Bicycle Coalition are happy with the Hermosa Beach "sharrows," which allow bicyclists to use a lane of traffic on Hermosa Avenue. The group hopes to see more South Bay cities install such bicycle-friendly facilities. (Steve McCrank, Daily Breeze Staff Photographer)

How much more sense could it make?  We’re the most ideal place in the United States to ride a bike and like most other places in the country today our kids and community suffer from some serious rates of obesity.  How much more sense could it possibly make to develop an alternative transportation network that links all our cities and interconnect our South Bay neighborhoods to our schools, workplaces, community centers, shopping centers and retail stores, libraries, restaurants and services.

And we can thank Barack Obama and his stimulus programs for all the money to do this since the grant dough comes from the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health and was made available as a result of a stimulus grant the County itself won from Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative.

Even though it seemed like an impossible feat to win this grant, the real hard work has just begun and the SBBC now has to move quickly to meet all the requirements of the grant.  That’s okay, we’ve all waited a long time for this and we’re not afraid of hard work.

And it’ll be worth it.  For the health of not just all the kids, but for your friendly neighborhood Greenius as well.  I could stand to drop 15-20 pounds and I do love me some beach bike path pedaling.

And you’ve got to dig it for helping to get us to carbon neutral on our way back to 350ppm too.   Can you sense a pattern here lately in the South Bay?

Yeah… me too.

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