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Town and Gown Ride cycles back to campus

By Brandon Cummings and Daniel Tapia, Apr. 12, 2022

After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Cal Poly Pomona’s annual Town and Gown Ride cycled back in town on March 25. The campus and local community joined together to participate and experience Pomona’s revamped bicycle lanes.

The 10-mile ride began on Kellogg Drive, mapping all the way to Casa Primera and back. With options to bring a bike or borrow an electric bicycle, dozens of participants were prepared to venture the new trail. This new trail was implemented in fall 2021  to provide safer transportation routes and make commuting to campus more convenient and accessible.

The Pomona community celebrates the grand opening of new protected bike lanes. (Daniel Tapia | The Poly Post)

John Lloyd, event coordinator and co-chair of the Alternative Transportation Committee has been actively involved in efforts to improve and encourage sustainable transportation alternatives. Lloyd, along with the committee, were thrilled for this event.

“This is so exciting and it’s bigger and better than ever,” Lloyd said. “It’s especially exciting because we have an opportunity to celebrate safer streets for bicycling around Cal Poly with the new protected bike lanes on Valley Boulevard.”

Made possible by the City of Pomona, the relationship between the city and its college was highlighted by the event also serving as a grand opening of the new Valley Boulevard bicycle lanes. By the city providing more lanes onto campus, cycling students can now commute under safer conditions.

Danny Wu, event coordinator and co-chair of the Alternative Transportation Committee, expressed how special this year’s event was by the city helping and improving the streets of Pomona not just for the students, but for the whole community.

“The Town and Gown ride symbolizes the partnership the campus has with its host city; the campus is not an island in itself,” said Wu. “The intention for this event is to display the bridge the campus has with Pomona’s community. We do have some shared lanes on campus, but it is not a complete network. So, I am hoping events like this, and the voices of students who care about transportation, will help encourage the administration to invest more in this type of infrastructure.”

Riders begin to take off on their 10-mile tour around the City of Pomona. (Daniel Tapia | The Poly Post)

To further signify the relationship between campus and city, the map for the event was routed to where participants rode throughout a section of Pomona. With the trail stretching 10 miles across the city, participants did not just receive good exercise, but also a self-guided tour of some neighborhoods.

Robert Reed, a history student, shared his experience riding in the Town and Gown ride.

“I thought it was really cool because for the second part of the ride we went through some of the neighborhoods and got to see a lot of the community,” Reed said. “The best part though was meeting new people and just being able to exercise outdoors.”

The safety of the students and cyclists was the priority for organizers. Students in the past have shown an interest in biking to and from campus but were intimated by the conditions.

The bicycle lanes were implemented last fall with the goal of better protecting cyclists’ safety in response to sometimes fatal incidents. Most recently, in 2013, Ivan Arturo Aguilar, a communication student, was killed while cycling to campus when we was struck by a vehicle.

CPP alumnus Carlos Gomez (‘18, biotechnology) shared his thoughts on the new lanes.

“When I was a student here there were no protected bike lanes, so I had my fair share of encounters with cars and red lights,” Gomez said. “It was nice to see that after a few years there’s new bike lanes and hopefully we can have a safer environment for students.”

Participants gather with University President Soraya Coley after a successful event. (Daniel Tapia | The Poly Post)

Cycling is now a safer alternative for students to choose from but for students who live further away in the Los Angeles area, biking is not always an option. Therefore, the event also displayed Foothill Transit’s Silver Streak bus line, an all-electric double-decker bus with a route near Interstate 10 all the way to downtown Los Angeles running every 10 minutes.

“With the Class Passes students have, they can take this transit for free,” Lloyd said. “We’re trying to have a permanent stop on campus so that students can take transit. We’re just looking for better alternative transportation initiatives for students to save money.”

For more information on alternative transportation options and future projects, the campus can contact Lloyd at jplloyd@cpp.edu.

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