Going Public…Squid’s preferred form of exercise is baking—it requires using the forearm muscles of Squid’s tentacles—but once in a while, Squid gets motivated to go out on a bike ride. This weekend, Squid put some air in the tires and off Squid went on Squid’s two wheels, taking a scenic route along the coast. There were some whales spouting, seabirds dive-bombing and overall pretty scenery. Then, as Squid rounded the bend just past Asilomar State Beach to pedal into Pebble Beach, Squid saw a sign: “NO BICYCLES.”

Squid thought maybe Squid has misread the sign, and as Squid slowed on Squid’s way to the gate, two security officials immediately told Squid to turn around and bike the other way. “It’s for your safety,” one of them said. (Having already taking safety into account, Squid was wearing a helmet and a blinking light.)

Squid gets it—the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was going on, which brings big buses and some extra traffic—but Squid’s plans did not involve going near the golf tournament (too much uphill required for Squid’s taste).

Squid’s colleague checked in with Katie Butler, a coastal planner for the California Coastal Commission, who was surprised to learn the roads had been closed to bicyclists.

While Pebble Beach Company has permission to close the roads to cars for special events—up to 20 days per year—Butler says there’s no explicit permission to close the roads to cyclists or pedestrians.

She cites a 1987 public-use agreement between the Coastal Commission, Pebble Beach Company and Monterey County that allows road closure for special events—“but that is only supposed to apply to cars,” Butler says.

She’s been at work with PBC officials for years to update that decades-old document. It’s spurred by the county’s 2012 approval—with conditions of approval—for Pebble’s “final buildout,” and those conditions include a freshened-up public-use agreement.

Butler expects the new one to be complete within a year, but to date, she says, there’s no exception for bicycles. Based on drafts and discussions to date, Butler says, “It's going to be pretty clear, as far as we're concerned, they can close for a certain number of days for cars, but not for bikes or pedestrians.”

A Pebble Beach Company spokesperson didn’t respond to Squid’s calls by deadline. Squid read over the 1987 agreement, which gives PBC the power to restrict access “from time to time,” but it doesn’t clearly say whether that restriction applies to bikes.

Squid wonders if Squid might try a different public access approach; if Squid tries approaching from Squid’s lair in the sea by swimming up to the banks would that be allowed? That might give Squid a different safety concern—errant golf balls.

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(1) comment

Mari Lynch, Bicycling Monterey

Bicycling Monterey wants some of Squid's shrimp-flavored popcorn comfort food after reading this column. Our tires deflated on learning that a California Coastal Commission planner wasn't a regular reader of bikemonterey.org! Alas, if they were, they'd likely be aware of the Pebble Beach tips https://bit.ly/bikepebblebeach and the Monterey County https://bit.ly/BikeCalendar. Both have posted the AT&T week PB bike restriction advisories for years, at the suggestion of the now-retired PB Company safety director, who biked regularly. That advisory is also noted in Bicycling Monterey's https://bit.ly/ATTPebbleProAm post. Sounds like change may be in the wind.

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