#RideWithDamon Supervisor Connolly Sets Car-Free Example for Second Straight Year
For a second straight year, Marin County’s District 1 Supervisor Damon Connolly pledged to go car-free from April 11 to May 11, culminating on Bike to Work Day. Yes, it’s a #RideWithDamon Redux!
Writing on his Facebook page, Connolly stated his commitment to walking the walk in order to serve as an informed decision-maker.
“I appreciate using my bike to get around, as I get to experience all the different parts of San Rafael more closely – it is a great town, and a pleasure to represent,” Connolly wrote on April 25. “The duty of that representation means determining where and how we can work to do better as a community. I often hear about the challenges of navigating around the downtown area by bike and foot, so #RideWithDamon has been a great opportunity to become better acquainted.”
And if you’re curious, he’s really sticking to it. Connolly documents all of his trips around the County and Bay Area on his Facebook page, along with his observations. If you cross paths with him on your commute, make sure you grab a photo and use #RideWithDamon or tag him on Facebook.
We sent Supervisor Connolly a quick questionnaire to hear more about his thoughts on bicycling and takeaways from the car-free month:
General location in Marin where you tend to ride most frequently, or where you most commonly use your bicycle:
I ride most frequently throughout my Supervisorial District, which covers Lucas Valley, Marinwood, Terra Linda/North San Rafael, Santa Venetia/China Camp, downtown San Rafael, Pt. San Pedro Road and Peacock Gap to the east, and the Sun Valley and West End neighborhoods to the west.
What part of your ride do you like the best?
I like the fact that most of the rides I take to get to meetings and other appointments are relatively short and easy. It helps that I can ride to work at the Marin Civic Center from my home in North San Rafael in about 15 minutes, and that most of the other rides I take during the day are 15-25 minutes. I also like the accessibility of bikes as a way to cover the first and last mile from transit. That has really helped to get around.
What is your favorite ride/route?
I really like riding through the Cal Park Hill Tunnel. I never get tired of using what I regard as one of the great bike facilities around – one that we can all be proud of. It is really a game changing addition to the North-South Greenway to enable people to travel by bike quickly from San Rafael to Larkspur and beyond.
What do you like best about the benefits of riding your bike?
I always feel healthier when riding my bike. I’ve found that during the 30 days of #RideWithDamon that I always arrive at any given situation with a clear mind having ridden my bike. It also gives me a good feeling to know that my actions are contributing to a better environmental outcome for our communities.
“I have a vision where biking is safe, convenient and accessible for people of all ages… Where people can find seamless connections between bicycling and other forms of transit, and biking becomes the “go to” healthy alternative for getting to work, going to school, traveling around town, as well as continuing as an enjoyable form of recreation.”
What part of riding would you most like to improve?
We have a lot of work to do to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and circulation in downtown San Rafael. Some good projects are in the works, including the Multi-Use Path from Anderson Drive to 2nd Street and improvements to the Grand Avenue Bridge.
I’d like to see improvements traveling into San Rafael at the pinch point eastbound along 2nd after the Miracle Mile, among others. I’d also like to see a lot more bike parking facilities downtown, especially with the SMART train coming.
What is your favorite vision of bicycling in the future?
I have a vision where biking is safe, convenient and accessible for people of all ages, and that we utilize technology for those who need an assist through the growing market for electric bikes. Where people can find seamless connections between bicycling and other forms of transit, and biking becomes the “go to” healthy alternative for getting to work, going to school, traveling around town, as well as continuing as an enjoyable form of recreation.
What bicycling lessons have you learned during #RideWithDamon?
I’ve learned that with some planning and flexibility, biking is a very “doable” form of transportation, especially when combined with other forms of transit. I’ve also re-learned the lesson time and again during these 30 days that both bicyclists and automobile drivers need to stay alert, “share the road” and watch out for each other’s safety. #RideWithDamon has been as much about being mentally in shape as physically.
Finally, if there’s a further message you would like to share with the people who ride bikes in Marin County – whether simple, encouraging or aspirational – what would that be?
Mostly, I’ve been reminded that, while we still have work to do, Marin County truly is a leader in bicycle transportation nationwide. I look forward to continuing to work with organizations like MCBC, our representatives at the federal, state and regional levels and the people of Marin County to make cycling even more of a part of our healthy and environmentally conscious lifestyles.