Cycling Celebration

Town & Gown Bike Ride Returns, Cuts Ribbon on Pomona Bike Lanes
by Clay Fowler

Cal Poly Pomona’s 2022 Town & Gown Bike Ride made up for lost time.

Returning from a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual event to promote alternative transportation  drew its largest ever turnout and officially opened the city of Pomona’s new protected bike lanes.

About 70 riders — students, faculty, staff and community members — saddled up for the 10-mile ride that began at CPP’s Student Services Building and journeyed through Pomona, eventually leading to the city’s historic museum, Casa Primera.

“Bringing the Town & Gown Bike Ride back to campus in 2022 has been the highlight of my job at Cal Poly Pomona,” says Danny Wu, executive director of the CPP Office of Campus Planning, Transportation & Sustainability. “The ride showed how important sustainable transportation options are to the campus community and that we don’t always need a car to get around.”

History Professor John Lloyd, co-chair of the Alternative Transportation Committee that helped organize the event on March 25, says the idea is for students and faculty to learn and experience the bike-friendly routes between the campus and the surrounding community.

The purpose of this ride is to encourage biking as a form of transportation at Cal Poly Pomona and to build a strong relationship between the city of Pomona (Town) and the university (Gown). Biking is an excellent way to promote health, sustainability and a strong community. Biking is also an affordable form of transportation that saves students money on gas, parking and other expenses.

There was a new route for participants to learn this year: the recently constructed two-way bike route on Valley Boulevard, or Cycle Track, a partnership between the university and the city that significantly improved bicycle access and safety for riders and motorists. These protected bike lanes bordering the Cal Poly Pomona campus were formally opened with a ribbon cutting by city officials partway through the Town & Gown ride.

bikeway markers along Valley Blvd

After commemorating the opening of the new lanes, cyclists headed to Casa Primera, a historic museum that preserves Pomona’s important records and artifacts, just one of the points of interest along the route planned by Gwen Urey, professor of urban and regional planning. The Pomona Historical Association met the riders and talked about the site’s historic significance. Cal Poly Pomona’s mariachi band also played at this stop. After visiting the museum, cyclists return to the Student Services Building.

Other attractions along the route were a display of Foothill Transit’s all electric double-decker bus and a demonstration of the Southern California Association of Government’s Go Human traffic calming measures near Arroyo Elementary School.

“I think this is a wonderful event that highlights Cal Poly Pomona’s climate commitment, its commitment to health and wellness, and togetherness,” Lloyd says. “The ride brings us closer to the community and has a positive impact on the city and the university. Each year, it grows in popularity because word gets out about how much fun it is.”

The Office of Campus Planning, Transportation and Sustainability in Facilities Planning & Management and the university’s Alternative Transportation Committee sponsored the event.

The Town and Gown Ride has been an annual event since 2016, but it was suspended in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19. The first ride in 2016 was proposed and organized by the Transportation Advisory Committee of ASI, an ad-hoc committee that was the forerunner of the current ATC.