SM BEACH — What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with alternative transportation?

This Sunday residents can test their bicycling skills at Santa Monica’s new Bicycle Campus, an off-street learning area for people of all ages and abilities to become confident about riding.

The campus features a skills course for people to practice riding, handling and street skills with the aid of educational displays. The display boards are supported by a web-based bicycle education curriculum that includes videos. Groups may also use the campus to provide literature or classes.

The campus is located south of Ocean Park Boulevard at the Santa Monica State Beach. It is the first permanent cycling area in Santa Monica and the first of its kind in the greater Los Angeles area, city officials said.

“The Bicycle Campus provides an opportunity for people to gain the confidence to feel comfortable riding on city streets, as well as familiarity with bicycle-friendly design features that are being deployed on city streets,” according to a press release from City Hall.

The opening-day festivities will kick off at 12:30 p.m. There will be bike training co-sponsored by Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District PTA Council, Santa Monica Bike Center and City Hall. The event is free.

CITY HALL

Santa Monica wins big in tech

City Hall took home two first place Technology Solution Awards from the Public Technology Institute for its interactive web portal and social media channels focusing on future construction projects, as well as its mobile parking website to help people find parking in high-traffic areas.

The awards recognize governments at the forefront in deploying technology at the local level. This is the 13th consecutive year that Santa Monica has been recognized, city officials said.

Awards will be presented at the 2012 CIO & Leadership Summit, May 17-18 in Boston. More information on the Public Technology Institute can be found at www.pti.org/

To learn more about the “Be Excited! Be Prepared” campaign and the impacts of future infrastructure projects, go to www.smgov.net/bebp/

For more information on real-time parking, go to www.smgov.net/parkingmaps. Current information is available for 16 of Santa Monica’s 33 Downtown and beach parking lots. In the coming year, City Hall will be adding more parking lots to the program, as well as partner with vendors to include real-time parking information for private lots, city officials said.

news@smdp.com