DOWNTOWN

In an effort to make the city more bike-friendly, Santa Monica has increased the number of public bike racks near local businesses.

Residents can request the businesses at which they would like to see a bike rack at www.smgov.net/go by clicking the “submit a request” button at the bottom of the page.

City Hall began this bike rack installation project last month, and since its inception over 100 bike racks have been placed on Main Street and Montana Avenue. Fifty racks have been installed on Ocean Park Boulevard, while nearly 50 more were scattered across the rest of the city.

“(The) city of Santa Monica has a commitment to no net auto trips by 2030. Getting more people on bikes is a big part of that,” said Deputy Director of Special Projects Lucy Dyke in a statement on Thursday.

Dyke said City Hall aims to increase the percentage of bike commuters to 14 to 35 percent, whereas it is now at 3 percent.

The waiting period for seeing a requested bike rack installed at a location should be no longer than a year, Dyke said.

— Serli Polatoglu

CYBERSPACE

SMFD joins twitter and Facebook

Although it is not recommended you contact them through Facebook if your house is ablaze, the Santa Monica Fire Department has joined the social media world. Now, you can “like” the SMFD on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

“We recognize that a lot of people use social media to get information, and we want to have that option for people,” said Suzanne Post, fire safety coordinator.

The SMFD’s Facebook page already includes information on community events that the fire department is active in, as well as information about fire safety and regulations. Links to videos and articles that the SMFD hopes Santa Monica citizens will find helpful are also posted on the page.

The SMFD is using Twitter to post Santa Monica weather updates, as well as information about traffic and fire safety.

The SMFD hopes to continue updating these pages, expanding the information listed to include frequently asked questions about the department.

Many Santa Monica city pages have gotten a recent overhaul intended to make them more user friendly, and more than a few have embraced social media.

The SMFD joins other branches of the Santa Monica government that have started using social media to connect with citizens. The Santa Monica Police Department has a Facebook page, and City Hall has a Twitter account. The Santa Monica Public Library has both.

The SMFD hopes that its use of social media will raise awareness of its involvement in the community, as well as inform people about safety issues. It also hope this will encourage more people to connect to the fire department.

“Our website is changing and growing depending on the feedback we get,” Post said. “Someone may not go on the website, but they may be on Facebook.”

If you’d like to check out the SMFD’s social media sphere, you can find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/santamonicafd, and follow them on Twitter @santamonicafd.

— Colin Newton

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