Bay Area Street Portraits: Sal
[Editor's Note: This series comes to us from Charlotte Buchen of StreetsblogSF and chronicles residents in the Bay Area and the role transportation plays in their lives. This is the second in the series.]
Sal Bednarz believes in creating community, so when he opened a new café in his beloved neighborhood in Oakland, he gave it bike-friendly features. But Sal’s not trying to make a statement – he just thinks bike parking should come standard.
Sal: [0:17] I opened a cafe four blocks from my house, and I did that because I thought it was really important to build something that really is about my neighborhood. [0:30] I don't think that anything I am doing is all that revolutionary, but a lot of other people seem to think it is. You know, I think that it should be normal that there should be bike parking.
[0:46] I am Sal. I live in Oakland, in a really great neighborhood full of interesting people. It is the people in this town that I really, really love. A lot of creative people; a lot of just strange people. I felt like I really fit in for the first time in my life.
[1:10] I spent a lot of time in coffee shops for the first... I don't know how many years I lived here, like a lot of time. I met most of the people that I am still connected to today. I met them in places like that. As you know, there was this huge dot com boom.
[1:25] The local economy that sort of fostered those interactions completely dissolved.
[1:32] Large chains came in and replaced the local mom and pops. I was considering leaving, but I didn't really want to leave. I wanted to make it better.
[1:45] People pay a lot of attention to the bike features of the cafe. I think that is a symptom of bikes not being well integrated into the world that we live today. One of the things that I really like about cycling is that it slows us down a little bit and it makes us see the landscape in a different way.
[2:06] One of my favorite things to do is ride my bike through the city at night, in the dark. Everything is lit up inside, and it is dark outside. It is when you can see into everybody's little worlds.
[2:32] Since I opened the cafe, most of my cycling these days is riding around on the extra cycle, running errands and picking things up. We need to find ways to integrate bicycles into the world in sort of a normal way. Have bike lanes, have safe streets to ride on, have accessible ways to park, and use them.
[3:06] The cafe is really important to me, as just a sort of gathering place for this neighborhood, and bicycles aside. I want people to come there and feel comfortable, and be able to get a nice bite to eat, and a good cup of coffee and just relax...
[3:22] The blood oranges are really sweet right now, because it is their late season, so it has got a little kick to it. Do you like that? Do you guys want to try some orange juice?
Woman 1: [3:30] Oh sure! This is orange juice?
Sal: [3:31] I have really great customers, and they are from this neighborhood, and that is exactly what I wanted.