The tiny farming town of Greenfield has put a new twist on the old political pledge of a "chicken in every pot"--two bicycles in every new house.
Officials in the state's "Broccoli Capital" have required two proposed developments to put two bikes in every new home to encourage residents to pedal around instead of driving cars.
"I don't know whether they'll use the bikes or hock them and take the money and run," Greenfield Mayor Roy Morris said Wednesday. "But at least we're doing something about this brown air in the Salinas Valley."
City Manager Arturo de la Cerda, who came up with the bicycle idea, said the one-stoplight city of 8,000 people doesn't generate much pollution. But dirty air spills into the valley from busy U.S. 101, the Silicon Valley and the tourist destinations of Monterey and Carmel.
"We wanted to do something to control pollution and give homeowners some direct benefit," De la Cerda said. "I don't know if they'll use the bikes, but even if they give them away or sell them, somebody will use them."
The Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District supports Greenfield's unique efforts to control regional air pollution.
Developers in California and other states often are required to mitigate increased traffic and accommodate bicycles by widening roads or providing bike stands and lanes for cyclists, he said.
But so far, Greenfield appears to be the only city in the nation with a two-bike-per-home requirement.
"I've heard of cities requiring developers to build bike lanes, but this is new to me. It's terrific," said Andy Clarke, a Bicycle Federation of America spokesman in Washington.
Wes Ball, the developer of a 105-home project in Greenfield, is skeptical. He said it's "no big deal" to put $200 worth of unassembled, adult bikes in each $90,000-$100,000 home, but it might be a waste of time.