Iron-Fisted City Planners

Martha Sadler’s article “Changing the City Map” [7/24/08,] should have been titled “Bulldozing Opposition.” It was interesting to read that Cars Are Basic (CAB) has been missing in action.

CAB attended General Plan meetings and witnessed the same maneuvers by elected officials, staff, and hand-picked “residents” controlling the outcomes of the “public input” process. They are destroying street capacity and parking and calling it “modern” planning, but it is a throwback to the 1700s when people were jammed into stressful living and working conditions. CAB has submitted three major policy statements using modern street planning concepts the General Plan staff conveniently ignores.

Iron-fisted control has been and continues to be the norm in this process. Changing history to justify ideology is not new. Traffic personnel routinely quote “facts” that never happened:

1) Bike program success? City data show fewer bicyclists now then in 1973.

2) “Rear-end accidents” as justification for removing half the lane on De la Vina Street? Statistics cited in multiple presentations before the City Council confirm this problem never existed.

3) Claims of safety for the Milpas Street Hazardaround with exploding accident rates (200 percent increase compared to before the roundabout).

4) “Success” of the electric shuttles designed for employees and shoppers? Its passengers are 70 percent tourist.

5) Claims of school district support for the failed Santa Barbara High School Hazardaround and other street hazards known as “traffic calming devices”? Official emails prove the opposite.

The council routinely ignores official facts. Why should voters support the city’s General Plan changes, and vote for Measure A and other taxes, with this type of history? -Scott Wenz, CAB president

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