Clearly, the Bicycle Master Plan approved at the July 16 City Council meeting was a wall-papering job to cover up the massive hole of a failure of the city’s bicycle promotion. Faced with dismal official numbers, this is an effort by the “alternative transportation staff” to drum up support for a bike program that’s never worked.
Consider the following: The city stopped doing its annual bike count because of declining numbers (2,400 in 1974 — 1,600 in 2013); the city has gone from approximately 13 miles of bike paths to 40-plus miles of interconnected bike paths. During the recession, when logic would have dictated increased biking numbers, they dropped further. The Traffic Circulation Committee recently reported it had removed a Class II bike path to La Cumbre Junior High for lack of use and neighbor complaints over its effect on traffic and parking. Traffic Commissioner Ed France (a Bicycle Coalition member) stated at that time that the effort to get students city-wide to ride to school had failed. Note this is a member of the Bicycle Coalition.
“Just one more piece of the plan will make it work” is the often quoted refrain of the Utopian feel gooders. Millions of tax dollars, four decades of effort, intentionally disrupted traffic patterns and grids have resulted in what? Fewer bikes on the commute road. It is so bad the Bicycle Coalition chastised the mayor and council in June 2013 for their failure, stating they had to do more. Being good followers, the council then allowed the anti-car staff, steered by the Bicycle Coalition, to come up with the current plan.
Knowing the public will reject this draconian map, they then voted to accelerate the planning and public information aspects to “hopefully” under a year’s time. Staffer Rob Dayton made the very dramatic comment, now comes “the heavy lifting,” since we have done the easy bike efforts.
Easy? Four decades of failure, failed businesses, and angry residents is easy? This is the same staffer who made the following false statements: “We have studies proving Bulbouts make pedestrians safer.” “The bike numbers are up and it is a success” (2003). “There is a left turn accident problem on De la Vina justifying reconfiguration” — a statement proven false by police accident statistics and more.
Knowing they have failed and that hard facts cannot support their claims, they now resort to “opinion” polls. Polls, statisticians confirm, are very influenced by singular groups. They will also tell you that unless verified with observed conditions, these are next to useless. The lone vote against this plan was Councilmember Francisco. His statement about the “outreach” costs were true and concise. He offered to write the outcomes and save the city money. As has happened with almost every previous traffic program staff members have laid out, they have given preferential notice to those they want to see win the day. Councilmember Francisco’s vision into the future of this process is 20/20 based upon decades of observation. It is amusing and dismaying at the same time to hear the city say it will hire an outside company to canvas the city for what they want.
We have a suggestion: Hire Cars Are Basic, Inc. to choose the outside consultant, let CAB state the standard by which they will do their job, and then have us do the outcomes report to the City Council. This is exactly what the Transportation Division did when it developed and gave the Bicycle Master Plan Update on June 16, but then it was the Bicycle Coalition in the driver’s seat.