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Dario Castillejos, Diario La Crisis

Falling to Pieces

Bicycle Master Plan Effort Misguided


Monday, July 28, 2014
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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.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Despite some thoughtful points, you're way off, Scott. SB needs MORE dedicated biking lanes, needs to shut down State St from Micheltorena St. to the Fwy and allow peds and bikes only... the green cities of Europe with terrific biking and up to 17% of all traffic by bike (in Berlin, as e.g.) offer the appropriate (biking) path. We need to make it MORE difficult for cars and MUCH easier for bikes. Your thinking, unfortunately, is based on future easy availability of fossil fuels, and is Stone Age in background. Hey, get out of your fancy car and walk or bike like many of us do.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 8:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Close down streets for bikes (skateboards too), like State St. Too dangerous to compete with cars for space while breathing gasoline exhaust.

spacey (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 2:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

State St closure as noted would work; there would be a center lane for emergency/police/beach shuttle but that's all. Many European small cities have done similar, and they get MORE tourism from it. Geeze, cars are so passe, Scott, give it up.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 3:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks a lot guys, YO, how bout a situation like Venice, Italy, where U got gondolas wending their way down the canals? Yea, we like the waterways too, soon to flood out State St. above the Blue Line.

Peace out.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 5:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

return the blue line!!

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 5:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So, I guess if the numbers of cars started to decline, we should get rid of a lot of roads? I can think of roads that have a low volume of traffic, but they are still there and used.

Regardless of the number of cyclists, if paths can be and are used, they should be there. Cycling is healthy, the option should be there. Tennis is healthy, the option should be there. Swimming is healthy, the option should be there. Etc, etc. A lot of money is being spent on a skating rink - how many will use it? The option should be there.

A healthy town will allow a variety of possible healthy pursuits to be available, no matter the popularity. There will always be people who will use them.

Cars do not contribute to health (unless they are used to get one to a place where one can get out of the car for a decent amount of time.)

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 6:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Santa Barbara government simultaneously supports two incompatible policies; lip service towards creating a cycling-friendly community, and zoning that's marketed as "building community" and the formation of local "villages" and is in reality gentrification, displacement of long-term businesses oriented towards the needs of residents and supporting cultural identies by upscale non-essential businesses oriented towards serving a clientel that is a small percentage of the population; well-above-median income residents and tourists. European cities and many US cites incorporate mixed zoning that enables cycling by reducing the distance between home and workplace, home and connections to vastly superior public transportation, medical and dental care, grocery, clothing, laundry, hardware stores, etc. The average distance traveled by cycling commuters in European cities is shorter than in the US, and frequently is a connecting trip completed by traveling much longer distances on public transportation. Santa Barbara has adopted a planning policy designed to fail; an example of oxymoronic planning priorities. I have frequent reminders of the impact of this policy on a micro-scale every time I park in front of the Beach Break cafe and watch tourists backing their cars towards cyclists traveling through the parking lot; the designated bike path designed by city planners for east-west travel parallel to Cabrillo

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 10:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey I used my bike for about 1 1/2 years.

It became too difficult to manage my time, dirty clothes and spontaneous purchases.

Cars are convenient, that's why we have them.

Answer me this: "When did modern become inconvenient?" Maybe Gore knows.

Keep on Truckin

LOOKINGFORAGOODREAD (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 4:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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