Each year I enjoy reading about our local heroes in The Independent. However, this year I found it interesting that initiating lawsuits to protect private use of public resources is worthy of that accolade.
City staff, local bicycles advocates, environmentalists, families and school children advocated for a bike path that logically connects Santa Barbara’s East and West Sides along Micheltorena Street. A Micheltorena bike path would have seamlessly connected the two sides of our city unlike the awkward and more expensive bike boulevard option on Sola Street.
For years our city has had one of the highest bicycle collision statistics per capita in the state. I’m happy the Bicycle Master Plan is finally done, and that funding for the projects, including the Sola option, is secured, but I’m not thrilled that those who advocate for public space to store their cars are heralded over those who want safe and convenient bicycle paths in our city. Yes, it was an achievement to out-maneuver the bike advocates, environmentalists, and high school students who advocated for the Micheltorena bike path that’s been in city plans for decades by threatening the city with lawsuits if they didn’t maintain abundant free on-street parking for their commercial properties. But heroic?