After an event such as the Climate Strike, we inevitably see critical letters asking “How many people drove cars to this event?” or “How many rode their bikes?”
Good questions. Let’s look at this in a larger context.
Oil corporations have spent vast amounts of money to convince us that we cannot live without their products. As a result, there are hundreds of gas stations, but few electric charging stations in our town and our state — despite the fact that alternatives are becoming more efficient, while their cost becomes more affordable than oil.
Second, our local bike infrastructure pales compared to cities such as Minneapolis, Portland, San Francisco and Boston, considered the most bike-friendly cities in the US, despite their weather.
With more than 40 miles of bikeways, Santa Barbara is highly ranked as a bicycle-friendly town; however, we are also ranked third highest in bicycle collisions, due to the lack of sufficient, safe commuter bike lanes, and the lack of automobile driver awareness.
We have made great strides. Our bus system plans to go emissions-free by 2030 —10 years earlier than anticipated. Our Board of Supervisors has likewise voted that our county fleet must go fully electric by 2030, both of which will require greater EV infrastructure.
These are achievable goals and important steps, but more is needed and inevitable. Please join me in calling upon our City Council and Supervisors to build a 21st century infrastructure that includes more electric vehicle charging stations and a greater network of bicycle lanes. Or, we can stay stuck in the past, with the dinosaurs.
And by they way – they are extinct.