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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 12:51 pm | Fair 61º


Letter to the Editor: Time to Recognize Citizens’ Right to Quality of Life, Modern Transportation

Over the past 18 years, Cars Are Basic has taken political criticism at the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) and local city councils on the South Coast for defending the average driver and freedom of travel.

Of late, we have been quoting the mounting scientific evidence by NOAA and other sources regarding the vast improvements in air quality in the state and nation.

In a Tribune News Service report about the Volkswagen diesel scandal, the question was asked “How important are those emissions ...?”

At the end of the article, the author (Michael Muskal) states, according to the California Air Resources Board, the increase in air quality since 1990 has been phenomenal. Quote: “... a decrease of up to 60 percent in pollutants and particulate matter since 1990. This comes despite a population increase of 22 percent in the last 20 years and an annual increase in vehicle miles of 45 percent.”

A quote from the Voice of San Diego on Sept. 23 using a SANDAG (its association of governments) 40-year projection stated the high-density, anti-car bias outcomes will not achieve its goals! Yet this ongoing program similar to what is seen in southern Santa Barbara County will cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Businesses and people are exiting the state and county because of the costs and lousy transportation planning.

CAB has repeated the NOAA air quality review of the L.A. Basin showing a 90 percent removal of air pollution using a baseline of 1960. This is not to the liking of anti-car and anti-oil interests.

This amounts to an amazing reduction in carbon use, massive improvements in air quality, and a quality of life improvement while giving the individual choices “private vehicle” use allow.

So the question CAB asked from the beginning (1998), and continues to ask, why is the radical activist war against private car use continuing???

Behind closed doors, City Hall acknowledges the massive rebellion against the Santa Barbara Bicycle Master Plan Update on the Westside - Eastside. Bicycle Coalition members faced with this backlash are doubling down on failure.

Intentionally aggressive biking, riding on primary commute streets when a block away is a bike path (designed by the coalition decades ago) will not change reality. Increasing frequency of intentionally riding in the middle of the street to congest traffic is obviously coordinated.

This is clearly “activist” politics that appeals to the impressionable student types who passionately want to believe they are making a difference (regardless of the long-term statistics).

Objective evidence piles higher and higher against the “anti-car” groups, yet is ignored by politicians on the South Coast, and at the state level Brown & Atkins. Business and residential designs without adequate parking or street capacity is backed as a way of “forcing” individuals to bend to the will of the minority. Creation of health and wealth for the community hinges heavily on rational energy pricing and freedom of movement.

Refusal to fix streets and roads while spending millions of dollars on un-needed bike paths ($1 million Santa Claus), $3 million-plus (Las Positas to Hendry’s). How about bulbouts (hundreds of thousands of dollars) the citizens of Santa Barbara stated they want “eliminated”? Narrowing of intersections or pushing curbs against bike paths is not smart, and dangerous. For what?

The question CAB asks on behalf of the vast silent majority is when will the radical politics of irrational planning stop?

When will the “anti’s” stop using the middle class as the “excuse” for planning that cannot be supported with fact?

When will the power and importance of quality of life, modern transportation has given each and every citizen be recognized?

On behalf of the CAB board and members,

Scott Wenz
President, Cars Are Basic
Santa Barbara

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