Sunday, July 15 , 2018, 3:02 pm | Fair 75º


Letter to the Editor: Old Town Goleta Doesn’t Need Bike Lanes

I was at the Goleta City Council meeting with regards to the possible changes in Old Town that can be made to improve traffic safety, bike safety and overall beautification of the area.

The coverage of this story seems to be highlighted by the Bicycle Coalition, and the strong influence they portray as the only way for improvement. They want changes made exclusively  on their own terms, with no other regard to differences of opinion or suggestions.

I have lived here for 51 years and went to school at Goleta Elementary School, now the Community Center. Many of these Bicycle Coalition folks don’t want to listen to any other changes, except their demands for bike lanes on both sides of the street through Old Town.

Many of us who have lived here for 50 years see the corridor as a functional use area for parking and usage of the storefronts for their specific services they have to offer, then get back on the road through Old Town — it’s always been this way. The additional parking for the eateries is covered by their own personal off-street spaces. Alphie’s, Hamburger Habit, Santa Cruz Market, Community West Bank, the Bicycle Shop, Prestigious Auto Body Shop, the two Alpha Thrift Stores, Carpeteria, O'Reilly’s Auto Parts, 7-Eleven and Taco Bell are the ones that come to mind right now. The smaller businesses along the street need the parallel parking spaces for their own use, for coming and going. These parking spaces cannot be sacrificed for bike path usage!

Some mention was for two lanes only for the traffic flow. This is ludicrous, because if we should have a serious closure of Highway 101, we need this four-lane corridor for detours and emergency use. I spoke with John Palminteri a few years ago, and he was concerned about the fact that if we have a major catastrophe in Santa Barbara/Goleta, the only ways to evacuate would be Highway 101 southbound and northbound, San Marcos Pass and Hollister Avenue for alternative routes for evacuation.

Why doesn’t the Bicycle Coalition see this point to be made? All they see are the idealistic visions of bike paths everywhere, and the narrowing of all major streets to accommodate their needs.

My tax dollars I pay, I assume, are to keep our roads safe and practical for the sensible flow of traffic. That has been the case for Hollister Avenue as long as I have lived here. I used to live on the upper side of Fairview Avenue in the low lying foothills. I’d ride my bike down Fairview Avenue, look both ways for highway traffic and cross the road on my bike by the Goleta Lumber Yard.

I know they were the “good old days,” but the Bicycle Coalition comes in with no consideration for the common sense that the older locals may have. They want to remove us from our cars, ride bikes and use buses. We have a right to drive our cars, with minimal emissions in our auto technology these days, and it’s not illegal to do so. They will not sway me to give up my automobile transportation, and they need to understand that not all of us are going to commute by their mass transport idealistic views.

If they want sidewalk cafés and shopping areas to wander by and enjoy, go over to the Calle Real Shopping Center for these needs to be met. Leave Hollister as a functioning corridor as it is, put in some trees where they can be accommodated for, and accept the Old Town for what it is — and no more.

The news article mainly emphasizes the changes that this coalition would like to implement, but where is the voice that I tried to convey, along with the many locals and small-business owners who don’t want all these changes? Why are they not being reported on for a fairer and more balanced coverage of this issue?

Linda Foster

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