Thursday, April 26 , 2018, 1:34 am | Fair 51º

 
 
 
 

Letter to the Editor: Shortcomings of Santa Barbara Bicycle Master Plan

Response to the City of Santa Barbara Master Plan proposal of July 15:

» 1. The issue of the success of the bike master plan.

a. The City of Santa Barbara’s official numbers prove that bicycles as a meaningful alternative to automobile transportation has failed (1974 - 2400, 2003 - 1600+).

b. The reasoning for continuing the bike program is that a fully integrated bike path would increase the numbers of bicyclists on the streets. The city, since Mayor Marty Blum, has advertised it now has an interconnected bike path, with at or over 40 miles of bicycle paths.

c. City transportation has repeatedly pointed to San Francisco as a well-working integrated bike program. San Francisco has 500 miles of bike paths, and at last review, has 0.9 percent of its commuters as bike riders.

d. The City of Santa Barbara transportation staff has claimed expanded bike use in the County of Santa Barbara as reasoning for continuing this planning. Former Supervisor Joe Centeno (former police chief and mayor of Santa Maria) demanded a report from the county, and later received a report from the county, stating either the success or failure of the program which would clearly reflect the success or failure of the program. The received report stated that not only had the bike path program failed to improve ridership, but in fact there were fewer bikers on the county streets (~five years ago).

» 2. The City of Santa Barbara has seen increased hazards to drivers and increased congestion of vehicle traffic as a result of lost street capacity because of Class II bike paths.

» 3. Today, street conditions are more dangerous for bikes, in part as a result of the city's bulbout and roundabout programs. The bulbout plan is dangerous to bicycle use, was based on overt lies by transportation staff and admitted by the head of Public Works.

» 4. Claims of increasing numbers based upon a Census Public Survey is both scientifically unsound and a public relations ploy that attempts to justify failed programs. Epidemiologist statisticians will tell you this type of polling is both unscientific and very prone to outside influence.

» 5. Stating that the City of Santa Barbara should go forward with expanded bike paths to obtain a private organization commendation in the face of absolute fact to the contrary is bad planning and bad governance.

» 6. The disingenuous use of bicycles as part of your "mitigation" for intentional street congestion is shameless deception upon the trusting public (the city claims this mitigates air pollution, wait times, driver frustration and parking congestion). In the face of the failure of a 40-year program, the logical step would be to open the streets to efficient transportation, which will make them safer for pedestrian, bicycle and automotive traffic.

Your attention to this is appreciated.

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