San Diego Sued for Putting in a Bike Lane

by : la.streetsblog – excerpt

A lawsuit filed last week in San Diego [PDF] claims that the city did an inadequate CEQA analysis for a recent road diet and new bike lane on a stretch of Fifth Avenue.

The city’s Bicycle Master Plan calls for a bike lane on that section of the street, and lists it as a priority project. A recently completed water main repair there, followed by repaving, gave the impetus to restripe it and, in the process, the city removed one lane of traffic and added a wide, buffered bike lane…

It’s depressingly reminiscent of the 2006 lawsuit against San Francisco’s bike plan, which caused the city to delay putting in any bike facilities, including bike racks, for four years while it completed an expensive Environmental Impact Report that came to the same conclusions the city had reached without the report: that bike facilities do not create a significant environmental impact.

This lawsuit makes claims similar to those in the San Francisco suit, saying that traffic congestion will worsen, and that vehicles will be diverted to other local streets.

Unfortunately, the state’s Office of Planning and Research has not yet completed its guidance on S.B. 743, under which vehicle congestion will be removed from the list of environmental impacts that need analysis.

The city is trying to do what the state mandated in its Complete Streets Act [PDF] that requires cities to “plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads, and highways, defined to include motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation, in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context of the general plan.”… (more)

San Diego residents should come to SF to see the worst possible outcome of street diets and badly designed bike lanes. Driver down third street at night in the pouring rain and try to figure out what is happening to the street lanes as they weave in and out of the bike and light rail lanes, without warning. (What happened to merging traffic signs?) Then do yourself a favor and LEAVE THE STREETS ALONE if you want the safest solution.

Political push needed for reopening bridge lane

By Dick Spotswood : marinij – excerpt

A gullible public is frequently told regarding proposed legislation and general plan changes something to the effect of, “Don’t worry. It’s just a plan. The proposal isn’t an authorization to do anything specific.”

While literally true, the whole truth is that such moves are often time bombs. When they finally explode, we hear, “That was done years ago. It can’t be changed. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

Here’s another example demonstrating that intense scrutiny is needed when we hear that a new law or a change in a planning document is just a flexible guideline…

MTC effectively is saying that for motorists to get the third traffic lane reopened, that project must be simultaneously coupled with construction of a hugely expensive trans-bay bikeway. Not only is it expensive, the bike segment will take years to design, obtain environmental permits and then build…

The argument is based on Section 888.2 of the California Streets and Highways Code.

Enacted in 1993, it mandates that the Department of Motor Vehicles shall “incorporate nonmotorized transportation facilities in the design of freeways on the state highway system along corridors where nonmotorized facilities do not exist, upon a finding that the facilities would conform to the California Recreational Trails System Plan … or upon a finding, following a public hearing, that the facilities would conform to the master plans of local agencies for the development of nonmotorized facilities and would not duplicate existing or proposed routes, and that community interests would be enhanced by the construction of the facilities.”…

It’s a bad law that needs to be amended. Under its language, all that needs to be shown is that vague “community interests would be enhanced.”

Even strictly interpreting the statute, there’s nothing in it prohibiting Caltrans or MTC from “decoupling” the lane reopening from the bikeway.

The proper strategy is to first reopen the third auto lane and then, if the law can’t be changed, build the bikeway.

Marin’s representative on MTC’s board, Supervisor Steve Kinsey, has joined the call for decoupling the two projects. So far that has not led to any action.

Kinsey could do much for his 2016 re-election chances if he can convince his colleagues, and more importantly MTC’s powerful executive director Steve Heminger, to promptly decouple the auto lane effort from the bike project and get traffic moving again… (more)

This is a perfect example of how the lobbies control Sacramento, and why the voters need to take it back.

RELATED:
Taxpayers paying for bike riders’ ‘entertainment’?   Since you are printing many letters from the bicycle advocates, and not many of us take the time to comment, I have appreciated all of Dick Spotswood’s informative columns. He is very astute and tells it like it is… The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has been taken over by the bicycle lobby and has managed to tie all new improvements to our highways, railways and bridges to demands for multi-million-dollar bicycle paths that are used by few, if any commuters… Bike coalition needs to get riders to obey the law…

 

Golden Gate Transit to 5 year olds: pay up

By Mark Prado : marinij – excerpt

Bay Area system forcing the change

Five-year-olds who previously have boarded Golden Gate Transit buses for free may have to cough up a youth fare beginning next year.

It’s not that Golden Gate Transit is targeting the children for added revenue, rather it’s a result of a larger Bay Area transportation bureaucracy that determines who pays fares and at what age, officials say.

Traditionally Golden Gate Transit has those 6 through 18 pay a half-price youth fare on buses. Those who are 5 and under ride for free when with an adult. Fares are based on length of travel.

But with the introduction of the Clipper transit card in the Bay Area in recent years, there has been a push by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission — the Bay Area transportation planning agency — to standardize who is considered a youth… (more)

Someone needs to check their facts on this one. All youth do not pay to ride the Muni in SF. Vote on the poll at the source.