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…

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s