By Mark Greenside My Word : contracostatimes – excerpt
I love bike lanes. I want them. When I ride my bike, I want to be safe and separated from cars and pedestrians. The problem isn’t with bike lanes; it’s with the people who design them.
Not that long ago, a bike lane was a bike lane: a designated place where people could ride their bikes and not get hit by cars. Now, bike lanes are the first line of offense in the war against drivers and cars. Bike lanes aren’t for bikers, they are against cars, with the oft-stated purpose of reducing and/or eliminating vehicular traffic. It’s nuts, and it is not sustainable.
More bike lanes are at the heart of TDM (Traffic Demand Management) systems and “smart” growth philosophy brought to us by city planners like Andrew Thomas, who is not a traffic or civil engineer, though he has plenty of opinions about both. These people speak as if they’re talking science, but it’s hope, belief and faith they’re pandering — and like true believers everywhere, they’re willing to push their beliefs onto the doubtful…
It is an effort that is doomed to fail, though not before ruining the community. Here are the reasons why: …
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission recently issued a report, “Vital Signs” (www.vitalsigns.mtc.ca.gov), that was summarized in the San Jose Mercury News as follows: “Some of the conclusions of the MTC report are depressing for traffic planners. Despite the addition of hundreds of miles of carpool lanes stretching from Marin to Oakland and San Jose, the percentage of those sharing a ride to work has declined about 3 percent since (1989) …. While BART and Caltrain ridership is soaring, overall transit ridership remains low and bus lines have lost passengers.”… (more)
Mark Greenside is an Alameda resident and a retired professor of political science, history and English at Merritt College in Oakland.