Bicycle nuts driving local traffic issues

Sept. 14, 2012

Katy Grimes: Most of us recognize that California government is out-of-control. The state Legislature has just passed another 700 new bills, many of which add new regulations, restrictions on individual liberties, and “fees” on taxpayers and business.

 

Closer to home, local governments regularly ignore the will of the citizens, and push through projects on behalf of special interest groups.

In Sacramento, one example of this has been an ongoing battle in my own downtown neighborhood.

The City of Sacramento, run by mostly arrogant liberals, has been trying to ram through approval of more bicycle lanes on very busy streets and major arteries of auto travel.

In Sacramento, Freeport Blvd. is a north-south artery going all the way from tthe most soutthern point of Sacramento County into downtown. It is also the old Highway 160, which was one of the only main arteries throughout the county.

21,000 autos traveling on it dail, according to the city.

Freeport Blvd. is a heavily traveled street and frequently backs up in the downtown areas. The city, in its infinite wisdom, has tried several times to close one of the auto traffic lanes in order to add bicycle lanes to either side.

Commuters, neighbors and businesses on Freeport Blvd. have fought this nutty idea. Except  for a small group of bicycle zealots, this project has a tremendous amount of opposition. But it keeps springing back to life.

The irony is that the old neighborhood that Freeport Blvd. runs through has other perfectly safe streets for cyclists and bicycle commuters. But the zealots and city politburo want to turn Freeport Blvd. into something that it is not. There is no real need for this, other than too keep a bunch of unnecessary city planners busy with a new project.

Bicycling on this street is not safe, and never will be. There are too many businesses and too many cars. When I am on my bike, because I have a stong sense of survival, I avoid riding on Freeport Blvd.

Reality

Neighbors have participated in the city-sponsored surveys, and voted down the bike lane expansion on two different occasions. So the City of Sacramento has tried a new tactic — they now claim that as part of the resurfacing project for Freeport Blvd., they are proposing adding bicycle lanes.

The utopian bicyclists, who unabashadly state that there should not be autos on the roads, keep finding ways to keep this project alive. The only thing keeping the city from doing this hhas been the budget. Sacramento has a wicked budget deficit, and cannot justify this spending.

But the reality is that most bicyclists are not commuters–bicyclists are mostly pleasure or recreation riders. Sacramento is not Europe, but the utopian nuts keep comparing California cities to European cities, where tiny cars and bicycles are a necessity.

The City of Sacramento acknowledges that traffic patterns will change should the bike lanes become a reality, but they don’t care. Ressidents in the area are concerned that with one less auto lane, many of the 21,000 daily cars will be forced onto the residential streets. And in this old, established neighborhood with houses from the 1920’s and 1930’s, the streets are not boulevards and cannot handle thousands of additional cars.

But the zealots do not care. The bored city planners do not care. The city “leaders” do not care — they have an agenda, and are determined to win at any cost.



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