9/22/19: Why a Bike Path Matters

September 22, 2019

Let me start this newsletter with a big thank you to everyone who has written an email in support of the barrier-protected bikeway along Highway 101 through Cardiff. The City Council will consider the proposal this Wednesday. Please keep your supportive emails coming to our Encinitas elected officials at [email protected]

And importantly, please come out Wednesday to speak to the City Council at City Hall, located at 505 S Vulcan Avenue. The meeting starts at 6 p.m., but I would predict that this item won’t be heard until after 7 p.m.

We’ve received dozens and dozens of emails, with a wide range of opinions expressed. While I read every email, the volume unfortunately makes it difficult for me to respond to each one. 

A few people have written to me suggesting that I should have bigger things to worry about than a bike path. I have a different perspective – there’s nothing more important than the creation and re-creation of a liveable, lovable, vital community.

Historic Coast Highway 101 along the ocean aims to be more than a commuter corridor that prioritizes the needs of those passing through our city in cars or bikes. We want to create desirable spaces for all to enjoy, including seniors, youth and families, while bicycling to and along our stunning coastline.

Here’s a proposed diagram of a protected bike path section, looking south from Chesterfield to the Kraken and Pacific Coast Grill in Cardiff.

And, as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of students who protested and walked out of school on Friday to focus attention on the urgency of climate change, the need for action is now. If we care about climate change, this must result in actual decisions that will reduce the dependence on cars, whose emissions are warming our planet. This bike project is an example of that action.

Transportation policy is climate policy. 

This is a part of Coast Highway depicted in the proposed bike path illustration shown above.

The city’s proposed upgrade from an unprotected Class II bike path to a physically protected Class IV bikeway is a good project. It’s do-able now – affordable within our city’s budget, it will create another vital community space and it will help us mode shift out of cars and into bicycles and walking to tackle climate change. It all adds up to more transportation options for more people. 

For years, the City of Encinitas has hosted workshops and planning sessions that have asked residents and community members for input on mobility choices. One of the more recent efforts was the Coastal Mobility and Livability working group, which resulted is our Active Transportation Plan. The improvement of circulation on Highway 101 from our southern border with Solana Beach to our northern border with Carlsbad has been identified as a priority at all levels. 

There has been robust community engagement, and this plan went before the Traffic and Public Safety Commission twice for input from our appointed commissioners. The feedback wasn’t always unanimous, but that’s how democracy works.

We have the power to improve our community here. Let’s use it! “Analysis paralysis” can be a very real threat to forward progress. We want deliberate, methodic decision-making to achieve our established goals, and that logical, fair process has been followed, leading us to this critical opportunity. 

Here’s the detailed city’s staff report from our able and experienced traffic engineers, with some visuals and a description.     

And check out this short video, “The Rise of Protected Bike Lanes in the U.S.,” about why physically protected bike lanes matter.

I hope you’re having a great week, and I’m looking forward to seeing you Wednesday evening at City Hall!

In service,

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