Saturday, September 08, 2018

Mike Luckovich Comic Strip for September 07, 2018
Mike Luckovich

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Bike lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge?

Seamus O'Ramas

Dick Spotswood in the Sept. 4 Marin Independent Journal:

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is proceeding to install a bi-directional bikeway on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge’s upper westbound deck. Millions of dollars have already been spent accommodating bicycles on the bridge’s approaches pursuant to MTC’s Utopian scheme to foster bike commuting across the 5.5-mile San Pablo Bay span.

Now work is underway paving over the bridge’s expansion joints to give cyclists a smooth ride, raising the upper deck’s north barrier to protect errant bikes from falling over the side and assembling the movable barrier separating bikes from cars and trucks...

Even if a 24-7 bikeway is up and running, there is no reason it should take four years to evaluate its usefulness.

Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia represents the district anchoring the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge’s eastern side. As a commissioner on the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, Gioia signed off on the plan that restored the bridge’s lower deck eastbound third lane to auto traffic combined with a four-year pilot project to build and evaluate a bikeway on the bridge‘s upper deck.

Geographically, the Contra Costa supervisor is in a pivotal spot. He’s heard from both bikeway proponents and auto commuters. Auto commuters from Contra Costa and Alameda counties plying the morning westbound commute are the most affected by the decision to aid bikes and snub motorists.

Now that MTC and Caltrans will, despite broad opposition, install the multi-million-dollar upper deck bikeway, Gioia has a practical suggestion.

While still supporting the pilot project to learn if the bikeway has any practical utility, Gioia suggests four years is too long. He suspects MTC can gather the desired information “within a year or so.” The pilot program should be shortened. It’s the best available option given MTC’s determination to finish the bikeway before East Bay commuters understand what’s happening to them.

Independent Journal readers should know that if MTC refuses to take regular counts of cyclists crossing the windy span during peak periods, once the bikeway opens this column will sponsor its own independent count. We’ll see if claims of a repressed demand by commuting cyclists is true or merely aspirational. (emphasis added)

Rob's comment:
Online comments to the story.

Of course four years is a ridiculously long "pilot project." 

The anti-car bike lobby and its enablers in government operate under the if-we-build-it-they-will-come assumption, which has been shown to be embarrassingly false about the new bike lanes on Masonic Avenue. Few cyclists are using them, an outcome I've been warning City Hall about for years.

Some kind of pilot project on Masonic Avenue could have saved $26 million and a lot of embarrassment for pushing this stupid project for more than ten years. It was poorly conceived and oversold by the Bicycle Coalition and its enablers in City Hall with bogus claims about safety.

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