OPINION by T. KEITH GURNEE
The Broad Street Bike Boulevard. How can such a bad idea get so far in city governance? The answer will come on August 15, 2017 when the SLO City Council considers three zany concepts for “improving” the Broad and Chorro street corridors as “bike boulevards.”
The impetus? The bike lobby, one of the most powerful special interest groups in the city. Having lived on Broad Street since 1973, I used to be an avid bike rider who never had any problems getting around. But now the bike lobby wants our residential streets all to themselves, regardless of those of us who live on them.
All three alternatives being considered are just flat bizarre. Any one of them will require tortured traffic movements, eliminating residential parking, increasing traffic on local streets, and diminishing the livability of our quality neighborhood.
Removing any long-standing stop signs that have controlled traffic speeds along the Broad and Chorro corridors for decades is a nonstarter. But to then clutter up Broad Street with plastic pylons, traffic diverters, bright yellow “speed cushions”, plastic traffic circles, swerving “chicanes,” and reflective paint, all bristling with public signage, would relegate Broad Street to an obstacle course rife with visual graffiti.
But it was the decision of the city bicycle committee to back converting both streets into a one-way couplet, despite the public outcry that such an option was unacceptable. Under this option, traffic volumes on Lincoln Street would explode to 9,000 vehicles per day!
In talking with some local cyclists, even they feel this is going too far. The last thing they need to do is to alienate those of us who live, park, and access our homes on our residential streets.
Recent articles in the Los Angeles Times reveal that the city of Los Angeles has had to roll back many similar improvements on its streets at great expense due to the public backlash against them, not only from residents and commuters but cyclists as well. In one letter to the editor at the LA Times, a cyclist called one set of “improvements,” on a local street similar to those proposed for Chorro Street, “dangerous”.
Rather than a problem looking for a solution, this is a solution looking for a problem.
Those of us who live along the Broad and Chorro corridors want to keep our streets the way they are. As long-standing residents on Broad Street, my wife and I do not fear change. What we do fear is change for the sake of change.
So to those of our neighbors who live along the Broad and Chorro street corridors, please attend the SLO City Council meeting on Aug. 15 to let your voice be heard.
As for our voice, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”