OPINION by T. KEITH GURNEE
Bikeology: the new religion that the San Luis Obispo City Council has embraced and is determined to impose upon our neighborhoods. Mayor Heidi Harmon and councilmembers Rivoire, Christianson, Gomez, and Pease seem to be pushing for a new 11th Commandment: “Thou Shalt Bike,”, regardless of whether you want to, are able to, or not. But their 12th Commandment can’t be far behind: “Thou Shalt Live the Way This Council Wants You to Live!”
Is what was once the happiest city on earth devolving into the next Orwellian brave new world? It appears so.
Richard Schmidt’s Nov. 23, New Times piece on SLO as our “Socially Engineered City” was spot on. The Council’s plans to run a “Bike Boulevard” down the throat of an historic neighborhood which was never designed for it has become our council’s holy grail.
Imposing such force-fed dogmatic ideology upon a traditional neighborhood–its residents be damned—is an outrage. The Anholm Tract, which includes Broad and Chorro streets, was built in the 1920s and 1930s according to the street standards of the time: two travel lanes with on-street parking lanes and 6 inch wide sidewalks on both sides of the street.
Morphing this neighborhood into a bicycle highway by eliminating heavily used on-street parking and replacing it with day-glo green bikeways bristling with white plastic polyps is a slander against where we live. Broad and Chorro work just fine as streets shared by cars and bikes alike like they are today. For the last five years, there have been zero car-on-bike accidents. So why do this? What’s the point?
Since this project will have significant impacts on the functionality and liveability of a neighborhood built 90 to 100 years ago, shouldn’t it at least be subject to environmental review under CEQA? Shouldn’t it also be reviewed by the City Planning Commission and the Architecture Review Commission prior to proceeding? And shouldn’t this city, once proud of its citizen involvement in civic decision-making, be listening to the residents of our neighborhoods rather than repudiating them? Yet our council persists in ignoring such questions. Why? Because it conflicts with their mantra of Bikeology.
Come Monday, Dec. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m, the city will be holding what may be a final community meeting to present their latest thinking on the Broad Street Bike Boulevard. Not only should the Broad/Chorro neighborhoods be there in force to oppose this affliction upon their homes, but so should the residents of any city neighborhood that could face this fate. After all, your neighborhood could be next. Hope to see you there!
To the San Luis Obispo City Council: please stop this nonsense, leave our historic neighborhoods alone, and stop forcing this unwanted ideology upon us! If our councilmembers want to try out these ideas, let them do so on the new neighborhoods that been approving.
If they remain determined to push Bikeology into our older neighborhoods, let’s remember these names and hold them accountable come election time: Harmon, Rivoire, Christainson, Gomez, and Pease.
This time, let’s hope they listen. They would be wise to do so.