To bike or to not bike
Metropolis goals to unravel State Avenue biking points
As tensions develop between pedestrians and bicyclists on State Avenue, Santa Barbara metropolis officers are working to create concord between the 2 and discover a protected, logical area for each on the promenade.
Because the backbone of the bike lane community of the bicycle grasp plan, State Avenue supplies a connection to many fundamental streets and a vacation spot full of retailers, eating places and exercise.
When town closed off the road to automobiles in March, the overwhelming help of that call was twofold — residents of Santa Barbara are actually pushing for the closure to be everlasting.
In accordance with Rob Dayton, the transportation planning and parking supervisor for town,
“The town is leaning into everlasting closure.”
Nonetheless, on a avenue full of parklets, out of doors operations and numerous pedestrians, what does everlasting closure imply for bicyclists?
Whereas some pedestrians on State Avenue have filed complaints about reckless biking practices, metropolis officers mentioned a motorbike ban shouldn’t be doubtless.
“We consider that bikes symbolize about half the exercise over the course of the day,” Mr. Dayton instructed the Information-Press. “There’s a relentless stream of bikes that’s actually regular. Pedestrians come and go, however if you wish to preserve the road energetic, bikes are most likely going to play an vital function.”
In actual fact, town is contemplating implementing a pilot program of a brand new electrical bike share program, supplied to town without cost by Trek Bikes.
This system is three years lengthy and bike docks will solely be accessible on State Avenue and the waterfront initially. If the response is constructive, the docks will broaden into town.
This is without doubt one of the efforts to revitalize downtown Santa Barbara, which has at all times been a bike-friendly metropolis.
“What I’ve been telling folks is that for those who’re uncomfortable strolling on the street since you’re afraid of encountering bikes, then transfer to the sidewalks. Bikes aren’t allowed on the sidewalks,” Mr. Dayton mentioned.
Metropolis Council member Oscar Gutierrez has been taking note of the issues of pedestrians. He instructed the Information-Press that State Avenue continues to be legally thought-about a avenue, which suggests bikers, skate boarders and rollerbladers are imagined to be on the highway, and all pedestrians ought to technically be on the sidewalks.
“There’s a couple of points that we have to handle,” Mr. Gutierrez mentioned. “One is the privatization of a public area and two is the blocking of individuals’s proper to have a protected area to move themselves.”
He added that town has mentioned a delegated bike path happening the center of State Avenue, and referenced UCSB as a campus that efficiently has pedestrians and bikers use the identical routes with separate paths.
“There’s tens of 1000’s of those who navigate that each day that don’t get hit by bikes,” Mr. Gutierrez mentioned. “It’s not that sophisticated.”
Mayor Cathy Murillo instructed the Information-Press she helps the bike share program and discovering a solution to preserve biking as a protected and straightforward possibility on the downtown avenue.
“Since we closed State Avenue to automotive site visitors, our residents have taken possession of their village heart, and I feel folks would like to have the chance to lease a motorbike and get on it,” she mentioned. “A variety of our younger folks actually loved the liberty of being on the principle drag on their bike, so there’s just a bit adjustment of how they’ll proceed to make use of that area however go a bit slower and watch out of the pedestrians.”
The mayor added that is all a “grand experiment” and the ultimate resolution to maintain the road closed completely might be made in December.
Melissa Cunningham, the manager director of the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation, mentioned COAST has been advocating for years to get automobiles off of State Avenue, and he or she’s optimistic of discovering a solution to make it straightforward and handy for bikers and pedestrians.
“There’s been a variety of unfavorable commentary within the social media world, so we’re attempting to emphasise that we are able to take different measures like portray a observe down the center or extra signage to assist preserve bikes in a single space,” she instructed the Information-Press. “Over 50% of the folks on State Avenue come by bike. If you happen to took the bikes away, you’d have a a lot quieter place.”
Metropolis Council member Meagan Harmon echoed the chance for all to make use of and benefit from the promenade.
“It is vitally vital to me that the State Avenue hall displays our complete neighborhood and, in my view, cyclists are an integral a part of such an inclusive imaginative and prescient,” she mentioned. “I’m assured that we are able to develop a plan that celebrates our complete neighborhood, whether or not one prefers to stroll or to trip on State Avenue.”
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