Thursday, January 26, 2023

Community Voices: Another City Committee Run Amok*

Our legal system goes to great lengths to impanel fair and impartial juries, and potential jurors are vetted to avoid pre-conceived biases.

Likewise, City appointments to various committees should be fair and impartial, but often are not. To the contrary, it’s clear that City officials making such appointments often establish their own position Re: the charter of a given committee, and then appoint like-minded residents as members. The results are predictable. Past examples include RSIP committees stacked with members in favor of downsizing homes, increasing setbacks, and reducing FARs, footprints, height limits, etc. The result is a continuous erosion of property rights by hardliners wanting to maintain our “village atmosphere”.

The latest example involves the 7-member Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC). The idea of a bicycle path on our beach was hatched, and it’s clear from reading their 7-6-15 minutes that BAC members are hell-bent to build it, despite huge opposition from residents. AFTER approving $100K to study the bike path, the City Manager will NOW meet with BAC to “figure out what they hope to accomplish with that money, and how they hope to move forward”. BAC’s title may even be changed to “Bicycle/Pedestrian” in hopes of making the bike path “more sellable”. It would be far more appropriate for the City to FIRST determine whether most residents actually WANT a beach bike path, BEFORE spending $100K of OUR money, and BEFORE directing BAC to make it happen. And how did the City know $100K is the proper amount, before knowing what they want to accomplish?

A multi-million dollar beach bicycle path is not supported by any residents I’ve talked with, and is even LESS “sellable” by adding pedestrians. The Bay Bike Path from the Ferry Landing to the Bridge already demonstrates serious conflicts between bicyclists and pedestrians, and the Strand bike path is so crowded that many bicyclists use the Strand highway instead. When you add in surrey and electric bikes, Segways, skateboards, strollers and unsuspecting tourists, a beach bike path would become a safety nightmare, and a goldmine for personal injury lawyers. There are plenty of places to ride bikes in Coronado, and we don’t need another “tourist magnet” or more crowding and traffic at the beach. Don’t destroy our beach with a bike path, and stop wasting taxpayer money on endless studies.

On a related issue, painting bike lanes all over Coronado is another solution in search of a problem. Whether it’s recreational bikers, local teenagers or a gaggle of serious riders, biking is a social outing. Riders don’t like to pedal in single file, and rarely ride “between the lines”. Like our excessive traffic signs, painting bike lanes everywhere would just add to the visual clutter on our streets. Don’t waste our taxpayer funds on unnecessary bike lanes.

*AMOK – From a Malay word meaning to run wild in a violent frenzy