The article City Council Kills Bike Master Plan, Poised to Begin Prep of Coronado Comprehensive Active Transportation Strategy invited readers to complete a survey about the City Council’s handling of the development and implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan. Although the number of responses to the survey was relatively small at 21, the results may still be useful to the City Council and staff as they prepare a Coronado Active Transportation Strategy that will, in part, replace the existing bike master plan.
The first question in the survey asked respondents to give the City Council a letter grade of its handling of the preparation and implementation of the bike master plan. Fourteen (or 67%) of the respondents gave the Council an “F”, four (or 19%) gave it a “D”. At the other end of the spectrum two respondents gave the Council an “A” and one gave it a “B”.
The second question concerned what should be included in the city’s active transportation strategy. Over 70 percent of the respondents endorsed the scope of the proposed plan: A Pedestrian Master Plan, an updated Bicycle Master Plan, updated Safe Routes to School, and traffic calming recommendations. However three of the respondents indicated that none of the foregoing topics should be included in the plan.
The balance of the questions dealt with how the Council should handle adoption of the active transportation plan, public comment on the plan, and requests for grant funding to implement the plan. They also queried respondents about whether adoption of the plan should be put to the voters and its implementation, if adopted by the voters.
Fifteen or over 70 percent of the respondents indicated that the City Council should not adopt the plan until it is satisfied that the public has been given a sufficient opportunity to provide input and the strategy appropriately reflects the public input received. Four or about 20 percent of the respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed. About 67 percent or 14 respondents indicated that once the City Council adopts a comprehensive active transportation strategy, which may include bike lanes and routes, bulbouts, and raised crosswalks with flashing beacons, the strategy should be implemented without further public input. Six or about 30 percent of the respondents strongly disagreed.
Regarding implementation of a comprehensive active transportation strategy, 13 or 62 percent of the respondents indicated that the Council should not seek grants or approve funding without first agreeing that it will not reconsider its approval based on further public input. Eight or 38 percent disagreed. (Editorial note: commitment to implement the proposed scope of work is a requirement of accepting a grant according to SANDAG Board Policy No. 035, Competitive Grant Program Procedures. In the case of both the Safe Routes to School Grant and the Bicycle Scenic Loop Grant the City did not honor this commitment and was required to resubmit its grant applications when it reduced the scopes of both grants.)
Views on whether the adoption of a comprehensive active transportation strategy should be decided by the voters were almost evenly split. Nine respondents or approximately 43 percent believed that it should be, and 10 respondents or about 48 percent indicated that it should not be. If the strategy was approved by the voters, 11 or 53 percent of the respondents indicated that it should be implemented without further public input. On the other side, 8 or about 38 percent of the respondents disagreed and two had no opinion.
The final question concerned whether or not the City Council could be expected to implement a comprehensive active transportation strategy after adopting it after its experience with implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan. Nine of the respondents had no opinion and the remainder were almost equally split between those that felt the Council would implement a strategy once it was adopted and those that believed that it would not.
Several comments by respondents who gave the City Council an “F” for its handling of the Bicycle Master Plan emphasized the need to make safety the preeminent concern. A sample of the comments include: “We voted the City Council in to make these decisions for us. It’s their job to weigh the decision, which safety should be the number one objective. They will never please everyone. Never. So act like leaders, adopt a plan, and stick with it” and “It’s time to do what’s safe and to stop listening to the public about each of their ideas and fears. Make a decision and go with it, stop the drama! The public should have no say when it comes to safety.” Others expressed more general dissatisfaction with the actions of the Council and included: “City Council has no backbone. Keystone Cops running around in circles” and “Need different council members.”
The respondents who gave the Council an “A” for their actions on the bike master plan took aim at the survey. One comment was “I think it is a fabulous idea and I think E Coronado’s manner in publishing this survey is negative and condescending. E-Coronado should go back to the old days when it purely focused on the positive aspects of our neighborhood. It’s a website news center for Goodness sake. Not In Touch Weekly. #Stay positive E Coronado.” The other respondent that gave the Council an “A” stated, “This is a very one-sided survey. Who came up with these leading questions?!”
Regarding the proposed scope of the active transportation strategy the following was offered, “Parking should be included because the cost of parking in town encourages the use of gas vehicles. Parking meters should be replaced by parking boxes that distribute parking receipts – this eliminates the ‘cacophony’ of parking meters on the street. Parking rates should be increased substantially to discourage folks from driving. Electric vehicles should be exempt from increased parking rates. The city should do everything it can to encourage non-gas vehicle usage. This is a town of approximately 1 square mile – most of us can certainly walk or bike around town. The city should have an active campaign to discourage gas powered vehicles and promote alternative modes of transportation.”
Perhaps the most thoughtful comment was, “There are two types of public involvement – planning level and project level. Once the Active Transportation Strategy has been developed (with ample public involvement) and City Council adopts the plan, the projects in the plan should be considered agreed upon and not revisited. However when each project moves forward, public involvement can again be sought, but what is on the table is project-level design details, not whether or not the entire project should be completed. To have any integrity in the public process, you have to honor the work that has already come before. Otherwise you provide a dis-incentive for participating in the public process at the appropriate times and only reward those that provide input at the very last minute. The City Council and Mayor need to understand that they must support the integrity of the long-range planning process, otherwise there is no point in completing a master plan.”