In addition to Obama’s proposed auto-industry loans in the economic stimulus package (now estimated $775M), he’s appointed a new Director of Transportation: Ray LaHood. While LaHood (Rep.) retired his seat with House Appropriations in Illinois, I didn’t have much familiarity with his modus operandi. It appears the guy has been quite successful in using his perceived stature and charisma towards fund-raising. However, his track record shows a lot of last-minute decisions in spending, without a lot of documentation. Interesting. Projects that he is known for, include spendy pavement improvements for private organizations related to his campaign donors.
One is left to be curious where bicycles will fall in the Transportation funding? Will we be the patrollers of the pothole-ridden bike paths, until we raise awareness about his other “successes”?
What does the future hold for bike commuters? A couple months ago, I created a petition designed to give that very train rider group, a voice. Many asked for a bike-designated car, inclusion of bicyclists during peak hours, as well as increasing general space on every car for cyclists. All of these are interrelated to environmental concerns, the fluctuating price of gasoline, and a desire for more healthy and affordable lifestyles within the Bay Area. Since I’ve only promoted the petition within my own cycling community, I fear it excludes non-racers, and a majority of the general commuting population. With that said, I am a regular commuter myself and don’t really see a lot of community events or clubs organized together in that respect. Please feel free to comment if you have ideas about how these people can be reached, and given an opportunity to share their opinion.
I’ve attended a couple of meetings (click for podcast) designed to address these concerns, which bring together representatives from various advocacy groups and BART officials. In the last two meetings, the agenda has included items on bike lockers, escalators, and C-Car renovations which include bikes in the wheelchair and luggage categories for space usage. It sounds like there may be a future for bike access during commute hours, as well as more bike station parking space, if funding goes through. The bike station funding needs to be matched by the city organizations for BART to continue to delegate funds towards it, and Berkeley Bicycle Sub Committee has their meeting this thursday to discuss this item (see section 5.b. via link). There was a bit more tension in the room as compared to the previous meeting, and it seems as though BART needs some positive encouragement from the public in order to acknowledge and continue in the right direction. EBBC is really pushing for permission of bicyclists to use the escalators, and helping BART to promote their locker campaign. I’m not sure who is behind the peak commute hours expansion for cyclist inclusion campaign, but I am glad its getting some attention.
In the presentation, I grabbed a sampling of comments from 406 Rick Jones, 430 Jeffrey Osborne, 470 Seth Goddard, 537 Anonymous, and 583 Nathan Shaffer. Here’s the statistics from the petition with 592 signatures:
Comment Votes %total
|1. Access during commute hours
|2. Environmental/health impact
|3. Growing cycling community/gas prices
|4. More space, bike racks, hooks on trains
|5. Bike-friendly car
|6. Safety and convenience
|7. Increasing general ridership
|8. Bike parking improvements
|9. More bike gates
*thanks to Scott Mace for sharing his podcast of the meeting.
This just in – Measure WW has passed, and East Bay Regional Park District will be able to maintain its real estate, avoid commercial development, and even invest in the expansion of park access for cyclists, as well as other user groups. This is the perfect time to be living in the Bay Area.
This election was historical in so many ways, but one of the ways I will remember it most is in seeing both sides of this particular issue, so closely.
Even though I almost got run over a few times on my morning run, trying to navigate between the numerous polling places packed with lines down the sidewalk; I realized this was probably the biggest election in history. And 1/3 of the voters in my district voted by absentee! Democracy is pretty sweet, sometimes.
Measure WW: An extension of bond measure AA for the EBRPD to maintain and enhance park facilities, including amenities for all trail users.
Who says No? “”It’s our one chance to bring any kind of leverage against the parks district.”
Who says Yes? “We make this endorsement despite serious concerns about EBRPD’s overriding philosophy toward bicycles in policy documents incl uding the District’s Master Plan and Ordinance 38.”
Now, these aren’t the only sources for information – nor the best. It is merely my intent to drive home the fact that we have more cyclists voting this election, because more of them exist. Its an effort to provide educational outlets for them, so they can make responsible decisions at the voting booth.
How are you voting on Measure WW?