The seemingly unending war between motorists and cyclists had a bit more fuel thrown on the fire this week thanks to some vocal San Jose residents objecting to plans that would make the city more bike friendly. According to a recent article from Mercury News, residents of Hedding Street are opposed to the city’s plan to remove one lane of traffic in each direction and replace it with new bike lanes.
The proposed change is part of San Jose’s increasing commitment to becoming one of the most bike friendly areas in the country. The city’s Department of Transportation is hoping to have 500 miles of bike lanes by 2040 and have cycling account for roughly 15 percent of all city transit. Unfortunately, winning over die hard motorists is going to be an uphill battle.
In the article, 83-year-old Mabel Rodarte gets caught in a “chicken-or-egg” argument, complaining of the proposed route, “I’ve been sitting here to see how many bicycles are going by, and I’ve seen three. There’s no sense to it.” Never mind the possibility that adding a bike lane might actually encourage more cyclists to use Hedding Street as a part of their commute.
It’s a nearly impossible argument to prove, but–founded or not–the continued belief from motorists that there aren’t enough cyclists to warrant additional bike paths is going to be a serious obstacle for the lofty goals set by the city of San Jose.
A community meeting on August 2nd to discuss the new bike route drew approximately 30 to 40 residents, with only a handful expressing support for the proposal. According to Department of Transportation deputy director Manuel Pineda, the primary concern from most residents was the impact the new bike lanes would have on parking. Adding, “We want to have a transportation system that really creates options for people.”
Additional arguments will be heard at the council meeting on August 21st at City Hall, as area residents will each be given two minutes to voice their concerns or express support of the proposed bike lanes. You can find more information at sanjoseca.gov.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bike/5033351913/