Some of the Exciting Projects in the 2016 BMP Update
The plan’s solution for the Westside Gap connector (a missing chunk in the network connecting the Westside to downtown and the rest of the city) is a Sola Street Bike Boulevard. This replaces the originally proposed green lanes on Micheltorena and is an example of the extensive study and compromise that have gone into the 2016 Bicycle Master Plan.
Other neighborhoods, on both the Eastside and the Westside, are slated for bike friendly boulevards as well. Bike boulevards are great additions to neighborhoods, typically enjoyed by residents and cyclists alike. Simply put, they make streets calmer. This is achieved, in part, via bicycling signage. While bikes share the street with cars, physical barriers discourage through traffic, thereby reducing car traffic. These barriers do allow emergency vehicle access and have been approved by Santa Barbara’s police and fire departments. Check out page 5 of the summer Quick Release for a photo and description.
While bike boulevards were well understood and appreciated on the Eastside, they were, unfortunately, poorly understood by a few community members on the Westside, who continued to speak out against a bike boulevard on Chino, citing reasons that mischaracterized bike boulevard results. City Council, nevertheless, approved the Chino portion of the plan unanimously (sans Mayor Helene Schneider and Councilwoman Cathy Murillo, both excused from voting on the portion of the plan related the neighborhood where they own property or live).
The hope is that, once the boulevard is implemented, those neighbors’ concerns will be alleviated. And, as Schneider later pointed out, elements that don’t work as planned can be “massaged” and “amended.” A former Transportation Committee member, Lee Moldaver, who called the plan a “long delayed but logical extension of the previous project” spoke to those concerns. He recalled similar doubts over a formerly implemented plan. “It was going to be the end,” he told City Council, joking. “We must all be enjoying the benefits of clean living or the rapture, because we’ve all survived.” He concluded, “Neighborhoods, like people, are very resilient. People in neighborhoods fear change but adapt to it very quickly.”
Another project in the BMP is a route along Cota Street, which will connect cyclists to downtown from the Eastside (to match the current route in the other direction along Haley Street). The details of that project will be sorted out as grant funding becomes available[CN3] .
Councilmember Randy Rowse was the dissenter in the 6–1 BMP adoption vote, citing an inability to “cogently explain” a possible bike route on the beach side of Cabrillo Boulevard. That project is intended to supplement the current bike path, now heavily used by pedestrians and skateboards and difficult for cycling commuters.
These are just a few of the projects SBBIKE looks forward to helping implement soon.