Thank you Santa Barbara for Cota + Rancheria Bike Lanes
Dear Santa Barbara, especially Cota Daily Denizens and Rancheria residents,
Today, for the very first time, I can bike from work back to my home on the westside using bike lanes. Eastsiders heading into town had the same experience this morning. Lower Westsiders or anyone west of 101 heading to SBCC or the Harbor experienced the same. Hundreds of daily commuters and soon thousands of previously intimidated locals will try their luck with Santa Barbara's first protected bikeway. It made our day to see this project. Cota and Rancheria bike lanes are set to make a tremendously positive impact on our city, but I empathize with the trade-offs as well.
For the kids riding to Santa Barbara Junior High or McKinley, thank you. For the downtown workers heading safely into town, thank you. For the SBCC students finding an alternative to Castillo underpass, thank you. For all those who hadn't yet been interested to ride out of fear, who now may give it a chance, thank you.
For some, circling the city streets for limited free on-street parking, this morning may have been frustrating. On half of Cota from Milpas to Chapala and half of Rancheria from Cliff to Wentworth, the parking 'lane' has been converted to a bike lane, and on-street parking is that much more contentious to find. I want to empathize with your frustration and thank you for the sacrifice you made today, and in the coming weeks as parking patterns adjust in the area. As a result of this sacrifice our city streets are safer, and soon to be less congested. It may not offer much solace now, but by closing these significant gaps in the bikeway network, over time, more downtown denizens will opt to bike instead of drive and park on the street. Indeed, far more parking will be freed up over time than was taken for the bike lanes. I'm not here to convince you about any of this, but as a newly contented Cota cycling commuter, I'm happy to offer a coffee and chat with any distraught local car parking commuter.
This project was one of few direct parking to bike lane approvals, and I want to appreciate those impacted. These are very few and tough projects with trade-offs, but they had one hell of a public process and they are the crux to a well constructed, complete, convenient and safe bikeway system. Thank you to all the hard work of our city staff, electeds, appointeds, and civically engaged community - on all sides of the issue- for putting your time and care into what is already directly benefiting the lives of anyone choosing to ride a bike in Santa Barbara. In just a short while, I contend, this will prove to be a win for all modes.
P.S. After you ride this great and arduously planned and debated bicycle infrastructure, you may be inspired to thank our decision makers yourself. Please consider writing a short, kind email to your councilmember(s).