April 01, 2003
Bike Lanes to Replace Hwy. 101!
April 1, 2003 -- Santa Barbara, California USA
BIKE LANES TO REPLACE HIGHWAY101!!
Santa Barbara, Calif.: In a surprise announcement from the SBCAG Board today, Highway 101 will be replaced by the Santa Barbara County Greenway.
"Is it just me noticing or is bicycle commuting way up in Santa Barbara and Goleta," a South Coast bicyclist recently asked.
It turns out that local trails, including the Atascadero, Cabrillo, and Battles Road, have indeed reached capacity as thousands of patriotic citizens choose to bike and walk to work this month in support of saving fuel during the Iraq war.
"Energy conservation, public health and low-cost freedom of travel are increasing concerns for the millions of overweight Americans driving gas-guzzling cars," said a local official.
For years, transportation agencies have widened Highway 101, and at one point they had even proposed removing thousands of trees and shrubs to add extra lanes. Today, that decision has been reversed, and expanding the bike path system will require transforming the highway into a greenway for people walking and bicycling.
The new facility will be part of the "Bicycle Greenway Network," which will eventually connect the entire state of California. With roadway congestion frequently reducing traffic to a standstill, officials realized that bike paths are ideal Civil Defense routes, and have asked the Office of Homeland Security to increase funding to build trails.
"A healthy, physically fit population capable of moving without fossil fuels is a key to our national interests in this time of war," said a security expert.
It was President Eisenhower who created the interstate system of "national defense highways." Discussions are now being held with federal agencies and Congress about the possibility of creating a national system of bike paths by converting the Interstates and other highways into greenway trails. A new organization called the "Roads-to-Trails Conservancy" has been formed to advocate for this highway-to-greenway conversion.
Throughout the nation, there are successful examples of highways being replaced by appropriate facilities. Portland, Oregon replaced its urban freeway with an esplanade, the former Embarcadero in San Francisco is now a boulevard, and the West Side highway in Manhattan has been converted into Hudson River Park. Historically, bicycling advocates in the late 1800's led a national campaign called the "Good Roads Movement" which called for the first paved roads in the US. That effort led in part to the creation of the Automobile Association of America, so today's announcement will bring bicyclists and motorists back to their historically common agenda.
While this release will strike some like a joke, it should serve as a serious reminder to us all that a balanced transportation system must include pedestrians, bicyclists, buses, trucks, planes, trains and automobiles to move America -- and our world -- forward in the 21st Century.
Thanks to April Furst for posting the above on the CABO Message Board, and putting a smile on my face to begin the week. :-)
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