According to your article, "Bike plan runs into opposition from East Meadow residents," opposition to the bike safety improvements are primarily objections to the removal of street parking. They claim that street parking is not a safety issue. I beg to differ. When I'm biking beside a row of parked cars, most of my attention is focused on whether or not a driver is going to open a door into my path. It's called being "doored."
Contrary to popular opinion, free street parking is not a right. The streets belong to the city and to the residents as a whole, not just to a particular neighborhood. If I had my druthers, all on-street residential parking would require a paid permit, which is what we actually have here in Evergreen Park.
All the properties along East Meadow have double-wide driveways, so I have zero sympathy with their complaint. I think they are just too lazy to pull into the driveway.
What keeps people off bikes is safety, or rather the perception that biking is dangerous. That perception is, more often than not, stress of biking in traffic more than real danger. But when someone decides to bike or drive, it's perception that matters. Biking instead of driving is the single, biggest personal action that can be taken to mitigate climate change. My question to all those residents who feel they have the right to continue to park on the street is: What are you doing about climate change? I would really like to know.
Birch Street, Palo Alto
As a U.S. citizen and a longtime resident of Palo Alto, I strongly disagree with the plans that the Association of Bay Area Governments is preparing to implement with respect to new housing in the Bay Area and in Palo Alto. ABAG's plan does not seem to be concerned about the number of people who can survive comfortably in Palo Alto. On the contrary, it seems to think that we can accommodate an infinite number of new residents as long as we build any kind of housing for them. There's no concern for the severe drought that currently exists in California and especially in the Bay Area that's requiring significant reductions in water consumption by the existing population. Likewise, there's no concern for the amount of new traffic nor the space for parking that this plan would entail. Nor is there concern for the quality of life of the people who have invested their assets in Palo Alto because they enjoy living here. Who is expected to pay for the required new infrastructure, roads, schools, etc., that we would need to accommodate the additional population?
My concerns would be less valid if Palo Alto and the surrounding communities like Los Altos and Mountain View hadn't already increased their supply of new housing very significantly in the past several years. As a resident since 1984, I'd be happy to provide a guided tour to any ABAG official who would like to see the new housing developments that have arisen in recent years and those that are now being constructed.
The ABAG Executive Committee should respect the right of Palo Alto residents to retain local zoning control and the right to live a peaceful life free from unreasonable pressures from the state and other entities such as ABAG.
Encina Grande Drive, Palo Alto