Rose Creek Bikeway
Local leaders on hand for the opening of the Rose Creek Bikeway. Photo via @Cblakespear Twitter

Times of San Diego recently published a piece announcing the opening of the new Landis Bikeway without asking basic questions or challenging the bike utopian orthodoxy championed by Mayor Todd Gloria and his bike extremist minions.

How many bikers will actually utilize this bikeway? How will it impact residents? What about the decreased number of parking spaces? How will less parking affect the ability of disabled drivers to park close to their destinations? Will they be forced to ambulate longer distances?

These are all important questions that a lot of people are asking.

I speak for the majority when I say there’s no universal love and acceptance of bike lanes that are empty most of the time. In fact, I see more cars parked in bike lanes than bicyclists riding their bikes. And regardless of what city officials say publicly, nobody commutes on a bicycle.

But no matter. The city of San Diego continues to build bike lanes despite the fact that over 90% of us drive cars. Parking loss harms businesses, eliminates accessibility and mobility choices for disabled drivers, many of whom are elderly, slows response times of emergency vehicles and snarls traffic, which results in more greenhouse gas emissions, not less.

But the politicians are hell-bent on removing parking spaces to pocket campaign cash from local vocal special interest groups of bikers and corporate donors.

If the city and county agencies like SANDAG, responsible for making transportation decisions, are making it more difficult for disabled drivers to find close proximity parking, and they have, isn’t it fair and reasonable for those of us adversely affected to say those officials are doing a very poor job?

In 2019, when I was a paid ADA advisor at SANDAG, which is run by bike extremists, any time I mentioned the lack of disabled parking or the removal of existing disabled parking spaces, I was told I was being “negative.”

As a disabled driver, what concerns me is the lack of consideration given the disabled and the elderly — those of us who cannot walk long distances. We require close proximity parking.

But the city has “relocated” many disabled parking spaces, creating longer walks for those of us with limited mobility, in favor of bike lanes for the able-bodied and physically fit.

Why is San Diego discriminating and excluding disabled drivers with hostile anti-parking policies?

You never hear bike-advocating city officials like Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespeare or Gloria or any other politicians, past or present, mention disabled drivers because there’s no money in it for them.

Nobody is advocating for the rights of the disabled. There is the federal law called the Americans with Disabilities Act, so it’s assumed some lawyer somewhere is making sure the basic tenets of the law are being implemented and monitored.

You’d think that would be the case, but no.

The mayor’s Office of ADA Compliance and Accessibility is constantly ignored and overruled by the Transportation Department, a bunch of bike extremists, who think that disabled people don’t have social lives so we don’t need parking spaces. While the politicians are busy virtue signaling about “equity,” they ignore federal law in transportation planning by failing to put the needs of the disabled first.

This demonstrably false statement from SANDAG chair Blakespeare is laughable:

“The completion of the Landis Bikeway demonstrates how the SANDAG Regional Bike Plan will create real transportation choices for everyone in the San Diego region.”

Everyone? Except disabled drivers.

I’m also bothered that the bike lanes, reconfigured streets and “advisory bike lanes” are ideas copied and pasted from other cities. They are not ideas curated by local officials for the benefit of our city. San Diego is not Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Ottawa.

I was optimistic when I heard the city had hired Jorge Riveros as transportation director, thinking new eyeballs on San Diego’s unmitigated disaster of “reconfigured streets” and “protected bike lanes” needs a serious and thoughtful reboot to reflect the needs of all San Diegans, not just for a small few with connections to City Hall.

But no — Riveros was hired specifically to ignore reality and build MORE bike lanes, not to make transportation work.

Let me return to my original point: What the city is currently doing in the name of “transportation” isn’t working. Why are there so many bike lanes downtown if so few use them? Why invest in more transit that most people refuse to ride? Why isn’t taxpayer money being spent on housing the homeless and repairing potholes all across town?

One wonders why there isn’t more public outrage over parking spaces lost downtown, in North Park, in the Mid-Cities, in North County? Why aren’t city taxpayers fighting back and punching up like the Mira Mesa residents on Gold Coast Drive in the wake of the ridiculous “advisory bike lane” fiasco?

This was such a public relations nightmare that Gloria was forced to restripe the street and wave the white flag of surrender in this one case, even though he doesn’t care since he’s owned by the special interests #ForAllOfUs as he’s fond of saying.

All of the above is factual and true. Yet the insanity continues. A new day, more new bike lanes. Is Park Boulevard the next major thoroughfare to be ruined by the bike extremists and their precious, unused bike lanes?

Kent Rodricks is an award-winning screenwriter, actor and disabled parking activist. Standing 3-feet-11-inche tall, he has the congenital brittle bone disease osteogenesis imperfecta, congestive heart failure and chronic respiratory failure. He can be found on social media @KentRodricks and with the hashtag #DisabledSD

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