I write to comment on the article “Bikes and cars continue to clash on local roads” in the Friday, August 8, 2014, issue. The Daily Press is doing an excellent service in covering the City’s push to promote bicycle use.
As a long-time resident whose regular commute takes me on Stewart Street/28th Street and Pearl Street, which are specially-designated for bicycle travel, however, I find that my personal experience differs greatly from that described by Santa Monica Police Department Sgt. Rudy Camarena. Sgt. Camarena is quoted as saying, “The majority of riders in the cyclist community are respectful of traffic rules.”
It is extremely rare to see a bicyclist stop at a stop sign on 28th Street/Stewart or Pearl. I once kept an informal count in my head and noticed over a period of months that of the hundreds of bicyclists I saw at intersections controlled by stop signs during my commute, fewer than five stopped at stop signs. Cyclists often ride to the right of cars stopped ahead of them at a stop sign and proceed through the intersection without stopping. Motorists now are required by law to keep three feet away from bicyclists, but bicyclists often ride within inches of cars while navigating between the cars and the “curb extensions” that were installed at stop signs on Stewart and 28th Street to make the street crossing shorter for pedestrians and to calm traffic. I have seen cyclists ride right through stop signs and through crosswalks filled with children being guided across the street by school crossing guards.
My experience does not match what Sgt. Camarena said. It is obvious to me that the Police Department does not take effective steps to enforce traffic laws with respect to bicycles.
I’m confused. I think we all agree we have a water shortage and given global warming we will probably be in a state of near constant drought from now on. I also thought one of the City’s goals was to be self-sufficient when it comes to water. We’ve now instituted penalties for over consumption. I agree with all of those points. However, why is the City proposing a new tax to build housing? You can’t have it both ways. Either there is a drought and we need to cut back and not add residents or there isn’t. It doesn’t do any good for existing residents to cut back only to have those savings being used up by new homes.
So would somebody please let me know what the truth is. Either there is a drought and any new development is socially and environmentally irresponsible or we’ve got lots of water and can support new development and the penalties are effectively just a new tax on residents.