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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Council Majority Refuses to Implement the Horton Street Bike Boulevard

Emeryville's Progressive Council Majority:
Not Progressive on Bike Access

City Needs to Return Bike Plan Award
Received Under False Pretenses

For more than 15 years, Emeryville's Bike Committee has been clamoring for traffic calming for Horton Street, Emeryville's premier north/south bike commuting corridor.  Using what leverage they had, the Committee forced the previous City Council majority's hand and a new document, the Bike Plan was commissioned and certified to the tune of $200,000 in 2012 after two years of study.  The Plan, officially part of Emeryville's General Plan, also called for traffic calming just as the Committee had been.  We're sorry to say that's where this story ends....with a plan...on a shelf.

Regular Tattler readers will attest the story of the problems this city has had bringing traffic calming to Horton Street are legendary.  The problem historically was a disingenuous City Council.  They would campaign for bikes at re-election time but they had no interest in following through with traffic calming for Horton Street.  We thought that once the old order was broken up and a new seemingly pro-bike progressive City Council majority was elected last November, the taxpayer funded $200,000 Bike Plan would finally be taken seriously and traffic calming would finally come to Horton Street.  We're sad to say we were wrong.

Almost a year after the new City Council ordered the Plan be implemented, Horton Street is now no closer to getting traffic calming; not even a little. There has been no action whatsoever on this and there is no sign of any action anytime in the future.  Meanwhile, bicyclists are continuing on, dangerously trying to share a street with more than 3000 vehicles per day as they have done for more than 10 years.  The Progressive Council majority has not made any move to rectify the situation and they seem happy with their empty vote to implement the Plan last year.

The problem now, if it even matters identifying it, is the head of the Public Works Department Maurice Kaufman.  Mr Kaufman, a traffic engineer, has long said his job is to make cars move more efficiently, the antithesis of a bike boulevard with its traffic calming meant to discourage efficient vehicle use.  The distance Mr Kaufman is willing to go to continue to stall Bike Plan traffic calming was revealed by the Tattler last August when we uncovered an internal document wherein Mr Kaufman lied to our new City Manager about it.
As Tattler readers know, temporary bollards, glued to the street, are what's called for in the Bike Plan so the effects can be studied on reducing the traffic below 3000 per day.  The Public Works Department routinely does this gluing down of bollards whenever there is a construction project and a developer needs to temporarily take a portion of a street.  The problem is Mr Kaufman says he can't do that now on Horton Street for bikes as the Bike Plan directs because he maintains (without evidence) that a whole new expensive study needs to be completed.  The Tattler has referred to this new study as the "study of the study"; a bogus and unnecessary time stalling tactic.  So this is where we are now...waiting on the study of the study to be commissioned by the Council.  We're no closer to implementing the bogus study of the study than we've ever been and there has been no action on even securing an author for it.

So here we are, no closer to implementing our long overdue Bike Plan than we were with the old City Council.  This new Council majority may be progressive when it comes to other things in Emeryville but as far as bike access goes, they're no better than the old right wing Council majority.

We call on this majority to make your decision now: implement or rescind so we can return Horton Street back to what it was, a regular high volume busy street without the dangerous purple bike boulevard signs and stencils on the asphalt giving bicyclists a false sense of security.
Council be warned however, if you move to rescind the Plan or if you stall for more time, we say Emeryville residents and regional bike commuters have waited long enough; the City of Emeryville must return the award it received for its Bike Plan in 2013 from the American Planning Association.  A letter should accompany the returned award saying this town doesn't like the idea of bikes on our streets.  We don't have the stomach to make a place for bikes here in Emeryville.
Emeryville's Award Winning Bike Plan
It was received under false pretenses:
Emeryville appears never to have had any intention to implement the Plan.
Time to return this to the American Planning Association


  1. There's already too many bikes clogging up our streets. Mr Kaufman is right. Streets are for cars.

    1. Well then you should be in favor of the City Council amending the Bike Plan to remove Bike Boulevards from our town. You should make your case to them. Good luck with that.

  2. I'd be more sympathetic to cyclists if they actually obeyed the laws and rules of the road.
    As it is we are giving in to their lawlessness by creating these 'safe' spaces for them, when they create most of the hazards by their dangerous riding habits.

    1. You forgot to mention their unrefined aesthetic sense, their total lack of hygiene and the fact that they breed like rats.