The Coastal Post - December, 1998

Questions To The Supes On The Bikeways Map

By Terri Avillar

As detailed in correspondence, public documents and the press, the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) has nearly completed production of a comprehensive on-road/off-road bicycle map for Marin County. This map has been recently and progressively reviewed by members of your Board, as well as employees of the Marin County Open Space District and the Marin County Public works Department.

The glaring omissions in this review process are individual municipalities and Marin county residents who stand to be affected in a variety of ways if the map is distributed. In a November 1 letter to the Coastal Post, Chairman Pro Tem of the MCBC, Mr. Chris Lang, stated: "No public review or due process is required." Local administrators, planning, public works, police and fire departments, as well as individual Marin residents may differ with that conclusion. Several important questions regarding the County Bikeways Map arise:

1) How do on-road and off-road bicycle routes conform to existing criteria established by each City or Town for transit and recreational bikeways?

2) How will municipalities incorporate into their respective plans the need for increased route maintenance, signage and enforcement to accommodate the additional bicycle and subsequent motor vehicle traffic this map would generate?

3) What new parking requirements might be necessary due to the emphasis recreational off-road bicycling is given on this map?

4) What is neighborhood consensus about increased bicycle use, motor vehicle traffic and parking which will occur when visitors purchasing the maps descend upon their streets?

5) Should the map's producers or local governments determine how local bicycle routes will be advertised and distributed and whether or not the map should be digitized and offered on the internet?

6) What are each jurisdiction's map distribution and taxation requirements?

7) Could local officials and residents suggest superior commute/transportation routes or those which would more closely align with planned bikeways which could be listed as such on the map?

8) Should not parents in each jurisdiction be consulted as to the safest bicycle routes to their children's schools?

9) Should not private property owners living near Open Space access points have the opportunity to comment on planned routes?

10) Although the county is working to implement enforcement on Open space lands, it effectively does not exist there now; therefore, should not off-road routes be carefully scrutinized by all trail users and especially by the neighborhoods most affected?

11) What criteria will be used to address public pedestrian and motor vehicle safety issues with regard to routing?

12) There are at least 53 private property access points to Marin County Open Space lands. Will these be marked "private property" on the map?

13) Will trails off-limits to bicycles be marked so?

14) If distributed, this map will draw large numbers from outside of Marin County. Will the map clearly post all rules of the road for cycling?

15) What amount of public funds will be required to implement, maintain, monitor and enforce all of above?

16) What liability would inure to municipalities and to the publishers, respectively, if map purchasers travel on routes chosen by the publishers but which were not approved by local government?

As you know, the primary architects of the MCBC map are recreational mountain bicycling activists, bicycle manufacturers, mountain bike race promoters and single-track mountain bike trail builders. The Advisory Board of the MCBC reads as a "Who's Who" of mountain biking. Consequently, it is reasonable to expect that extensive out-off-county traffic will be drawn to Marin as a result of the distribution of this map, and that far greater number of mountain bicyclists will be using our neighborhood roadways to access off-road trails. Also, it is reasonable to expect that even more illegal trails will be constructed and that enforcement demand will never meet the supply of violations.

In order that questions raised above, and all other concerns, can be answered before problems arise, I request that you and the MCBC advertise widely and prominently, submitting the County Bikeways Map to each City/Town government and to the residents of each City/Town and unincorporated area of Marin for a thorough review.

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