Bike Map Revealed, Public Funding Involved
By Terri Alvillar

Seven months of denials by Marin County officials regarding the Marin County Bicycle Coalition's (MCBC) new bike map became a refreshing display of candor at the "grand unveiling" party on December 20. The party was held at the Bikadelic bike shop in Fairfax and the public was invited. For a document over which the County repeatedly denied having any influence, it was enlightening to see John Kress, President of the Board of Supervisors, taking the lead in celebrating its production.

During his speech, Mr. Kress called mountain biking "the most significant contribution to worldwide culture that the County has ever made." "Only coming close to this achievement," he said, were "maybe Jerry Garcia or George Lucas." Mr. Kress stated that mountain biking has "stormed the world and it all started here and I really feel it's a privilege to support you" and "I'm going to do whatever I can to support your agenda and I think this map is a great contribution." He also found it "amusing" that many people want to keep bike trails "unpublicized."

Among the "many people to thank for the reality of this map," map designer Joe Breeze, stated, were "Michael Jones and the County of Marin for organization and data." At an October 1998 public meeting of the Marin County Bikeways Committee, Jones claimed to have "no affiliation whatsoever" with the MCBC, in spite of the fact that in a memo (dated 3/98) from Jones to County Planner, Steve Petterle, he stated: "I will use the assistance of local bicyclists such as Chris Lang (MCBC Chairman Pro Tem) to help in the field data collection.

As previously reported, Jones has a contract with the County of Marin paid for by Transportation Development Act funds reimbursed to the County by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The MCBC map provides little new on- road transit information; it is clearly the product of the mountain biking industry and its activists. The County's involvement in its production is a scandalous misuse of transportation funds, and is a gross betrayal of public trust.

What is new about the MCBC map is that its "Secondary Routes" direct mountain bikers into our once peaceful neighborhoods. I do not think that paved, dead- end streets leading to mountain biking trailheads qualify for Federal and State transportation funds as transit routes. The Marin County Board of Supervisors has made a statement by their cooperation to produce this map and that statement is: We do not care about Marin residents and we are above the law.

This back room collaboration between County officials and special interest groups is planned to continue. MCBC member, Debbie Hubsmith, stated: "We're working with the County now to develop a countywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan. It looks like it's going to be in the works soon. It's not officially going yet but there seems to be a lot of energy going in that direction. Once we have this document, we can apply for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars of funding... Chris Lang has been appointed to the Congestion Management Agency's Advisory Committee on Funding, so that will help us get the funding we need."

To facilitate this bike-lobby spending spree, the MCBC has requested that each town/city in Marin set up Bicycle Advisory Boards to establish their influence. My hope is that local officials who adopt this proposal will choose members who are serious about real bicycle and pedestrian transit and will make certain that funds truly are used for local public benefit.

If there was any doubt prior to the "grand unveiling" party on December 20 that public funds have been misused to facilitate the production of this map and that county officials have colluded with the Marin County Bicycle Coalition to prevent this document from being open to public scrutiny, now there is none.