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From: (Jobst Brandt)
Newsgroups: rec.bicycles.rides,rec.bicycles.soc,rec.bicycles.misc,ba.bicycles,
Subject: Re: National Bicycle Greenway to Break Ground in Santa Cruz!
Date: 6 Aug 1999 22:59:25 GMT

Martin Krieg writes:

> National Bicycle Greenway to Break Ground in Santa Cruz!

> The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission voted
> yesterday to create what will amount to the first link in the
> National Bicycle Greenway's trans-coastal and coast-to-coast
> network of dedicated bicycle highways. Their historic ballot: A bike
> path along the nearly abandoned rail corridor that goes from Santa
> Cruz to Watsonville at the edge of Monterey county.

Oops!  That is a busy rail line that runs a long cement, coal, and
aggregate trains three times a week as it has for many years.  It
belongs to the Union Pacific railroad and is under consideration for
rail commute traffic for that region.  I think you'll find adequate
parallel roads that can be and are already designated as bicycle
routes.  I ride them regularly between Santa Cruz and Aptos as do many
others.  Farther south the road runs even straighter than the railway.

> In honoring the presence of the many cyclists present, our
> commission has also taken a major first step in getting us connected
> with the fabled Cannery Row bike path that Congressman Sam Farr
> helped to bring into existence! He had earlier challenged us to meet
> them halfway meaning it is now up to Monterey to connect theirs with
> us at the Pajaro River!

This is another railway right-of-way that should be part of a rail
commute route but there seems to be more interest in highway widening
there than public transit, a basically Un-American activity.

> More than just buying the rail right-of-way, which our commission
> had earlier agreed to do, they kept upping the ante for actually
> getting the bikeway built. This almost surreal poker game continued
> until Supervisor Mardi Warmhoudt asked for a dramatic doubling of
> the amount before the commission to make this dream a reality.

I see.  It took a long time to get the cement hopper trucks off the
highway and onto the rails both here and at a Permanente plant on the
valley side of the hill.  Maybe that is part of the resistance to bike
paths in that area.  I for one, am not enamored with bike trails.
Ordinary roads will do a far better job and are maintained by taxes
that are easier to come by than for maintaining a bike path.

> What happened next was even more astonishing. They approved it --
> unanimously! And if this was not enough, they also approved a nearly
> equal amount of funding for bike lanes on those car roads that will
> serve it!

So what's the upshot.  They bought the railroad R-O-W?

> As a mere couple of miles of highway widening faces lawsuits,
> environmental reviews and much turbulence over a period expected to
> drag on for a decade, Santa Cruz County cyclists will be showing the
> nation how to build the way out on congestion. With the added
> funding for low cost loans for 10,000 electric bikes, our head start
> in this area will cause an explosion in the numbers of people of all
> ages riding their bikes all throughout this county.

This is the kind of spending that drive the voters into the Republican
camp.  Who voted for these expenditures and who do you think is going
to ride these electric bicycles on the bike path?

> Move over Davis, CA. Watch as we become the number one bike town in
> all the world and become a bicycle heaven that tourists will flock
> to in unprecedented numbers! Santa Cruz, a worthy headwaters for the
> National Bicycle Greenway. You bet!! Thanks for you my fellow
> bicycle brethren.

That's not what the students in Davis think of the Davis police force.
I find Palo Alto and Stanford a more friendly environment and so low
key that it doesn't bear mentioning.  Maybe it's better that way and
will keep electric bicycle advocates out of the mix.

Jobst Brandt      <>

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