Petition to Raja Sethuraman, Jennifer Rosales, Michael Sampson
Support biking and walking infrastructure in Costa Mesa
We, the undersigned, would like to express our support for the proposed new and improved active transportation infrastructure contained in the City of Costa Mesa’s draft Bikeway and Walkability Active Transportation Plan. Bicycling and walking are great ways for people to get exercise, to commute to work, to run errands, to visit friends, or just to spend time together. But people won’t bike and walk unless they feel safe, and a lot of streets in Costa Mesa aren’t currently safe for people who use active transportation. Cyclists are frequently forced to ride on roads where cars zip by at 50 miles per hour while a thin strip of paint (if they’re lucky) protects them from cars. And walkers don’t fare much better: multiple major streets in the city lack sidewalks on one side, curb cuts are lacking at many intersections, impatient drivers turn without looking, and sidewalks are cluttered with obstructions that make navigating strollers or wheelchairs difficult. We can do better as a city! And we have done better: the new multiuse paths along Harbor Boulevard (the Joann Street Trail and Harbor Cornerstone Trail) are excellent examples of what active transportation infrastructure can be. They’re beautiful, functional spaces that make Harbor Boulevard better for drivers and safer for cyclists and walkers. Given the success of the Harbor Boulevard trails, we ask that the city create as many new protected bicycle and walking paths as possible, as these facilities promote walking, bicycling, and other forms of active transportation better than any other type of facility. Protected off-street paths allow people of all ages and skill levels to walk and bike safely, free from traffic. We are specifically in favor of extending the Class I Tanager Bike Path from Golf Course Drive to Fairview Park, to allow cyclists and walkers to circumnavigate the golf course and developmental center completely off streets; the Paularino Channel Trail, which will allow people to travel along the existing flood control channel between Pinecreek Drive and Bristol (parallel to Baker); and the 19th Street connection to the Santa Ana River Trail, which will give residents of Westside Costa Mesa safer access to the river trail and its many destinations. A common concern of homeowners near proposed new cycling paths is that the paths will decrease property values and attract crime. In fact, well-designed multiuse pathways have been shown to raise property values and decrease crime. For instance: A 2006 study by the University of Delaware concludes “The majority of studies examined indicate that the presence of a bike path/trail either increases property values and ease of sale slightly or has no effect.” A 2006 report for the Rail Trail Conversion Advisory Committee in Massachusetts analyzed home sales in seven towns with multiuse trails, and found that “homes near these rail trails sold at 99.3% of the list price as compared to 98.1% of the list price for other homes sold in these towns … these homes sold in an average of 29.3 days as compared to 50.4 days for other homes.” A 2002 study of recent home buyers showed that walking/jogging/bike trails were the second-most desireable community amenity (after “highway access”) for home buyers. A 1998 report by the Rails to Trails Conservancy found that “Four separate studies conducted between 1979 and 1997 concluded that rail-trails do not increase crime,” including a report from a trail in Seattle that “the rate of vandalism and break-ins to adjacent property was well below the neighborhood average.” Well-designed trails attract a positive element to neighborhoods by encouraging families and neighbors to enjoy open spaces. To address concerns about crime, we are in favor of creating and enforcing no loitering and no camping laws with regular police and/or citizen patrols. We could also explore innovative solutions, such as the North Augusta Public Safety Department's integration of their city’s trails into police officers’ physical fitness training, thus adding a regular police presence to the trails at no extra cost (discussed on pg. 12 of the Rails to Trails Conservancy Report). We ask that, where it’s not feasible to build protected multiuse paths, the city install bike lanes and traffic-calmed bicycle boulevards wherever possible, to make roads safer for people who use active transportation. We ask that the city improve the walking infrastructure to add sidewalks, reduce sidewalk obstructions, increase the width of sidewalks, add curb cuts, and implement other safety measures wherever possible. Making these improvements to the city’s active transportation infrastructure will improve the quality of life for all of Costa Mesa’s residents. These improvements will make Costa Mesa more attractive to families with children: it will be easier for children to get to school safely, and it will be easier for families to bike or walk together without worrying about their children being hit by a car. It will be easier for OCC students to get to their classes. It will be safer for bicycle commuters on their way to work. It will be easier for people to bike and walk to neighborhood businesses. It will increase the property value of homes near these beautiful new paths. It will encourage residents to bike and walk, increasing the health of our community. It will even make things better for drivers, as they won’t have to worry as much about bicyclists and walkers impeding their trips. We ask that the Costa Mesa Bikeway and Walkability Committee and the other city bodies involved in approving the draft Active Transportation Plan take advantage of this opportunity to improve Costa Mesa for years to come!
Petition to Mitchell J. Silver, Bill de Blasio, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Douglas Blonsky, MARK LEVINE
Create safe pathways for Central Park's visitors by using arches to separate pedestrian and cyclist traffic flows
Every year, Central Park has over 42 million visitors. This beloved park offers city residents and tourists alike great expanses and intimate spaces of peace and tranquility, seemingly far away from the hustle and bustle of the New York yet right in its center. Despite this tranquility, the park's crosswalks and pathways are bustling with life: a moving patchwork of pedestrians, vendors, emergency vehicles and bicyclists all precariously close to one another. These crossing, where little separation exists between vehicular and pedestrian traffic, are too often the scene of accidents and ‘close calls.' During the second half of 2014 we even lost the lives of two pedestrians in Central Park bicycle collisions. Absent further action, accidents such as these are bound to become more and more common with the continued adoption of bicycle transportation within New York City. It is our responsibility as citizens and legislators alike to create safer pathways for both pedestrians and cyclists. Fortunately, this can be done in a way that can allow ease of travel while maintaining original charm and function of the park. Central Park's arches were originally intended to serve both an aesthetic purpose in maintaining the park’s beauty as well as a functional purpose in separating pedestrians from carriage traffic. In modern times, roadways were simplified and crosswalks were favored to the infallible and more elegant arch. We ask the government of New York City to restore arches created then later destroyed by the park’s original architects, Frederic Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux and to amend pathways that were simplified nullifying the intention of arches which still exist. Placing these arches at the park's most dangerous intersections will not only create safer crossings but allow us to pay respect to the original and groundbreaking design of the park; maintaining the timeless and seamless beauty of a space beloved by millions while allowing for both the casual stroll and faster bicycle ride without fear of danger or injury effectively siphoning bicycle and pedestrian traffic into two uninterrupted corridors. Caught at a crossroads where ‘looking back’ can actually enhance the future, reclaiming and utilizing original park arch designs allow us to maintain the significance, scope and beauty of the park while averting traffic congestion and disasters which, if not addressed, can and will lead to frustration and unfortunate injury. Let’s keep Central Park beautiful and safe.
Petition to Tom Nolan
Keep the loop! Preserve parking, biking, and hiking all the way 'round Twin Peaks!
I love San Francisco's Twin Peaks, and I love to bicycle all the way around the figure 8 loop up there, and take in the beautiful city and ocean views. Unfortunately, there’s a plan ("Twin Peaks Figure 8 Pilot Redesign") to change the traffic flow at the top of Twin Peaks in a way that: · would make it much more dangerous to bike, run, or walk around the entire figure 8 loop, · make it considerably more dangerous to drive over Twin Peaks, · eliminate all parking around the figure 8, · create bigger and more frequent traffic jams on Twin Peaks, · create big problems for tour bus operators, · and hamper emergency vehicle access to and over Twin Peaks. See the plan description here: http://sfrecpark.org/twin-peaks-figure-8-pilot-redesign/ The plan will make it more dangerous for drivers as well as cyclists, runners, and walkers, as drivers distracted by the view pass one another in opposite directions around the sharp, blind curve on the west side of the north peak. Imagine what it would be like to be walking or cycling there when a tour bus is passing you with a car coming in the opposite direction. Or what about when two tour buses are passing one another? It doesn’t sound pretty to me, and the probability of a head-on collision around that blind curve will go up a huge amount. Add to that motorists leaving their lane to dodge the rocks that regularly fall on the road at that curve and the frequent dense fog, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. The proposed redesign would also be a major problem for tour bus drivers because even now, traffic at the parking lot at the overlook frequently gets backed up to a stop. Without parking around the figure 8, that situation would be much worse, and the number of cars parking illegally in the tour bus spaces would increase substantially. Bus drivers that can now continue around the loop or sometimes even park along the figure 8 would be unable to do so. In fact, bus drivers would be completely stuck, because they are legally prohibited from going down the north side of the hill, and would not have enough room to turn their buses around to travel down to Portola. That means terrible traffic jams, tourists stuck in buses and possibly missing other activities or flights at the airport later in the day, etc. Also, many stuck cars will travel down the north road and turn around in resident’s driveways. The plan is a "solution" for a problem that doesn't exist. Twin Peaks is one of the safest places to bicycle in San Francisco. To increase safety even further, the City could paint large one-way arrows in both traffic lanes to let drivers know that they can use both lanes to give cyclists and walkers even more room when they pass. They could paint clearly defined crosswalks to make it easier and safer for hikers on the trails to cross the road. And they could also paint a wide white line 4 – 6 feet away from the edge of the pavement all the way around the figure 8 loop to provide a marked area for walkers, runners, and hikers. If enough people who actually use Twin Peaks sign this petition, the SFMTA will change the plan, and preserve safe access for cycling, running, and hiking around the loop, and parking for visitors who want to enjoy a beautiful sunset on a warm weekend evening. I attended and testified at the most recent hearing before the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority) on 3/4/16, and almost everyone who testified was opposed to this plan. I plan to testify again at the upcoming meeting on this proposal: SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 1:00 pm (subject to change*) San Francisco City Hall, Room 400 firstname.lastname@example.org *To confirm: https://www.sfmta.com/projects-planning/projects/twin-peaks-figure-8-redesign-project I sent an email opposed to this plan, and I hope you will too. Send your emails to: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com Thanks! Jeff San Francisco resident, homeowner, and voter. Suggested email: Hello. I’m writing to express my views on the proposed redesign for traffic flows on top of Twin Peaks. I cycle, run, or walk at the top of Twin Peaks, and I greatly value the ability to go all the way around the figure 8 with two lanes of traffic going in the same direction. Because there are two lanes of traffic in the same direction, and the traffic volume is usually low, it gives the cars plenty of room to easily pass bicycles, runners, and walkers. It’s actually one of the best, and safest, places to bicycle in San Francisco. Being able to do loops all the way around and take in the views on both sides of the peaks is a big plus. I’m concerned that the new head-on two-way traffic flow would make looping around the full figure 8 much more dangerous for cyclists, runners, walkers, and drivers. With two lanes of traffic going in opposite directions, conflicts with cars and tour buses attempting to stay in their single lane would make cycling or walking on that side far more dangerous. The probability of head-on collisions between cars and between cars and tour buses would also substantially increase. The current situation seems to be working fine for everyone. There are many bicyclists who do the whole loop. And most hikers and runners do the loop on the wide shoulder of the road. Another significant drawback to the proposed plan is that on weekends and at sunset there are many cars parked up there along the guard wall, and this plan would eliminate the available parking along the wall. It would be a significant loss to eliminate that option for the many, many people who go up there to enjoy the view. In summary, I strongly oppose the proposed redesign. It seems to be attempting to “solve” a problem that doesn’t exist. Please don’t change the two lanes of traffic in a single direction looping around both peaks. Thank you.
Petition to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Keith Weaver, Scott E. Bennett
Save the historic Big White River Bridge!
What We're Trying To Do and Why: The Friends of the Historic White River Bridge at Clarendon is a 501(c)3 non-profit that came together in 2014 around the cause of saving the historic Big White River Bridge for two reasons: It is a national treasure (listed on the National Register of Historic Places maintained by the U.S. Department of Interior), a gorgeous landmark worthy of preservation (see video) It will play a vital role as part of a larger effort to develop outdoor and eco-tourism in the Arkansas Delta, a region that is simultaneously one of the most beautiful and the most poor in the United States. Specifically, our mission is to adapt the historic bridge for use by cyclists, hikers, pedestrians, and wildlife / bird watchers, so that it can serve as a vehicle for tourism-based economic development in the Arkansas Delta. If successful, the converted bridge will be one of the longest and most scenic pedestrian and cycling bridges in the United States, as well as one of the longest elevated bird viewing platforms in the world, complete with spectacular viewing afforded by the Mississippi Flyway of migratory birds which hourglasses to its narrowest point in this area. What We've Done So Far: With the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department on the verge of letting bids to demolish the bridge (in fulfillment of an agreement made with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that enabled them to build the vehicle bridge that replaced the historic bridge), the Friends of the White River Bridge filed suit. What We're Asking: All we are asking is that these agencies conduct the proper studies and analyses to ascertain whether the destruction of this magnificent landmark serves a greater good or would be a tragic mistake based on outdated and/or incomplete information. [See "The Details" section at the very bottom if you want the full scoop] Specifically, we are petitioning the following agencies to take the following actions to ensure this vital decision is made with the best possible information in hand: ITEM 1: Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department (AHTD): Commit to the preservation of the entirety of the historic White River Bridge (per the provisions of USC Title 23, Chapter 1, Section 144(g) and the Arkansas Historic Bridge program) – including the still extant western and eastern approaches – should either of the following occur: AHTD is relieved of its obligation to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to demolish the bridge, OR... AHTD learns after conducting the proper study on the impact of the demolition of the bridge on bicycling that a sufficiently negative impact will result ITEM 2: Cache River National Wildlife Refuge / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Commit to release AHTD of its obligation to the demolish the historic White River Bridge should either of the following occur: An updated hydrological study reveals that the demolition of the historic Bridge is not ecologically necessary, OR... It is determined by a proper study and analysis that the demolition and removal of the historic Bridge may negatively affect the threatened Rabbitsfoot mussel or its designated critical habitat Bottom Line: Given the tremendous enthusiasm for saving the historic bridge, the irreparable harm that would come from its destruction, the enormous potential upside to the region if the bridge is adapted as planned, and the lack of any urgent need to demolish the bridge, we ask that the relevant agencies simply take their time, conduct the proper studies with an open mind, and make every reasonable effort to accommodate those who wish to preserve this magnificent structure and enable it to enrich the lives of all who encounter it. ===========================================OPTIONAL READING: The Details: The basis of our case is built on three arguments, all of which have merit: Change of Circumstances: Hydrology – The argument for removing the bridge is primarily based on an outdated and obsolete hydrology study conducted in 2003. As part of construction on the new bridge, a lengthy berm (which was highlighted in the original study as the primary cause of water flow concerns) was removed. Our position is that the removal of the berm has created such a substantial change in water flows that a new hydrology study is required. If the problems that demolishing the bridge were intended to solve have already been solved, there's no reason to move forward. The U.S. Geological Survey, who did the original hydrology study, has indicated that a new study would make sense. Change of Circumstances: Endangered Species – The Rabbitsfoot mussel, which occupies the White River, was listed as a threatened species in 2013. In 2015, the area in the vicinity of the historic bridge was designated as critical habitat for the Rabbitsfoot mussel. When the plans were originally made to demolish the historic bridge after constructing the new one, these environmental issues were not considered. A quick subsequent study was done, but it is our contention that this study was inadequate. Violation of State Law: Impact on Bicycling Was Not Considered – Ten years ago when the Highway Department considered alternatives to tearing the bridge down, it never considered the impact on bicycles even though Arkansas law required it to do so. So not only should this obligation be fulfilled, but given the growth in bicycling regionally and nationally, revisiting this crucial obligation is simply the right thing to do.