Letter — Bureaucracy vs. Bicyclists
Thanks to both Doug Nurock and Hank Raymond for their recent letters pointing out what seems to be obvious to everyone except local transportation “planners.” I’m glad to have some allies in the battle against agency paralysis and sheer bureaucratic ineptitude that I’ve been waging locally for more than a decade. Despite TRPA’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan (BPMP) calling for the installation of cycling facilities whenever an opportunity exists such as with the current projects on Highway 50 in both Nevada and California, nothing of the sort is being done.
Why not? Why doesn’t the TRPA hold Caltrans and NDOTs’ feet to the fire and require them to add bike lanes to these projects?
That is the $329,000 question. Why $329,000? Because according to the figures from the Tribune’s recent, well-balanced look at the TRPA, that is the current, average annual salary range for their transportation division. This does not include the hundreds of thousands spent on outside consultants, studies etc. Multiply that over the past few decades and it makes you wonder what we got for all those buckets of OUR money spent on “transportation planning.”. With all that dough, do ya think we could have built some world class biking/pedestrian facilities (not to mention better automobile traffic flow)? I for one would very much like to see an independent, in-depth audit of the TRPA’s transportation division and why for all that money we still have increasing traffic congestion, outdated, incomplete bike paths/lanes and very few sidewalks.
I’m afraid the news just gets worse. At a recent meeting with city, Caltrans and TRPA transportation planners, I felt as though I was watching a version of the old “Who’s on First?” routine. The bottom line is that the Highway 50 project to install curbs, gutters sidewalks and bike lanes from the “Y” to Stateline which was slated (and thus supposedly funded) to start this summer, won’t happen until 2006 or 7 — at best! Why not? In short, lack of money despite the millions of OUR tax dollars that have been wasted on bureaucratic gridlock! When I pointed out that the TRPA’s BPMP showed a rash of bicycle and pedestrian accidents along that stretch, I was informed by the Caltrans district director that those figures did not meet the statutory criteria for the project being considered a safety issue (which would put the project on a fast track). My question of exactly how many people have to die there before this “officially” becomes a safety issue was not well received.
It looks as though we are just gonna have to suffer with the pathetic status quo in bicycle/pedestrian facilities for the forseeable future
1) The incoming TRPA director really cracks the whip to rectify this staggering incompetency. (Don’t hold your breath)
2) High ranking government officials take on the juggernaut of the TRPA and its failure to effectively address transportation issues.
3) We have cyclists and pedestrians willing to shed blood and die for the cause. Any volunteers?
South Lake Tahoe