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Letters to the editor
March 12, 2009, 12:00 AM
Keep bike lanes on Alameda de las Pulgas


To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, "All users are equal, but automobiles are more equal,” is simply self-serving, selfish and egregiously outlandish.

The action to bring routine accommodation to pedestrians and cyclists on the Alameda de las Pulgas was, and remains to be, a bold and courageous undertaking by the city of Belmont which underlines the principle that the streets belong to all of us ("Road sparks two city controversy” in the March 9 edition of the Daily Journal).

Alameda de las Pulgas is recognized as a major bikeway link in the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Bike Plan as well as the San Mateo County Bicycle Plan. The entire Belmont section of Alameda de las Pulgas could become a Safe Route to School if automotive traffic was greatly reduced in the morning school drop-off hours. This could be accomplished by reducing the speed limit to 25 mph which would further inconvenience parental chauffeurs to the extent that they might consider having their teen-agers use the Samtrans bus service. And by eliminating the risks imposed by their own vehicles, they might encourage their kids to use the bike lanes. Eliminate the diagonal parking in front of the high school and one more danger disappears. There is no other on-street parking allowed on Alameda de las Pulgas within city limits.  

I urge Belmont to keep the bike lanes that are installed on the Alameda de las Pulgas and to not back down to arguments that favor convenience over common sense, common courtesy and sustainable conservation.

Pat Giorni


Belmont bicycle lanes help environment and children


The uproar over Belmont’s new bike lanes on Alameda de las Pulgas clearly shows our dependence upon automobiles and the difficulty in effecting change. It demonstrates how one city’s decision can affect neighboring municipalities; how increased population growth and density impacts traffic congestion miles away in adjacent cities; and how neighborhood streets suddenly become major thoroughfares with traffic levels exceeding projections.

While we all talk about reducing oil dependence, reliance on foreign oil sources, air pollution, greenhouse gas emission reduction and traffic congestion relief, we also encourage more active and healthy lifestyles. Belmont city officials have taken a boldly courageous political risk to do more by offering a transportation alternative, which includes bicycle use. If the hard choices are not made now, our kids will be paying the price later.

If Belmont is successful in getting its high school students to bike, walk or take Samtrans, instead of driving or being driven to school, hundreds of cars could be removed from this road. That would bring the multiple benefits of reduced traffic congestion, reduced oil use, reduced pollution and the production of healthier, more active kids. Belmont officials should be praised for their brave effort to address these issues. It wasn’t an easy or cavalier decision to recognize that first steps had to be taken, and the city stepped up to the task.

Steve Vanderlip

San Mateo

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