Monday, April 21, 2008

EBRPD Hall of Shame, Part 2

(Fremont meeting this Thursday, Oakley this Saturday! Click here for times and places.)

The EBRPD insists that people on bicycles must be banned from public lands because they cause "serious damage to the natural resources, including erosion and loss of plant life."

This is false. As multiple controlled studies done by everyone from the USFS, to USC, to the University of Guelph, to our very own City of Oakland have shown, and as any experienced trail designer and maintainer can tell you, a person on a bicycle has similar impact to a person on foot, less impact than a horse, and many times less impact than any of the ranger or ranch trucks that always seem to be driving around in our parks -- not to mention the cattle and sheep that trample them daily. Any person who claims they are qualified to run a parks district should know this and be familiar with these studies, yet the EBRPD's Board of Directors continues to claim the opposite.

Here's a sadly typical photograph from Mission Peak. This is "trail maintenance" in the EBRPD's world. (Click pictures to see the damage at full-size.)

Here's a typical piece of EBRPD-maintained "trail", also in Mission Peak: a wide, loose, machine-churned mess.

For contrast, here's a bicycle-legal trail that the EBRPD does not control. Doesn't this look more fun to hike on, too?

All this would be merely comical if the EBRPD's segregationist policies didn't have the force of law. The EBRPD destroys trails in our public parkland with impunity, while they fine people over $300 for quietly riding a bicycle on that same trail.

(And sometimes they blame the destruction on bicycles! See Part 1 of the Hall of Shame.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The EBRPD's Fake "Checklist" Procedure

The EBRPD banned people on bicycles from their entire trail system overnight, unilaterally. Yet to regain access, they demand each individual section of trail go through a year-long process called the "Checklist".

This process is fake, and was created to give the appearance of listening to the 30% or so of the population that rides bicycles on dirt, while continuing to exclude us from our own public land. Here is the proof:

Over the last ten years, 40 trails have been requested for bicycle access under the Checklist process and its predecessors.
Of these requests, the EBRPD refused to consider 32, leaving just 8 trails to enter the process.
Of these 8 trails, they approved 4.
One has since been bulldozed to road width and is no longer a trail.
One is still not open to bicycle use years after being "approved."
This means that two trails, with a total length of under 1.5 miles, have been opened to people on 10 years.

There are 138 miles of narrow-gauge or singletrack trails on public land the EBRPD controls. At this rate, we will have equal access by the year 2994.

(Do you think this is too long to wait? So do we. Tell your EBRPD board representative that you oppose any renewal of Measure AA as long as people on bicycles are excluded from East Bay trails.)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Spreading The Word

Big ups to all the Oakland and Alameda bike shops that let us leave stacks of our information flyer for their customers today! None of us are experienced activists, so we don't really know if we're "doing it right"...but judging from the enthusiastic support we got all over town, there is a lot of pent-up resentment over the EBRPD's anti-bicycle bigotry, and a strong desire to do something about it.

The East Bay is big, though, and we need help. If your local bike shop doesn't have the flyers already (which it definitely won't if it's not in Oakland or Alameda), you can help by printing or copying a stack and dropping them off. The printable flyer is available here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

EBRPD Hall of Shame, Pleasanton Ridge Edition

Back in the winter of 2002-2003, someone in the EBRPD had the bright idea of "maintaining" Pleasanton Ridge trails with bulldozers and other heavy machinery during the middle of the rainy season. The result was predictable: a big, muddy, erosive, environmentally destructive mess. Check out the zig-zags in the middle, where the machine got stuck! (Click images to see them full-size.)

Here's a nice close-up of some high quality EBRPD trail work:

The ground was torn up so badly that they had to put straw down to cover the mud pits! Remember, these trails were mostly singletrack cow paths before the EBRPD's machines got there.

The herds of cattle didn't seem to mind so much...after all, they made the trails in the first place...

But wait a second. Let's take a closer look at that yellow sign. What might it mean?

It means "We've hugely screwed up our responsibility to public lands in a really obvious way. What do we do? Apologize? Restore some of the trails we destroyed? No, that's too much work. We'll BLAME BICYCLISTS! They FORCED us to run bulldozers through the mud! We'll call a news conference to tell everyone this, and then ban them from the public land that we have somehow got control of."

And that's exactly what the EBRPD did.

(All photos by "scooderdude" @ MTBR. Thanks!)

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are we? We are East Bay voters, taxpayers, and environmentalists. Sometimes we ride bicycles.

What do we want? We want equal access to trails in our parks and open space, and we oppose giving the EBRPD another $500 million in taxes and bonds as long as we are excluded. (This is "Measure WW", and it will be on the November ballot for residents of Alameda and Contra Costa counties.) If you want the longer explanation, read our flyer.

How can you help us? That's easy!

  • Read our flyer. (Note: we're in the middle of an update...pardon our dust.)
  • Write a letter to your EBRPD council member. If you haven't done this already, do it now.
  • Register to vote if you haven't already.
I've already done that, how can I do more?
  • Spread this website to your family, friends, and riding partners, or give them a flyer if they don't like dealing with the Internet.
  • Print and make copies of the flyer (double-sided, please, to save paper) and distribute them to local bike shops, cycling clubs, or anyplace else East Bay cyclists and voters congregate.
  • Help us make a nicer-looking website, better flyers, and so on. Got pictures of trails damaged by cows, horses, or EBRPD trucks, or fading away into invisibility because they're no longer used? Got more nutty stories of EBRPD mayhem? Are our facts wrong somewhere? Talk to us: info23 bettereastbayparks org
How can I contact you? info23 bettereastbayparks org

Thanks for your attention and support!