Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The EBRPD Wants to Talk to You, on July 29th

The EBRPD has invited the mountain biking community to discuss "issues of mutual interest" on Tuesday July 29, 2008, from 7 PM to 9 PM! This is great news, because it means that your letters are having an effect, and that we are being taken seriously. Thanks to everyone who's written letters so far: click on the flyer for instructions if you haven't written one already.

Meeting place: the Trudeau Center, 11500 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, CA, 94619
Click here for a map -- it's just past JMP on Skyline.

(The "issue of mutual interest" is obvious: they want the $500 million dollars of taxpayer money that a Measure AA extension would give them, and are afraid that we will vote it down unless they placate us somehow.)

Our position remains the same: equal access for people on bicycles. New "trail access procedures" are unacceptable: hikers and horses require no "trail access procedures" to enjoy their own parks. Partial access is unacceptable: we are the second largest group of EBRPD park users, and deserve to be treated as such. Promises of future access are unacceptable: we've had ten years of promises that, like the "Checklist", use up all our time and energy and never actually give us anything.

The EBRPD could take all the "No Bikes" signs down in a day if they really wanted to, and it wouldn't cost them a thing. Then we could spend our energy building and maintaining trails for everyone to use, instead of wasting it in battles with their bureaucracy. Everyone wins!

Please be calm and courteous at this meeting -- but be firm.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The EBRPD's fundamental policy problem

Since the EBRPD closed East Ridge without providing any alternate route for people on bicycles to complete the single legal ride in the park, they've received a lot of justifiably angry letters. Their response?

Quote: "Although some day riders will be affected, the majority of riders can still complete the loop after 5pm and on weekends. We do have other options at Anthony Chabot which is just a few miles away."

[In summary, "Too bad...sucks to be you."]

Quote: "We are not able to open up trails to bikes without a thorough review process and approval from our board of directors."

This response highlights the fundamental policy problem: The EBRPD assumes that hikers and horses are legitimate park users, and that any impact they have, no matter how substantial, is acceptable. Any restriction on hikers and horses is viewed as a special case.

In contrast, the EBRPD assumes that people on bicycles are not legitimate park users, that any impact they have (even though it's substantially less than horses and roughly equal to hikers) is unacceptable, and that allowing cyclists to use any part of their own parks is a special, exceptional privilege requiring approval at the highest possible level.

This policy must change. Bicycling is a low-impact, human-powered, environmentally sound way for people to explore their parklands and open space, and as such, people on bicycles deserve no less than equal treatment and equal access.

Until then, the EBRPD doesn't deserve our support -- or our money. No "Measure AA extension!"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

EBRPD gives bicyclists the middle finger yet again

Here's the EBRPD's latest insult to bicycle riders, their second-largest user group:

"The following trails will be closed weekdays only, beginning as soon as Tuesday, July 15, and lasting possibly through September, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a hazardous tree and fuel mitigation project: Phillips’ Loop, Eucalyptus Trail, and East Ridge Trail between Skyline Gate and Prince Trail. Equestrians and hikers may use Stream and Prince trails to bypass the project zone. Bicyclists will not be able to bypass the project zone and will need to turn around at the junction of East Ridge and Prince trails."

For those who don't know Redwood Regional Park well, the only legal bicycle ride in the park is a loop of East Ridge and West Ridge -- both wide, dusty fire roads. Meanwhile, hikers, dogs, and 1000-pound horses can use all the beautiful, narrow-gauge trails throughout the entire park. (You can see the map here.)

With this trail closure, the EBRPD has blocked bicycle riders from the only legal ride in the park. As is usual in the EBRPD, horses and hikers get a detour...but bicyclists just get a middle finger. Did you think you were almost done with your ride? Out of water? Too bad! Turn around and do your entire ride again, but in reverse.

The EBRPD continues to make it clear that once you get on a bicycle, they view you as a second-class citizen that doesn't deserve to use your own public lands. This is why we oppose giving the EBRPD any more money until people on bicycles have the same access to their own parkland as people on horses or people on foot.