S.O.S. Arlington

Update #19: Councilman Mel LeBlanc announces opposition to bike plan Posted: Wednesday, December 08, 2010 10:22 AM

Howdy to all,

North Arlington’s City Council representative Mel LeBlanc spoke with us recently and told us that he opposes adding bike lanes to our streets.

Other Council members have also told us that they, too, oppose adding bike lanes to Arlington’s streets. We hope those Council members who remain undecided will arrive at a decision soon.

Both the street and bike plans have now been available for review for some time. We’ve had time to read both. Any interested party has had the same opportunity.

The citizens of Arlington should not be left in suspense as to where their Council representatives stand on this issue.

In the abstract, we can see how the idea of bike lanes on Arlington streets might have sounded good in the beginning. The reality, as revealed in the bike/street plans, is very different. For a variety of reasons—which we will continue to point out—any such plan will be a traffic congestion-creating, job-killing, tax-raising disaster for Arlington.

The bike plan itself drives home these very points. Once the Mayor and City Council see the damage this plan will do to Arlington, we think they will join the thousands of citizens who already oppose bike lanes on our streets.

Again, we find ourselves in agreement with Councilman LeBlanc.

While he opposes adding bike lanes to our streets, he also favors any part of the street plan that improves our street system.

Councilman LeBlanc likewise believes the parks system hike and bike trail plan is a good one and that it should be approved, provided all hike and bike trails are confined to parks and connecting off-road open spaces. The existing trails in our parks, together with anticipated improvements in the new parks hike and bike plan, more than accommodate the needs of recreational bikers.

An important point to keep in mind is that the current street and bike plans, while ostensibly separate, are actually so tightly intertwined that one cannot be separated from the other.

With that in mind, here are our recommendations:

1) The proposed street plan should be rejected because its main purpose is to accommodate the addition of bike lanes to Arlington streets. As soon as possible, and without the needless cost of an out-of-state consultant who knows nothing about our city, a new street plan should be drawn up by city staff, one that addresses our current and future street needs, and one the citizens of Arlington can support.

2) The proposed bike plan should be rejected and no further plan proposed. No bike plan, no matter how expensive, will produce a statistically meaningful increase in utilitarian biking (using a bike instead of a car) in Arlington.

We all know the bike plan is unpopular.

Informed voters oppose the bike plan by 95% or more.

Little wonder that no community leaders are speaking in favor of the bike plan.


Buddy Saunders
SOS Arlington Streets Committee
511 East Abram Street