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Spring’s Fresh Start

March 19, 2009

Astrology.com reminds us, “On March 19-20 (depending on your time zone),the Sun enters Aries — the first sign of the zodiac — ushering in the Astrological New Year according to tropical astrology. This marks the Spring Equinox for those of us above the equator, and the Fall Equinox for those below. Whichever side of the planet you’re on, this is the time to embark upon a new journey. Aries is equated with fire and all ‘fiery’ attributes — vigor, aggressiveness, and unbridled passion. Harness these emotions and prepare for a cathartic Spring cleaning — both literally and figuratively.”

What better place to start on your new journey than by cleaning up your BIKE and going for a ride? And by making better riding a reality!

We’ve been calling attention to how much fun it is to ride with our monthly events First Friday ArtRide events, and there’s a move afoot to develop a non-profit Bike Coop and Bike Kitchen on Ventura’s Westside.

The Bike Pod advocacy arm of VCCOOL has been gathering comments about transit issues (due Friday March 20), and has posted a simple online public-comment form at http://www.vccool.org that you can send direct to VCTC with a click. So, get online and speak your mind before Friday.  Rachel Morris’s opinion essay for the Ventura County Star outlines why. Here’s an excerpt:

You can buy healthy food at Lassen’s or Trader Joes, but if you try to bicycle there, you may not live long enough for it to matter. Statistics show pedestrians are as at-risk of injuries from automobiles as bicyclists are.

The Ventura County Transportation Commission manages the budget for much of our transportation dollars (including roads, buses, bikes, etc.). The California Department of Transportation also allocates funds. Some road-improvement funds bypass these organizations. Decision-making is also done by city councils and county supervisors. Some bus lines apply for additional funding.

So, who is paying for our auto-centric transit system with its handful of buses and trains and a “good luck!” attitude toward cyclists and pedestrians? The majority of transportation funds comes from gasoline sales tax, with a hefty amount coming in from general sales tax, and a third small piece from bus/train fares.

Roads and highways take the lion’s share of the funding, but public transit receives a sizable chunk. Tellingly, bikeway improvements tend to be lumped in with pedestrian needs — the sum total which accounts for a tiny fraction of the budget.

Ventura County has no transportation sales tax. Unlike our neighbors, we are totally dependent on fickle, dwindling state and federal funds. Without our own half- or 1-cent transit sales tax, we lose out on tens of millions of additional state and federal dollars that require as low as 15 percent matching funds. We don’t qualify for loans for quick project completion. We’re having a tough time just treading water. Neighboring counties’ transit sales tax has resulted in their safe bike routes, convenient bus schedules, massive train systems and a more stable budget.

So where do we go from here? Well, we can keep driving, quash any county transit sales tax initiative, be a sitting duck to gas-price spikes and budget cuts, and wait till 2012 when the California Global Warming Solutions Act bites us in the duffle bag.

VCTC is taking public input on “unmet transit needs” (due by Friday), and the overall transit budget. How about we all tell the commission that we need safe bike routes and more frequent buses to start replacing expensive car infrastructure?

VCCool has posted a simple online public-comment form at http://www.vccool.org that you can send direct to VCTC with a click. So, get online and speak your mind before Friday!

Raise awareness by talking with friends about the transit sales-tax issue. Talk to your City Council members. Just adding one bus or train trip a month would have amazing results! And could your kids bike to school? Be sure to vote on transit issues and transit-friendly electeds! Bike- and bus-friendly cities don’t get that way overnight. It’s time Ventura County started laying groundwork for a clean, new way to go.

I hope you will participate by using the simple online public-comment form at http://www.vccool.org that you can send direct to VCTC with a click. So, get online and speak your mind before Friday! I look forward to seeing you on the bike paths around town and on next month’s First Friday ArtRide–the Bunny Hop April 3 around the beach promenade and  to galleries!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2009 11:35 pm

    Ah, Spring! Well, since we’re still renovatin’ the abode, I suppose that’s the ultimate spring clean… yes, love that fresh new adventure.

    And one of these days I’ll be down in Ventucky for your ArtBikeRide.

    Have you ever heard of Velo-City? I have no idea what became of it, but it was an architect’s proposal for “a network of elevated bike trails – glass tunnels soaring above Toronto, in a “dynamic air circulation loop” – that would allow city residents to travel by bicycle at speeds of up to 40kph.”

    I love the picture of it:

    http://www.velo-city.ca/MainFrameset.html

  2. March 19, 2009 11:36 pm

    oops… click on “images” – that link goes to the text.

  3. April 4, 2009 1:58 pm

    Great site this artpredator.wordpress.com and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor :)

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