The World’s Nuttiest Bike Lane NIMBYs Live in a San Diego Beach Community

Look at this visual cacophony long enough and it will induce a dizzying type of vertigo.

Think you’ve read about every possible NIMBY objection to bike lanes? Think again. These recent comments from a public meeting in San Diego’s affluent Coronado beach community are definitely, um, different.

At the meeting, city leaders were bombarded with objections — not about parking, traffic, or “scofflaws” on bikes, but about the “visual pollution” of painted stripes on the road. There’s just something about a bike lane stripe that aesthetically revolts these people in a way that, say, a dashed yellow center stripe never will.

Local news station says Coronado is a “haven for bicyclists” (the League of American Bicyclists named it a silver-level Bike Friendly Community in 2013). Apparently, it’s also a haven for world-class NIMBYs, as evidenced by these amazing comments captured by KPBS (we left off the names to be merciful):

  • “You are covering Coronado with paint stripe pollution.”
  • “The graffiti on the streets does not help our property values.”
  • The lanes “bring to mind a visual cacophony that if you look there long enough it will induce a dizzying type of vertigo.” [Editor’s note: This one wins!]
  • “These black streets with these brilliant white lines everywhere … believe me, it takes away from your home, from your outlook on life.”
  • “It’s very similar to personally taking all three of my daughters to a tattoo parlor and having them completely body tattooed.” [Editor’s note: Okay, maybe this one.]

Now that you’ve had a laugh, here comes the not-funny part: As a result of these ridiculous complaints, the City Council voted not to continue with a plan to add 12 miles of bike lanes. According to KPBS, from 2005 to 2013, bicyclists were struck by motor vehicle drivers more than 800 times in Coronado, resulting in 48 severe injuries and 7 fatalities.

35 thoughts on The World’s Nuttiest Bike Lane NIMBYs Live in a San Diego Beach Community

  1. Sadly hilarious.

    You might want to check this stat: “According to KPBS, from 2005 to 2013, bicyclists were struck by motor vehicle drivers more than 800 times in Coronado.”That would imply a bike-car crash every four days, which doesn’t sound quite right…Or does it?

  2. Painted white lines are a nuissance? Have I got the solution for you: concrete medians/barriers. You only need one concrete separator instead of two bright painted lines! The contrast is much more appealing. It’s just like the sidewalk! You’re welcome, Coronado.

  3. You may want to remove that very unnatural asphalt and have a meandering bike path. through a 12 mile long park. Sounds awesome. BAN CARS!

    But if you must have cars, i think something more natural like a dirt road would be better. Sand if you want to make it a bit more challenging. (beachside property anyone??)

  4. I don’t know, here in NYC we have some that would give them a run for their money. Who can forget Dorothy Rabinowitz’s complaint about the begriming of the city due to the totalitarian, all-powerful bicycle lobby? Or Delia Ephron’s feeling oh-so-blue over the color of the Citi bikes?

  5. I have kids, and I have no problem with a bike lane/separated bath between a parking lane and a sidewalk.

    Can you explain your objection further?

  6. Somehow I envision Rabinowitz shaking her clutched pearls when I read these. The only word missing is “begrimed.”

  7. I’m sure its right, although the vast majority would be minor, “only” 48 severe injuries and 7 fatalities, seems about the right ratio with 800. Of course, I said it earlier, these people are bad people. No two buts about it.

  8. There are several more elements to this which are even more deeply troubling. The first is that the reason Coronado staff recommended bike lanes on many of these residential streets is to help children who are riding to school. Coronado has a 70% rate of children who walk and bike to school. But it has the third highest per capita crash rate in the State of California for children walking and riding. As a result, city staff applied for and got funding from the state from the ‘Safe Routes to School’ funding program to make the streets safer.

    In addition, you can see that the city did extensive outreach to the various neighborhoods that would have bike lanes installed, and got overwhelming support for them last year:

    So, the fact that the mayor and various councilors are going against the wishes of a large segment of the population on the island, and deliberately making the streets less safe shows how a small, rich, politically motivated minority can completely upend what should be very common sense safety measures designed to protect the children of their community. But since kids don’t vote and don’t have money to donate to political campaigns, and wealthy oldsters do, their needs get shut out of the conversation.

  9. Crazies be crazy. You can’t fault crazy/stupid people for saying crazy/stupid things, but you can certainly fault officials for taking them seriously.

  10. I wouldn’t call them “bad” insomuch as “extremely sheltered”. One of the effects of suburbanism is that it spread elitism down to the middle class, so now people who can barely afford their mcmansions can act like they’re 1%ers. Applied to bike lanes, they don’t want their community touched period and they will make up any excuse to justify it.

    I mean, these are people (preemptively, boomers) who have lived their entire lives in suburbs. Most probably haven’t touched a bike since the 60s, back before they got their first car. They act like they do because the brave new world that has encroached on them is changing things, including adding bike lanes and pedestrians (things their parents did in the 20s and 30s). They can’t handle it when after 50+ years the street they live on suddenly changes a little bit.

  11. ¤ Since I live in San Francisco, I believe in reasonable moderate middle ground compromise for every occasion, in total yin/yang harmony, followed by a group hug. We get half the proposed bike lanes, and Darby Monger only needs to give one of her daughters a full-body tattoo and another one, a half-body tattoo. #FTFY

  12. About every 4-5 days it’s more like every day during summer and maybe once a week the rest of the year. Worked in a bike shop there fixed a lot of wheels and replaced a lot of bikes.

  13. I wonder if there was some “cherry picking” done here. Find the most ridiculous complaints and present them as “what the NIMBY’s saying”.

    Coronodo is flat and a great place to ride a bicycle. I just happen to notice the photo is of a very wide street that can easily accommodate bike lanes. Many residential streets are not as WIDE.

    I wonder if the major complaints were:
    – 4 lane streets were reduced to 2 lane streets.
    – Onstreet parking would be eliminated on my street.
    – The street isn’t wide enough to support bike lanes and car lanes.

    I believe these are more likely to be the main objections.

  14. Coronado is flat, so I am sure they have lots of bicycle riders. More riders, more collisions.

    The local news said that pedestrians and bicycle riders comprise a majority of traffic accidents in San Diego county. I wonder how often the pedestrians and

    Texting drivers are the new “drunk drivers”.

    Most pedestrians don’t know it is illegal to step in front of traffic if it would force the driver to make an unsafe sudden stop.

    Most pedestrians think “the law says I have the right of way, I’m bullet proof, I don’t even need to look both ways before crossing.”

    Many bicycle riders treat stop signs / stop lights as Yield signs.

    Most drivers and bicycle riders don’t know the rules for making right hand turns. Cars are suppose to move into the bike lane, avoiding cutting off the bicycle rider at the corner.

  15. The picture is the standard street in Coronado. There are no four-lane streets to reduce, no parking is being eliminated, and all of the streets where lanes were to be added can support them.

  16. Coronado was fortunate to have mostly wide streets.
    Orange Ave (75) is two lanes in each direction, but already has a separate bike lane.

  17. Car doors are a danger. Put bike lanes on either side of the car, there is the danger of a car door being opened.
    IMHO, it is safer to have the bike path on the driver side, because drivers think to look for oncoming cars. Passengers just swing the door open.

  18. Sorry, I should have said they aren’t planning to put a bike lane on Orange, the only four-lane street in town. It doesn’t have any bike lanes currently, but it isn’t a good candidate for one. They aren’t going to reduce it and putting lanes on it would not be safe. The bike path comes in down the strand and circles around the golf course.

  19. As I said before, Coronado is a great place for bike paths due to the level land.

    I was just wondering if some of the off the wall comments were cherry picked. (Journalists do like wild headlines.)

    One of the issues with streets in the San Francisco Bay Area is they are not very wide. People get concerned about parking and making narrow streets even more narrow.

  20. Certainly they were cherry-picked, because they were completely ridiculous. Most of the other concerns were with too many streets getting markings and your garden-variety “not on MY street” types. In Coronado we mostly get those. No one ever wants anything by their own house and they are all scared that anything we do will encourage more tourists. I would guess, however, that most of us support increased safety measures.

  21. IMHO, it is safer to have the bike path on the driver side, because drivers think to look for oncoming cars. Passengers just swing the door open.

    On the other hand, every occupied car has a driver while only some have passengers, so cyclists have less exposure to risk on the passenger side. Also, I’m not so sure that drivers are any better than passengers at remembering to look for cyclists (perhaps this varies somewhat by location?).

  22. Yes, every car has driver, and it is not certain they will look. Drivers, typically are over 16, while passengers can be almost any age.

    My experience is passengers don’t look and don’t know how far the door swings. My kids were ready to open the passenger door as the car slowed, like they were going to make a running exit. (I sounded like a Disney ride attendant, “Please wait for the car to make a full stop before exiting.”)

    Most door dents from parking lots are on the driver side of the car from passengers in the next car letting the door swing open.

    Bike lanes on placed on either side of the car parking have been in use for a while. Not long ago was a story about a bike rider getting “snagged” by a passenger opening a car door in New York City. It was a bad crash.

  23. You don’t have children = you need a car to take your children everywhere, and therefore if you had children you would be against bicycling facilities.

    At least, that’s my guess as to what Jeff meant.

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