Letters to the Editor

Think SLO residents will ditch their cars? You’re dreaming

A cyclist travels toward Cal Poly in the green bike lane along California Boulevard, which was added to increase safety for bicyclists.
A cyclist travels toward Cal Poly in the green bike lane along California Boulevard, which was added to increase safety for bicyclists. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

I have concerns regarding the optimistic, idealistic thinking and planning on the part of San Luis Obispo City Council and others that a growing city will somehow be spared L.A.-style gridlock because folks will be so frustrated with slow traffic and other impediments that they will switch to biking, walking or mass transit.

I lived in New York City for 12 years. I knew many people who had cars in Manhattan. Yes, it was a huge hassle (like moving your car three times per week), expensive and there was incredible congestion. But there were off-setting advantages.

Why have a personal motor vehicle? Convenience, ability to explore, ability to haul, ability to transport others (like children and elderly parents). The transportation, restaurant and entertainment economy of every California city — including San Francisco — is intimately tied to residents’ ability to self-transport distances quickly and economically.

Vehicle technology is rapidly evolving. Within a few years, even the quite elderly will be able to maintain their independent lifestyle due to already arriving auto-driving features.

Bottom line: Planning based on optimistic hikers, skateboarders and bikers scenarios rather than a realistic, highly mixed-modal assessment will contribute to even more street congestion in future SLO than would otherwise be the case.

Todd Katz, San Luis Obispo

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