Mayor Gloria and Bike Extremists Are Blind to Disabled Drivers and Elders Needs

by on May 5, 2022 · 32 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

by Kent Rodricks/ Times of San Diego / May 1, 2022

Times of San Diego recently published a piece announcing the opening of the new Landis Bikeway without asking basic questions or challenging the bike utopian orthodoxy championed by Mayor Todd Gloria and his bike extremist minions.

How many bikers will actually utilize this bikeway? How will it impact residents? What about the decreased number of parking spaces? How will less parking affect the ability of disabled drivers to park close to their destinations? Will they be forced to ambulate longer distances?

These are all important questions that a lot of people are asking.

I speak for the majority when I say there’s no universal love and acceptance of bike lanes that are empty most of the time. In fact, I see more cars parked in bike lanes than bicyclists riding their bikes. And regardless of what city officials say publicly, nobody commutes on a bicycle.

But no matter. The city of San Diego continues to build bike lanes despite the fact that over 90% of us drive cars. Parking loss harms businesses, eliminates accessibility and mobility choices for disabled drivers, many of whom are elderly, slows response times of emergency vehicles and snarls traffic, which results in more greenhouse gas emissions, not less.

But the politicians are hell-bent on removing parking spaces to pocket campaign cash from local vocal special interest groups of bikers and corporate donors.

If the city and county agencies like SANDAG, responsible for making transportation decisions, are making it more difficult for disabled drivers to find close proximity parking, and they have, isn’t it fair and reasonable for those of us adversely affected to say those officials are doing a very poor job?

In 2019, when I was a paid ADA advisor at SANDAG, which is run by bike extremists, any time I mentioned the lack of disabled parking or the removal of existing disabled parking spaces, I was told I was being “negative.”

As a disabled driver, what concerns me is the lack of consideration given the disabled and the elderly — those of us who cannot walk long distances. We require close proximity parking.

But the city has “relocated” many disabled parking spaces, creating longer walks for those of us with limited mobility, in favor of bike lanes for the able-bodied and physically fit.

Why is San Diego discriminating and excluding disabled drivers with hostile anti-parking policies?

You never hear bike-advocating city officials like Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespeare or Gloria or any other politicians, past or present, mention disabled drivers because there’s no money in it for them.

Nobody is advocating for the rights of the disabled. There is the federal law called the Americans with Disabilities Act, so it’s assumed some lawyer somewhere is making sure the basic tenets of the law are being implemented and monitored.

You’d think that would be the case, but no.

The mayor’s Office of ADA Compliance and Accessibility is constantly ignored and overruled by the Transportation Department, a bunch of bike extremists, who think that disabled people don’t have social lives so we don’t need parking spaces. While the politicians are busy virtue signaling about “equity,” they ignore federal law in transportation planning by failing to put the needs of the disabled first.

This demonstrably false statement from SANDAG chair Blakespeare is laughable:

“The completion of the Landis Bikeway demonstrates how the SANDAG Regional Bike Plan will create real transportation choices for everyone in the San Diego region.”

Everyone? Except disabled drivers.

I’m also bothered that the bike lanes, reconfigured streets and “advisory bike lanes” are ideas copied and pasted from other cities. They are not ideas curated by local officials for the benefit of our city. San Diego is not Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Ottawa.

I was optimistic when I heard the city had hired Jorge Riveros as transportation director, thinking new eyeballs on San Diego’s unmitigated disaster of “reconfigured streets” and “protected bike lanes” needs a serious and thoughtful reboot to reflect the needs of all San Diegans, not just for a small few with connections to City Hall.

But no — Riveros was hired specifically to ignore reality and build MORE bike lanes, not to make transportation work.

Let me return to my original point: What the city is currently doing in the name of “transportation” isn’t working. Why are there so many bike lanes downtown if so few use them? Why invest in more transit that most people refuse to ride? Why isn’t taxpayer money being spent on housing the homeless and repairing potholes all across town?

One wonders why there isn’t more public outrage over parking spaces lost downtown, in North Park, in the Mid-Cities, in North County? Why aren’t city taxpayers fighting back and punching up like the Mira Mesa residents on Gold Coast Drive in the wake of the ridiculous “advisory bike lane” fiasco?

This was such a public relations nightmare that Gloria was forced to restripe the street and wave the white flag of surrender in this one case, even though he doesn’t care since he’s owned by the special interests #ForAllOfUs as he’s fond of saying.

All of the above is factual and true. Yet the insanity continues. A new day, more new bike lanes. Is Park Boulevard the next major thoroughfare to be ruined by the bike extremists and their precious, unused bike lanes?

Kent Rodricks is an award-winning screenwriter, actor and disabled parking activist. Standing 3-feet-11-inche tall, he has the congenital brittle bone disease osteogenesis imperfecta, congestive heart failure and chronic respiratory failure. He can be found on social media @KentRodricks and with the hashtag #DisabledSD

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Carl M Zanolli May 5, 2022 at 11:19 am

Enough time has passed to be able to know these bike lanes have turned out to be a huge disaster because no one uses them. Not here in Hillcrest. They just collect a lot of garbage because street cleaning vehicles can’t get in there. Not even the electric scooters! And they can use bike lanes. [CVC §2130]

A well-intentioned idea that turned out to be an epic bust. So much capital outlay went into building them the City is probably not inclined to act with any alacrity to remove them. Instead make a lot of excuses for keeping them.


Will May 7, 2022 at 8:17 am

“Nobody uses them” might be a bit of a stretch being as I occasionally use the bike lanes myself. I plan on getting an ebike soon to ride with my 2-year-old daughter. I also use the 35 bus occasionally and drive a car. It is pleasant, easier, and better for the planet to avoid car usage when possible.


Chris May 8, 2022 at 11:45 am

Well the author of this piece say nobody “commutes” by bike but yes that’s also a stretch. Many people do in fact use the lanes even if not commuting. What all these “nobody uses them” advocates overlook is that the intended purpose of putting theses lanes in it to get MORE people to bike. So their argument should be whether or not putting these lanes in will achieve that very goal, not the skin crawling “nobody uses them” take. My opinion is or will vary neighborhood hood to neighborhood.


Geoff Page May 8, 2022 at 1:54 pm

My question would be, did the city ever find out in advance if enough people wanted these lanes to spend the money on them? Instead of building them and hoping people will use them, they should be intensely polling the community and building them where there was a strong opinion for, and by strong, I mean numbers.


Chris May 8, 2022 at 2:54 pm

I’ll admit, probably not. I never said the manor in which they were put in place is scrupulous. Todd Gloria (who doesn’t drive)comes off as a big advocate for improving public transportation yet never uses it and instead has a personal driver. In knowing that, I have to wonder if he even bikes at all.


lyle May 9, 2022 at 8:26 am

Do we pay that personal driver ? Shouldn’t we issue him a city-owned bicycle instead ?


Carl M Zanolli May 5, 2022 at 11:25 am

Sorry the correct citation is California Vehicle Code §21230


Chris May 5, 2022 at 11:17 pm

The fact that “90 percent of us” drive cars on its own is kind of a lame argument. Many of that 90 percent also are avid bike riders here in San Diego. Maybe not for daily commuting to work but still recreationally. I know this comes off as selfish but I’ve been enjoying many of the new lanes that have gone in. One person’s Hell is another’s paradise I guess. I’m 60 and easing this whole article kind of helps me understand why younger generations have so much animosity towards older.


Geoff Page May 6, 2022 at 11:41 am

Chris, your last few words puzzled me, so I reread the article and the comments. What did you see that made this be about generations for you? Just curious.


Chris May 6, 2022 at 5:30 pm

In a nutshell it’s the idea that bike lanes should not go in places that would result in reduced parking simply because older residents are less mobile. As I’ve mentioned in other articles, a lot of younger people would like to see communities be set up to be less car dependent.


Chris May 7, 2022 at 8:18 am


The generational part is the idea that bike lanes shouldn’t go in (resulting in reduced parking) simply because elderly residents are less mobile. Many younger people would like to see communities become less car dependent and I would like to see that too.


Geoff Page May 7, 2022 at 1:34 pm

Ok, thanks, Chris. But, I don’t think the argument is only that older residents are less mobile. There are disabled people. There are families going out towing three or four rugrats. There are people who just don’t have a lot of time. Delivery people. That’s why I asked, I didn’t see it as generational but I understand what you were saying.


Vern May 7, 2022 at 8:29 pm

Chris, respectfully, you hammer on a “generational divide” a heck of a lot (in various posts).
Some of us… we work with folks who are older, same age and younger, all the time. Yep, we surf with folks who are older, same age and younger, all the time. We dine, hike, cycle and enjoy family with folks who are older, same age and younger, all the time.
And we’re all fine with this.
We don’t, respectfully, seem be weighed down by your “generational divide”.


Chris May 8, 2022 at 7:43 am

Vern, it’s a real issue that comes up quite a bit in my area. Not saying every individual thinks that way but many do. Bike lanes (for or against) very much seems to be the center of that.


JD May 8, 2022 at 7:20 pm

Chris, as a 50 year old who commutes to work daily I absolutely see your point. The issue is most people are afraid of change, the older they are the more they are afraid on average. I have seen a lot of changes in San Diego over my 50 years here and it is coming faster than a lot of cities. To be fair to the next generation we need to be open to change and understand density and mobility has to be much more efficient for the planet.


Chris May 9, 2022 at 8:02 am

” To be fair to the next generation we need to be open to change and understand density and mobility has to be much more efficient for the planet.”
I fully agree, though I think we need to do it in such a way where less mobile will not be shut out. If parking is being reduced to allow more bike lanes, then perhaps still allow some designated handicap parking (which is law i believe) and improve public transportation. And when bike lanes do go in, they need to be better organized than what happened in Mira Mesa which was a confusing mess that even the most ardent bike lane advocates agreed.


kh May 9, 2022 at 11:15 am

How long is your commute to work by bicycle? Including any errands you have to run on the way there or back?

“Resistance to change” is a little disingenuous. I would have to restructure my entire life to get rid of commuting by car. I would need either a career change, or to move my kids to a different preschool and work a shorter work day, and that significant pay reduction could force me into a different community entirely. Cars exist and are popular because they work for most people. And they didn’t have to be forced on anyone via punitive government action against people using a horse or bicycle or train.

I have a bicycle. It’s used recreationally, and extremely sparingly at that because I have small children. Not because of a lack of bike infrastructure.


Geoff Page May 9, 2022 at 11:29 am

Well said, kh.


Chris May 9, 2022 at 2:06 pm

I think the change he is talking about is to make communities laid out in such a way where people don’t have to commute long(er) distances to get to their jobs. I am the first to admit I have no idea how to make that possible (or even if it’s possible) but I would love to see it happen.


kh May 9, 2022 at 3:09 pm

If that’s true then perhaps the city should stop favoring dining and alcohol serving businesses in OB over other commercial uses, and stop rezoning our neighborhoods in ways that raise property values and increase speculation.

Those jobs do not cover the going rent in this town. Those employees have to commute in from cheaper neighborhoods, and the residents have to commute out to afford it.


Chris May 9, 2022 at 4:29 pm

No one’s ever accused the city of thinking things through. Ask any city government employee (after they have retired or moved on to other things of course).

Richard May 6, 2022 at 8:26 am

Why do cyclists get to have their own lane infrastructure at no cost? I have to pay registration fees for my car and gas tax to pay for roads. How come the cycling industry bears no financial burden for their commuting? I’m all in for shared infrastructure, but wouldn’t it be nice if everyone paid their fare share. Maybe it’s time for a state wide bicycle registration to collect fees to maintain and build bike paths. Just wondering?


Greg May 6, 2022 at 9:03 am

You’re right Richard. Everyone should pay their fair share. The more you use the more you pay. If you cause more damage to the roads (as heavier vehicles do) then you should pay more.

Looks like you’re in favor of a mileage fee that scales with weight. Everyone needs to pay their fare share.


Chris May 6, 2022 at 9:37 am

Being that most cyclists also drive that argument is a kind of a non starter. Even those who don’t drive pay taxes in all others aspects like everyone else.


GML May 9, 2022 at 10:18 am

I believe part of the argument should be that bikes are not harming the environment and are a sustainable transportation means. Your argument is interesting but I could also say that we don’t charge extra for people that walk on the sidewalks.


kh May 9, 2022 at 3:20 pm

It would be an interesting study to compare the infrastructure costs of each type of use of public property, with the user base and what % of it is funded by those specific users, if any.

How about the 30-50% of public right of way the city surrenders use of to the adjacent property owners to grow weeds or shrubs (don’t you dare plant palm trees though.) Why isn’t there any room there for bike lanes? I’ve seen it done in Seattle.


Richard May 6, 2022 at 9:26 am

No Greg
I was thinking something like an infrastructure maintenance fee at point of purchase of a bike and fees for scooter companies to collectively help maintain and build bike transportation and scooter infrastructure in our city. I was asking why if it’s a “transportation”corridor” why the users paid no fees. A fee at point of purchase for cycling related items seems reasonable to me. Looking for solutions.


Peter from South O May 6, 2022 at 9:47 am

The solution is simple: If you are going to ride your bike on public roads or bikepaths, you must register the bike with the DMV, pay a registration fee each year, and display a license plate.
The DMV issues the bicycle equivalent of a VIN upon registration, and it is required that the number be permanently etched into the bicycle frame before it is permitted to be used on a public thoroughfare.


Geoff Page May 6, 2022 at 2:41 pm

Peter, that is entirely too reasonable, so it will never happen. Etch a number into the frame of a bicycle someone paid thousands for? The horrors!


Paul Webb May 6, 2022 at 3:22 pm

Geoff, you know that that is exactly what you used to do when I was a kid. When you got a new bike, at least in LA, you went to the police station and the friendly policeman would take a small fee and register your bicycle. He would put stamp an identification number on the frame, and if you bike was reported stolen, it could be identified by that number. It strikes me as not that bad of an idea, similar to stamping the VIN on your catalytic converter, to deter thieves. Of course, with today’s bike chop shops in the encampments, you’d have to stamp a lot of different parts of your bike.

And not sure how that would work on carbon fiber, but back in the day we didn’t have to worry about that.


Geoff Page May 8, 2022 at 1:51 pm

Interesting, I never ran into that when I was a kid. It does sound like a good idea for combating bike theft. I can’t imagine the size database you’d need. I have to wonder if cyclists today, with bikes worth many thousands of dollars, don’t already have some kind of identification on their bikes, even insurance.


lyle May 9, 2022 at 8:33 am

Most bikes already have a number etched (stamped?) on the lower side of the bottom bracket.


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