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We Need REAL SOLUTIONS to reduce pollution and congestion leading to Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

Councilmember Robinson

Nov 11, 2023

Over the past few months City Council members have been receiving dozens of emails advocating for the removal of the bike lane on the Richmond - San Rafael Bridge.

These anti-bike advocates want more vehicles and greater ease of vehicle access on the bridge as a way to reduce air pollution?!

But cars, and combustion energies in general, are the primary source of air pollution on highways. creating more space for more vehicle trips will not reduce pollution.

If we want to reduce pollution we need to reduce vehicle trips, cars and other combustion engines, on our roads.

I am disturbed that this effort which encourages more polluting vehicles on our roads uses vulnerable Richmond neighborhoods primarily in my district, District 3, as well as District 1 and 5 as the reason why there needs to be more room for more polluting cars on the bridge.

They say that there is increased traffic during rush hour that is causing increased pollution due to idling, but the evidence as referenced in the most recent staff report states that there was traffic before the bike lane and there continues to be traffic after the bike lane - there has always been a back up on the 580 leading to the bridge and so far there is no evidence of increased pollution from idling that also existed before the bike lane.

I believe removing bike lanes from the bridge is a false solution to reducing air pollution.

I understand drivers are frustrated with traffic and I know it needs to be addressed but it needs to be addressed with real solutions that 1) decrease vehicle trips overall, 2) and decrease vehicle emissions.

I would invite all who are truly concerned with the health of families living in impacted Richmond neighborhoods to support real solutions to reducing air pollution such as:

  • Support more high occupancy vehicles (HOV) lanes. Too many cars on the road are single occupant vehicles (just one passenger).

  • Support more and higher quality public transportation both crossing the bridge and routes delivering workers to their work places in Marín County and vice versa.

  • Support more park and ride carpooling areas

  • Support transitioning transit fleets, delivery vehicles, even semi truck as well as individual vehicles to zero emission engines.

  • Support more transit oriented development so more people can live closer to their jobs or within walking or biking distance of the ferry, Bart and bus to get to and from home, school & work

These are real solutions they will address the true cause of road related air pollution, again caused by ever increasing combustion engine vehicle trips.

We must reduce combustion engine vehicle trips to reduce road related air pollution.

This is the challenge we must confront and work toward resolving together.

- CM Robinson

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