Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Unexplained Changes In Your Life

Fox - DC church calls proposed bike lanes unconstitutional.

The article itself is about a church suing over bike lanes taking out their parking. I know a lot about transportation laws, I have been asked to write a book about public easements and I am telling you right now that the church does not have a leg to stand on and will lose horribly thereby setting the legal precedent for cities to put in bike lanes and take away parking and traffic lanes.

Here is what you need to consider. All across the nation crosswalks are being modified, they now resemble the crosswalk on the cover of the Beatle's Abbey Road cover. At the same time all across the nation bike lanes are being put in at the same time. Do you ever wonder why? Funding determines what gets built and federal funding has a big impact on local paving. Local municipalities are responding to the Federal governments call for an "intermodal" approach to streets; but, there is a problem. Municipalities do not own their streets, they only have a public easement (the right to traverse the streets and keep them clear for such purpose).

Traditionally, sidewalks were for foot traffic and streets were for wheeled traffic (originally for horse drawn traffic). The law also frequently prohibits pedestrians from walking on street if there is a sidewalk and from driving on sidewalks almost always. Those laws are established. Creating a new type of public easement limited to bikes is an outgrowth of laws allowing for bus only lanes. This is why I did not write the book on public easements, I bore myself when discussing these things; but, they are relevant to our lives. The truth is that bus lanes are not needed, one can make an argument for ride share lanes as they were, in at least California, required to be built with funds specifically for such a thing and lanes that had previously been built could not be re-purposed (yes, there is actually a court case over that).

If you cannot repurpose existing highways lanes for limited uses, why should municipalities be allowed to repurpose traffic lanes for only one type of traffic. Why should we have traffic lanes limited to bikes when bikes can ride in car lanes. Bikes are not limited to any lane, buses are not limited to any lane; but, cars and trucks are. Is that legal, probably not if the right law suit was brought. One that questioned why streets were allowed to be made into public easements for limited use by vehicles.

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