A standing-room-only crowd attended the Coronado City Council meeting of Tuesday, August 18, 2015. The vast majority of those assembled were present to persuade councilmembers to reconsider a previous council action that approved the expenditure of $100,000 for a study regarding the feasibility of constructing a multi-use bike path on the beach.
Twin motions for reconsideration of the expenditure were brought forward by Councilmembers Carrie Downey and Richard Bailey. Supporters of the reconsideration motion came equipped with yard signs and buttons proclaiming ‘Save Our Beach.’ At one point Mayor Casey Tanaka asked City Clerk Mary Clifford to count the number of attendees who were opposed to the bike path and that figure totaled 80 residents. During either the Oral Communications section of the agenda or on the twin reconsideration motions, a total of 20 people spoke against the concept of the beach bike path, two were in favor of the concept and one speaker suggested that the city examine its options.
Councilmember Mike Woiwode said of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, which originally recommended the bike path as part of the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, “The committee was composed of residents and their principle goal was safety for all modes of transportation. It was not a sports-oriented group. What do you do about Ocean Drive? Move the rocks, rebuild the road or have a bike path below the rocks. We had public hearings five years ago and the city tried to get people to participate in that. Their primary goal is safety. I’m perfectly happy going forward with further discussion, but let’s not vilify the people who worked really hard to do this.”
Tanaka, while encouraging public participation in the process, was surprised by the turnout on the issue. “I have been an elected representative going on 13 years and there were no bicycle questions at any of those (election) debates. To some extent the five of us are a little stunned. This is the least favorite meeting I have had with all of you. Mike Woiwode said something important about our fellow residents on the Bicycle Committee. My job is to listen to you and take your feedback seriously.”
The council voted 5-0 to approve the motion calling for reconsideration of the study for the bike path. That sets up a discussion during the Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015 city council meeting regarding going forward with the study.
Kudos to Coronado resident Wayne Strickland, who while speaking against the bike path, provided a much-needed dose of humor to the situation. He said, “Every low tide you can ride your bike on the beach. There’s the bike path.” His suggestion was met with applause from the crowd.
Another major step was taken in the long legislative process toward final approval of the city’s planned Senior Activity Center, estimated to cost $5.75 million. Basically the discussion revolved around which city funding source would be used to pay for construction. The motion was made by Councilmember Bill Sandke, who suggested that $4.5 million of the cost come from the bequest made to the city from the estate of the late Frances G. (Fran) Harpst, with the balance coming from the city’s general fund. The motion passed 5-0.
In other council actions:
• Adding the motion to the consent agenda, the council appointed Rita M. Alipour to the Library Board of Trustees.
• From a field of five candidates, the council appointed Suzanne Popp to the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission.
• By a 5-0 vote the council agreed to extend by one year the commercial use permit for Clayton’s Coffee Shop and Mexican Take-Out.
• After a public hearing, the council voted 3-2 that the property at 733 Tolita Avenue should not be found historic. Voting against the historic designation were Bailey, Downey and Tanaka. Sandke and Woiwode voted in favor of the designation.
The next meeting of the Coronado City Council will be held Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, at 4 p.m. Coronado City Council meetings are held at City Hall, located at 1825 Strand Way in Coronado.