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Posts Tagged ‘bike paths’


This week, our cycling group got a chance to present our recommendations to the city council for infrastructure that will develop cycling in the city.  Wouldn’t you know the council would meet while I am at work and I could not attend.  However, our local access channel, ICTN records these meetings and logs them on their website.  Despite not attending, I could still watch our fearless leader lay out the need for cycling infrastructure including cycle tracks in and around the city.

In addition, our group recently got a chance to see the plans for the downtown Irving renovations that would include cycle tracks, wider sidewalks, and fewer motoring lanes.  All of these would aid in getting people out of their cars and into the businesses along Irving Boulevard, the major artery through downtown Irving.

As part of this, a group of volunteers put together a Saturday event to lay out what the road, cycle track, and sidewalk upgrades could do when completed.  They called this event, Deep Irving Marketplace.  Vendors and volunteers put together pop-up shops to showcase what could happen once the construction completes.  Our cycling group did a pop-up bike shop where we were selling donated vintage bikes to raise funds to help our Earn-A-Bike program. 

The event was a success in many ways.  I saw a lot of folks in Big State Drug during the lunch hour; a lot more than I usually see.  We also heard from some others how much more business they had in their shops as well.  While we knew some motorists (and truck drivers) weren’t happy about fewer lanes and slower traffic, the idea was working.

So, I listened to the presentation and the Q&A that went along with it.  You can watch the meeting for yourself here.  I was hopeful that the information would be received well.  There are always curmudgeons around that will nay-say anything, but I hoped for the best in any case.

Most of the Q&A was positive.  I especially like John Danish’s description of why American cities don’t have things like sidewalk cafés. It is because we built for the car and the truck.  And, as a country, we did this despite the fact that paved roads were an innovation of the bicycle, not the car.  Mr. Danish described how this past choice affects things like cycling on city roads.  He rightfully stated that the city would have to deal with those that would complain about slower traffic because of changes like the downtown renovation.  However, I was completely surprised by one council member’s response.

Brad LaMorgese commented that if the council did anything to slow traffic on Macarthur that they would all be gone (my paraphrase).  Macarthur Boulevard is another major artery through Irving.  It is a north-south artery while Irving Boulevard in downtown Irving is east-west. I suppose he meant that their elected positions as council members would be at jeopardy if the addition of cycle tracks to Macarthur Boulevard resulted in slower traffic speeds similar to what happened at the Deep Irving event.

So, let me see if I can understand this correctly.  You are afraid of losing your elected position if you anger a bunch of motorists, many of whom do not live in Irving, solely because they would have to travel at a slower speed?  Are you really going to play that one?  The fear card?  Well, let’s look at that issue.

I drive on Macarthur quite a bit.  I don’t bike on Macarthur unless it is very early Sunday morning or in a large group.  I have said this before, Macarthur Blvd. is DANGEROUS!  It is not only dangerous for cyclists, it is dangerous as a motorist.  The primary reason for the danger is that despite the 35 mph speed limits for most of the road, many motorists completely ignore the limit.

Now, of course Mr. LaMorgese, if you are concerned about speeds on Macarthur, you and the city council can of course raise the speed limit to whatever your heart’s desire.  However, you have chosen to support the current set of limits.  I have to believe that you all agree with those speed limits, or are those just speed suggestions?

Therefore, since many drivers on Macarthur are speeding, you are fearful that the addition of infrastructure to support safe cycling might actually reduce folks to driving the speed limit and cause them to be angry at the council?  Keep in mind the self-proven realization that those folks that would be upset with slower speeds are likely the same ones that ignore speed limits and wouldn’t slow down for cyclists or pedestrians either.  And, these are the folks you believe would vote you out of office for doing so.  My, what leadership skills you have, sir.

I have watched how the city operates vis-à-vis cycling and many other things.  Our city council would bend over backwards to build a convention center (an ugly one, I might add), but does little to increase the number of cycle paths, cycle tracks, and other infrastructure to get more people outdoors and lower pollution and congestion while increasing health and quality of life.  A city that has a perfectly good planned 22-mile trail to connect north and south Irving, but won’t finish the last few miles. For the record, I do not accept the city’s current excuse.  The city has plenty of trails on the books and I hope we get busy on these quickly.  I would like to ride a few before I am too old to do so.

Yes, I suppose it is possible to be afraid of the fallout of doing what is right.  I guess that one might be afraid of maintaining his or her council seat if we build an infrastructure that invites every type of vehicle to safely share the roads and consequently anger all those fast car and SUV drivers.  You know those drivers are worth more than the Mom that wants to lead her family down to the store a couple of blocks on a bike instead of a car or SUV.  I guess that being fearful of interrupting the transient drivers, that don’t live or vote in Irving is better leadership than preparing our city for a future that includes cycling, walking, and running.

But remember this: I bike and I vote, plus I know a lot of other cyclists that vote as well.  Fear that.

 

 

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Well, it appears that politics is once again about to take over our nation’s conscious behaviors–as if it hasn’t already.  All the pundits, pollsters, and posers are out in full force it seems.  In my own neck-o’-the-woods, we are about to finish up a mayoral election that has been just downright ugly.  I received an email this past week from the opponent of the incumbent mayor.  I told her I would vote for her just because she was different, but that I would hold her accountable if things do not change in my city. (more…)

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