Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bicycle Bullyvard

Just a short blurb for now, but I went to a meeting the other night regarding Bicycle Boulevards on 1st Street. I was absolutely aghast at some of the behavior I saw there. First of all, some of the residents would barely let the guy doing the presentation speak. Secondly, some of the objections were so ludicrous that many of the cyclist in the room were just dumbfounded. Here's an excerpt from an article I'm working on....

To be fair, there were some reasonable residents. I'll post the rest after it runs.

I went into the meeting thinking it was a win-win situation. What better way to start off the new year than supporting something that could benefit myself, as a cyclist, and the community at large.

This was not to be the case.

I passed the sign-in clipboard to the woman standing next to me who, I deduced, was obviously a displeased 1st Street resident by the sneer she gave me after she saw my helmet.

The night was more or less a tennis match with 1st street residents saying they didn’t want their historic district soiled by “all those people coming to their street.” And all the cyclists wondering, who exactly did they mean? It kept on and on with the basic insinuation that those people, cyclists, would bring in a reign of two-wheeled terror and decreased property value.

Some of the objections to the Bike Boulevard seemed so absolutely ridiculous they verged on conspiratorial.

One 1st Street resident said that she was opposed to the bike boulevard because bikes were just too noisy!

Another resident said that the traffic in the city wasn’t bad enough that the city should do anything to encourage bicycling. In 10 years when it was worse, then they should do something about it.

Somewhere a baby glacier is crying…err…melting.

Another resident expressed his concern for the safety of joggers and women with stollers (think of the children!) who might be hit and injured by runaway cyclists.

Another woman was totally up in arms because she knew, she just knew, that the state was going to print a map of all the bike lanes in CA (as a cyclist I could only hope for such a map!) and people from around the country would single out the those twelve blocks of 1st Street to drive their trucks, loaded with bikes, take up the parking spaces and spend all day riding up and down 1st street like gyspies.


At one point I couldn’t take it any more and walked to the front of the room and introduced myself, “Hi. My name is Russ Roca and I’m a bike commuter. I have a college degree. I don’t have fangs and I’m not going to steal your children in the middle of the night.” To which I was told, “that’s not what we meant at all.”

What did they mean then?

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