Monday, July 28, 2008

In the news . . .

It's a few days old, but it's still good to see some local-media coverage of commuter-cyclists.

Jim Grawe of KWCH posted this story, "Wichita Bike Riders Running Out of Room," on July 25, 2008 on the KWCH website. Grawe interviews Erick Riedell, who apparently commutes into the downtown area. Some of what Riedell says will be familiar to local cyclists (on the city's bike-paths: "They're great if you're going where those paths go, but if you don't live near a bike path and you want to come to Old Town, there's no paths coming downtown."); some, less so--at least in my (admittedly-brief) experience (on impatient motorists: "They'll throw bottles and spit on you and throw trash out the windows."). The story concludes with a general statement about how the city plans to link bike-paths together and make some major streets bike-friendlier (as I've noted elsewhere, most recently here).

The chief value of such a story is not in informing those of us who get about town but in informing those who don't. We become a little more visible via this piece, which is to the good.


rebmoti said...

From the KWCH story: "The city wasn't able to provide us with specific information about the cost of future bike path improvements and dates of completion."

That tells you all you need to know. Sorry to be cynical, and I'll be happy to be proven wrong, but in my humble opinion pigs'll fly before Wichita will spend money, time, or political capital on making the city bike-friendly.

John B. said...

I understand the reasons behind your cynicism--it was disheartening for me to learn the other day that the upcoming city budget is over a million dollars short in funding for what the engineering department says is needed just to stay on schedule with street repairs and maintenance. That doesn't bode well for bike-friendliness, what many unfortunately regard as a bells-and-whistles issue.

That said, I know there is funding in place for linking the southern terminuses (terminae? termini?) of the Arkansas River path and the Gypsum Creek path and, as I noted before, for re-designing some streets, such as Mt. Vernon, for bike lanes. It's piecemeal stuff, everyone admits; you're right in that few seem ready now to really ante up.

That's where I hope this blog and its readers can make some small difference. Squeaky wheels, sir.