Friday, February 27, 2009

Good news for southside bike-commuters

I'm not back here full-time yet (though the Mrs.' condition is improving--and thanks for all the kind wishes sent our way), but I did want to pass along this tidbit: that at least in one instance, those dotted purple lines on Wichita's bike-path map do indeed mean "funded"--very good to know, given the current economy.

At the point where George Washington Blvd. crosses Gypsum Creek (a little south of Pawnee) construction of a bike path along the creek is well under way: the dirt base looks to be steamrolled, but as of yesterday no actual pouring of the (concrete?/asphalt?) surface has occurred. Assuming the weather cooperates, though, it appears that could happen any day.

This stretch is part of a route marked "funded" that will run, eventually, from the southern terminus of the Canal path south along I-135, turn east at Gill Park and follow Gypsum Creek to George Washington, then head southeast along that street to the intersection with Oliver, where it will intersect with the Gypsum Creek path. I can't say yet whether construction is progressing along the whole route, but once it's completed a hypothetical bike-commuter who, oh, I don't know, lives downtown and works at McConnell would have a slightly-longer but safer route to work--and probably quicker as well, since it will be off the streets.

But still: a couple of east-west routes that run through the center and northern portion of the city are still on my wish-list. Given our topography and urban realities, such routes would require adding dedicated bike lanes to existing streets . . . and according to the map, such routes aren't even proposed, much less funded. Given the budgeting priorities of the Obama administration, perhaps that will change. A fella can hope, at any rate. While we wait and see, though, it's very good to know that at least some already-funded projects are getting built.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On indefinite leave

Regular visitors here have probably assumed by now that other things have been keeping me away from here, and that would be correct. For about a month now, my wife's health has not been good, and my concern for her has consumed an enormous amount of my time and energy and has even cut into time I need to do things I get paid for. So, I'll continue to be away from here for the foreseeable future.

This is unfortunate, given the times we live in. What with Wichita city council elections fast approaching and the just-passed stimulus package, there is much to think and write about at the local and national level regarding cycling and the related issues of energy, transportation, infrastructure and livable communities, all discussions which I would love to be contributing to. But I have linked to some useful places over in the right gutter that will be participating in those discussions, and I encourage you to explore them. I was just going to steal from them anyway . . .

I hope the decks will clear enough in a couple of months that I'll be able to be more regularly faithful to this blog's intent. Till then, I'll see you around.