Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hither and Yon #4

I have been away longer than intended. I had intended to spend only the Memorial Day weekend in Topeka but ended up staying until Sunday, helping my father-in-law, as part of a big landscaping project at the in-laws' house, move lots and lots of rocks ranging from "inch-and-a-half" gravel to rocks the approximate shape and only somewhat smaller than the state of Ohio. And summer school began yesterday. I think, though, that now I'll be able to maintain something like a regular posting schedule for most of the summer.

A round-up of items regarding cycling and other livability/sustainability issues:

**Regarding my recent post about community bike shops, Mike James of the Wichita Bicycle Collective noted both in comments and via an e-mail to me that it's a long-term goal of the Collective to establish just such a shop. If you have bikes, bike parts or, most importantly, time to donate to this project, write him at "mike AT wichitabicyclecollective DOT org."

**Via the Kansas Transportation Online community comes an announcement of a free webinar on Complete Streets on June 11. The full announcement follows:
-> According to the May 19th issue of PBIC News, "ContextSensitiveSolutions.org and the Federal Highway Administration will present a free webinar on June 11, 2009, from 2:00-3:30 PM EST to discuss the role of Complete Streets in creating Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) that provide safe and efficient transportation options for all users.
"The 1.5 hour-long webinar will provide an overview of the Federal Highways Administration perspective on Complete Streets, including a discussion on the importance of pedestrian and bicycle issues, and what federal programs and policies are available to support communities in their Complete Streets efforts."
Link to Join the Meeting: http://tinyurl.com/od5h9g
On the login page, enter as a guest by typing your full name and clicking the "Enter Room" button. Login to the conference at least 10 minutes prior to the start time to secure your space.
Phone Number to Join the Audio Portion of the Conference:
Password: 4033692

**Some of you have mentioned seeing my letter to the editor in the Eagle that, at least online, appeared on Friday May 22. Here's the letter, in full:
Road partners

I hope Wichitans will come to consider cycling as not just for recreation but also as a legitimate and potentially significant mode of transportation in our city that should be planned for and encouraged accordingly. Streets that are safer for cyclists are safer for everyone who uses them, and fewer cars on the road mean reduced gas consumption and less noise, congestion and pollution.

I urge our elected officials and planning commissions to be more proactive in developing, prioritizing and implementing projects that conceive of cyclists as full partners in our city's transportation network.
And, in case you're curious, here are the responses it garnered:
they can't even get their regular road planning together. you think they they will find a way to fit bicycles in comfortably? maybe when kellogg gets finished. ha.
AMEN, mr [B.]!! critical mass next friday, donut whole @ 5:30
Mr [B.], there are few people as self absorbed and self righteous as bicyclers. You and others like you belong on the sidewalks, not in the streets. I am fine with bike lanes but any bike on the street proper should be ticketed, impounded, and the rider left to walk home. This is Kansas, not a high density urban city, even buses can't make money on our density! Please stay out of my street, I will not drive quietly behind you!
[in response to the above comment] drivers like you are the problem, not the cyclists. You call Mr. [B.] self absorbed and self righteous and then exhibit the very characteristics you accuse him of!

Under the laws of the state of Kansas, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of vehicles. Perhaps you missed that chapter in the drivers handbook.
... and another thing... cyclists can be ticketed for riding on the sidewalk unless there are signs specifically permiting it, like downtown. Sidewalks are for pedestrians (hence the word "walks"). Bicycles are considered vehicles under Kansas law.
One quick observation: even the most vocal objector to my letter writes, "I am fine with bike lanes." So, s/he and I have more in common with each other than s/he thinks we do. My alleged self-absorption and self-righteousness aside, if this is the worst that the Wichita comment-o-sphere can offer up by way of vitriol directed at cyclists, I'd say those of us interested in seeing a bike-friendlier Wichita may be further along in changing people's minds than we know.

No comments: