Friday, September 12, 2008

More About...Bikes

The Washington Post’s John Kelly’s Washington published an update (required log-in) about the ugly bike incident at Union Station.

First, Metro says that bikes are only removed when they’ve been there too long. The bikes are tagged—think cars in two hour parking—and removed after ten days. I’m assuming there’s some sort of policy in place that allows a bike that is parked every day in the same general area not to get hauled away. (Parking Too Close is a general paranoia I have when I park in Baltimore.)

Kelly says that Metro is going to have a “two-level kiosk” next year capable of holding 150 bikes and this should alleviate the problem. Kelly also writes that the much debated (and much loathed) intercounty connector will include bike paths, which he says, developers call “bad for the environment.”

…Kelly and I are both perplexed. What emissions does a bicycle produce? How is a path bad for Earth? I’m lost on this one. The only problem with it is that, from my point of view, cyclists and motorists are in a constant battle for the road, even with a bike path. The intercounty connector on the other hand, doesn’t exactly help the environment either, so I’m feel a little…lost.

 

I’m excited for the prospect of cyclists included in the project though, and remain hopeful that the dreaded connector will bring more positive attributes to all who participate. Here’s Kelly’s take:

 

Let's see: There's too much traffic. There's too much pollution. There's too much fat. It seems to me that every new road that's built around here -- and plenty of old ones -- should include dedicated bike lanes.

Of course, riding a bike in our area can get you killed. Car plus bike often equals disaster. If you'll excuse an Oxonian memory, I never felt nervous cycling in Oxford, even when I was pedaling on a narrow, rain-slicked road with a double-decker bus looming inches from my right elbow.

The reason I didn't feel nervous is because I knew the bus driver had been in my shoes before, maybe when he was a kid, maybe on his commute to work that very morning. When you've ridden a bike regularly, you look out for bikes.

That's not the case here. We've severed our relationship with these sublime machines. Making it easier to cycle -- by building bike lanes and bike paths -- will help us reestablish it.

 

 

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