Progress

I attended the Madison Avenue traffic calming presentation last night.  This morning my head was still  swimming with ideas and impressions.  Thankfully, a person with a clearer head took notes and photos and posted them for all of us to see.  How’d they do that so fast and well?  Pros, through and through!

I posted a comment there which I hope will be approved soon, but I’ll paste it here, too:

Thanks for the fast, accurate and complete reporting! You deserve awards.

I was glad to hear the city will repave. Portions of that street are in very bad shape.

A couple of the folks against reconfiguration seemed concerned about increased traffic congestion with its attendant emissions and loud stereos. I get that. I wouldn’t support increased motor vehicle congestion on my street. That said, if I lived on a busy street where motor vehicles routinely traveled past my house at 35 to 40 mph, I’d think twice before objecting to a plan proven to slow motor vehicle traffic and encourage bicycling. If in practice the motor vehicle traffic is slowed too much, motorists will go elsewhere. The same way water flows to the lowest point, motorists change routes if their existing route becomes too congested. That’d be a win. If in practice more people bike on Madison Avenue, that’d also be a win–remember bicycles don’t pollute and generally don’t have stereos.

Another concern raised was increased travel time. The projected increase in travel time for the 12 block corridor is less than a minute. I hope you can spare a minute, maybe even two, in exchange for reduced traffic fatalities. Indeed, some communities are recognizing that prioritizing faster motor vehicle travel above human life is wrong. They’re aiming for zero traffic fatalities. Example? http://www.nyc.gov/html/visionzero/pages/home/home.shtml. Human life should always be valued over faster travel times.

Worried about the money? All Madison Avenue property owners are going to see their property values go up. Residential sellers will find more buyers willing to relocate to a quiet street with slower traffic than to a home on the side of a highway. Commercial owners will find that inviting bicycle users to their businesses will increase sales. We tend to spend our money closer to home and don’t care at all about parking (but appreciate a well placed bicycle rack).

Let’s put to bed the misconception that bicycle users don’t pay taxes. We pay the same taxes as motor vehicle users, because we are motor vehicle users. We own or rent motor vehicles, just like you, but we opt to use bicycles when we travel short distances in the city. You should try it. It can be a very pleasant way to travel.

Finally, please remember if all road users, motorized and not, traveled the speed limit, stopped at signals and signs and looked before proceeding, didn’t drink, didn’t text and used caution when passing vulnerable road users, we wouldn’t have needed to change Madison Avenue at all.  When road users share nicely, any old road will do. Pothole free, though, please.

The die is cast. Let’s keep open minds and play nice together.

I know my blog–I can look forward to about 50 readers, one or two likes and one or two supportive comments.  A nice safe place to express ideas.  I’ve received only a couple of negative comments over the years and have left them up because in context they are kind of funny.

One more thing about Madison Avenue.  After they repave and restripe it, I’ll give it a go on my bicycle but I am pretty sure I won’t prefer it to pedaling on lower Western Avenue (east of Allen Street) when headed downtown.  Lower Western Avenue is perfect for bicycling as it is.  Not much traffic and speeds are generally slower.  I take the lane when I need to (avoid car doors, debris on the side of the road or when the road is too narrow to share side by side) and then pull right to let others pass as soon as it is safe for me to do so.  I never hold up others for more than ten seconds and most seem to get what I’m doing and share nicely.  Here, even CDTA bus operators seem to understand they may have to wait a few seconds to get around me.  It’s really nice.  But maybe the repaved and restriped Madison Avenue will be nicer.  I’m excited to find out.

That’s more than enough.  Time to walk Frida.

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6 responses to “Progress

  1. Here, let me comment on your comment. Specifically about “cyclists not paying their fair share.” It isn’t even about owning a car. The money you pay for your auto registration etc goes to the STATE, not the CITY. The majority (& some articles I’ve read say it’s around 80%) of the funding for urban transportation comes from things like sales taxes & property taxes. Cyclists, even if they are renting, are paying all of that. (Arguably more, because by using cars less (or not at all) we have more money to spend at movies, theaters, restaurants, pubs, coffee shops- all the places drivers are always complaining about a lack of parking for.)

  2. I don’t see that quote, “…cyclists not paying their fair share.” I see, “Let’s put to bed the misconception that bicycle users don’t pay taxes.”

    In any case, I know the implied argument.

    Usually, the best reply to those who think “(too much) money is being spent to serve a minority population (cyclists),” is to follow the project funding back to its source(s).

    When I was a board member of a Rails-to-Trails group, it seemed myth-busting the negatives of bike paths/lanes was the toughest part of our efforts.

    Thanks for the post. Another very nice one.

  3. Nice post! I always am reminded of what a great son I have! Keep on cycling and writing! Mom

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