Kat Marriner : May 24th, 2011
If you plan it, there’s a chance they will build it.
A small, energetic group of neighbors on Beacon Hill in Seattle developed a plan for safer biking and walking connections between local schools, shopping district, library, and light rail. It connects the gateway to Beacon Hill at Lewis Park, to our crown jewel with the spectacular view of the city at Jefferson Park, along low-traffic streets with modest hills (for the city of seven hills).
Crossing Spokane Street's 4 lanes of traffic without a crosswalk. Happens every day, but without the luxury of banner waving attention.
The People Powered Parks Parade was a celebration of the plan — really the first and most important step in any change we want to be in this world. The parade started appropriately at Jefferson Park and demonstrated the need for a safe crossing at Spokane and Lafayette. Colorful flag wavers stopped 4 lanes of traffic to allow the 120+ walkers and bikers to safely pass. It was an awesome “take back the street” moment!
Crossing Beacon Avenue near the busiest neighborhood library in Seattle and light rail station.
Following fine examples to the south in Portland, the Beacon BIKES plan creates routes on streets that parallel busy arterials, and moderates vehicle traffic on those routes to encourage slower driving and more biking. These “Bike Boulevards” or “Greenways”, when well placed, also means fewer cyclists wanting to take the arterial—seems like a win-win situation.
So hats off to our neighborhood activists creating “Better Infrastructure Keeping Everyone Safe” or Beacon BIKES!
Mayor McGinn and council members Rasmussen and Bagshow came out to show their support for the plan, but my highlight was riding besides these future "heels on wheels" girls.
Sporting some "Petal Power" and my new flower vase bike accessory.
Willie Weir : May 20th, 2011
We passed the sign above on our trip in Portugal. It was the entrance to a big highway … not a road we wanted to travel on anyway.
I particularly enjoy the way the wheel on the wagon makes the sign look like a cartoon figure sticking its tongue out at you.
But signs are important. They give instruction and information. They warn you not to proceed, or they lead the way.
Which is why I’m excited about the U.S. Bicycle Route System. Signed routes all across our nation that will announce: “Cycling is a viable travel option.”
In 1976 the founding members of Bikecentenial (now the Adventure Cycling Association) established a bike route across the country and invited the nation to come along for the ride. Without that defined route, many people would never have pedaled across America.
When the U.S. Bike Route System is complete, people will have positive reminders that bicycle travel is possible in every state. Seeds of bicycle travel dreams and possibilities will germinate in the minds of passing motorists, bus passengers, and cyclists alike.
But dreams take a lot of work. The logistics of creating this nationwide network are mind boggling. If you are as excited about this project as I am, the first thing you can do is donate. I have. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Small amounts add up fast.
Get in on the ground level of a dream. Donate ten bucks. Ten years from now you’ll realize you were part of something really incredible.
Willie Weir : May 4th, 2011
If I had to choose one photo I’ve taken that captures the view of the world you get when you travel by bicycle, this is it.
Up close and intense.
It’s 1995. Nelson Mandela has been president for less than a year. I’m on a five-month bike trip in South Africa, where I’m told by dozens, no, hundreds of people that if I travel in the former homelands that I’m a dead man. Period.
I go anyway. I’m afraid.
I come across a school. Someone notices the bike traveler and a mob of students comes charging down the hill.
My first reaction is to flee. But instead of taunts and shouts of anger, I hear laughter.
The kids surround my bicycle and I take out my camera and snap a few shots.
I look back at this photo and wonder about the lives of these students, now adults in their late twenties. I look at the smiles. The intensity and zeal. I hope that life has treated them well.
None of them knows the gift they gave to this traveler that day. The anxiety that had been welling up in me for weeks melted away in an instant. I continued my journey with their smiles etched in my memory … a potent remedy to prejudice and fear.