Officials in the metro-Atlanta suburb-city where I live know that unprotected, too-narrow bike lanes that don’t meet NACTO guidelines for speed and volume (such as what’s about to be installed here) are the wrong answer for a self-proclaimed family-friendly community. And sidewalk riding is not the answer (although no one should be penalized for this act of self-preservation), especially during this time of social-distancing.
We need true leadership, in my city and yours anywhere in the USA, that is willing to make an immediate life-saving difference through pop-up tactical urbanism on our major roads (which are unavoidable to actually go places) while more permanent solutions are in the works. Our last mayor admitted the truth in public:
Our current mayor said a firm no to my request for consideration of temporary safe-access-for-all during this COVID-19 global pandemic.
We should not have to continually beg for this. It was baked into the very first Comprehensive Land Use Plan when where I live became the newest city in the USA in 2008 (I served on its steering committee and made sure of it). The city has failed to deliver on this. Note: children don’t wait; they grow up (mine have).
FYI, there are currently funding-and-assistance grants available for cities nationwide as every city is facing an historic surge of bike riders of all ages and abilities. Some innovative ideas use art to redefine public space in proven ways that increase safety for all, while also being fun and beautiful. I brought this solution to one city leader and was blown off.
And by the way, I’m not someone who “always complains” (so I ask those who suggest that to just put that quick way to discount my lived experience on a shelf). I have a professional history with major global companies of continually iterating to improve projects, and I have consistently gotten into the weeds in both my vocation and avocations to do so.
I am committed to the words in the video below now more than ever:
* The new Vulnerable Road User Ordinance is terrific, but it’s main purpose is to provide prosecutorial options for sentencing in the event of serious injury or death. (I chat a little more about that while showing you my two-mile ride to the post office in the video below. Pardon my noisy bell.) In contrast, infrastructure changes help us put the horse before the cart and actually create safe conditions for all. Litmus test: If your ability to ride a bike safely depends on the actions of motor vehicle drivers, your city is not safe for bike riding.