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Friday, October 06, 2006

Last night's meeting was encouraging, nested in between a lot of weirdness and a very squishy tire, and discovering I can't find my road morph. I'm afraid I've probably left it out on the bike someplace too public, so I've repaced it (now that I have my wallet and can!). If it reappears, one of 'em will actually get mounted on my fast bike's frame.
What we talked about last night was that idea of shifting public awareness and opinion, not just pushing for change. We listened to the ideas that worked for the Smoke-Free Alliance, who with a 3-4 year campaign have gotten an ordinance passed banning smoking in restaurants & bars, starting in January, in Urbana and CHampaign (tho' I'm not exactly sure I have all these details right; all I know is The Iron Post just mmiight get some of my business then, since I like the music). The importance of this struck home this morning as I walked through the college and overheard a discussion: "And who is *really* going to enforce the smoking ban? It's going to be the public..."
Not only does general-public-opinion rather strongly affect our odds of getting changes in, say, road and path construction, but in the longer term stuff after that, and of course our general necks and safety right now. The Smoke-Free folks worked hard to "tip" people who were curious and educable. THey found converts (the Applebee's fellow who was very surprised and did a turnaround when his restaurants in towns that went smoke free did *not* lose money).
Our speaker also talked about the idea of "changing normalcy."
When someone rides down Randolph wiht kids, people shout and are alarmed that those poor children are being endangered.
I guess they look at it as if the kids were walking down the street ... in a bad neighborhood. They're being endangered.
Why do we accept that our streets are "bad neighborhoods" to be on, dangerous places to broach? WOuldn't it be excellent - and worth aiming for - to have streets that everybody *knew* were so safe, and drivers so courteous that - oh, my heavens!! - a person could ride a bicycle down them... maybe even with kids ... and that people DID this, on a regular basis, because it was a nice, normal thing to do?
I"m not suggesting this for Springfield or University (dodge those ambulances, do!). Randolph, though... Main... Race... c'mon, let's dream!

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