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Friday, May 04, 2007

Last night's meeting for public input for the Bicycle Master Plan went well. WCIA reported on it - the visual header saying "bicyle safety" and I'm afraid the concluding phrase was something about when they could start building bike paths. I wish I had paid more exact attention; I may send a little letter imploring WCIA et al to consider that odd word "routes" since when I'm riding down John Street, nobody would say I was on a path.
Media aside, the meeting was well-attended with over 60 folks. Show of hands at the beginning indicated that 30+ people had heard about it via email; roughly 8 folks via fliers or bike hangers and about *3* via radio/TV. I would think this doesn't mean to forget the fliers - we want to be a *presence* that the general public is aware of, even if they don't come to meetings if they're not already invested enough to be on an email list. Recreational riders were also in the acute minority; over half the people there used the bike for practical purposes and had a green-looking lean. Hmmm.... can't remember any other questions (nobody asked "who's got more than 500 miels? 1000? ... :-)) The media didn't seem to notice that.
Then Ed Barsotti showed a good Powerpoint about different cycling route options. The media didn't seem to notice that.
Then we each colored in our personal copies of the regional map with our ideas. Of course, Ed's got my whole map that we spent a lot more time on... but I highlighted my favorite issues - overpasses, access over the RRs, and for my student, the downtown area.
Then we broke up into regional groups & I picked the NE because it has an overpass and there were just three of us there.
The nifty thing was that basically, the six groups were harmonious. ONly one table cited having "different kinds of bicyclists" - in other words, a fair number of people who thought bicycles Needed to Be Separated Completely, vs. experienced cyclists. (Ed Barsotti's p[resentataion addressed this. The media missed that, too.) Generally, there honestly weren't a lot of "we need bike paths! we need bike paths!" people there. The tone was more "these are the places we need safe bicycle acces to," and people actually focused a lot of attention on arteries, not teeny side roads that people could ride on for a half mile for their exercise and look like bike paths.
The other nifty thing was that so many different groups had priorities which were contiguous with the next group's. So, we noted access to downtown from NE... and downtown noted access to us.
We did have a brief commentary from a member of the previous bicycling commision, drily wishing us luck, stating that his nose was a bit out of joint because in the past, cycling commission contributions were simply ignored. I can't tell if it's freshly out of joint and/or why ... I'm glad to say that speakers were able to address the history brought up because actually, yes, they did know about the failed efforts to make California a bikes-only lane. I think the comments by Brandon Bowersox about that were on target (as opposed to political blather) when he noted that we simply know a *lot* more about what works and what doesn't work. What *I* don't know is what kinds of things those folks put forward... and how much effort they made in educating people, as we're going to have to persist in doing, to keep that "bicyclists want paths" mindset from paving over all efforts to do anything different.
I suppose we're also going ot have to figure out a way to prevent the public from being afraid of cyclists on the streets, too.

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You should check out the video about Physically Separated Bike lanes at
if you haven't already.
I have ... CHampaign-Urbana is **very** different from New York.
Sue: Sounds like a great meeting and a great bunch of cyclists.
I know that good ole Monticello, IN is way smaller than Shampoo-Banana, but a small group of cyclists is trying to put together a bike plan. We are fortunate enough to have a reporter from the local paper in our group. Its a great way to make sure the content that gets picked up by the media is the "correct" content.
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