Editor, The Messenger,
THUMP! That’s the sound of the other cycle-shoe dropping. After the super successful narrowing of the East State St car lanes to accommodate the hordes of cyclists (I have counted two so far) willing to risk life and limb on a busy thoroughfare just to avoid the relative safety of the nearby bike path (on a recent 45-minute walk I counted at least a dozen such ingrates of all ages), City Council now offers us the delights of a “Complete Streets” project.
A Google search suggests that this means more bike paths, narrower driving lanes, and some greenery to give an environmental twist to the project. Perhaps Stimson Avenue will – eventually, but when(?) – prove them far-sighted.
All this may be environmentally correct, but in light of the un-success of the East State project, I have to ask:
1. What is the cost/benefit ratio? Has the Council done a usage count (East State vs the adjacent bike path)? Or the Columbus Road lanes? I have yet to encounter a two-wheeler there. The Council minutes I have seen are not informative in this respect.
2. Is health the issue? Breathing in the fumes of recalcitrant motorists who insist on using car lanes for cars would seem to be counterproductive.
3. Is the goal that Athens be designated a “bike-friendly community”, no matter the reality? I understand there may be grant money available, which always looks good on a resumé.
Or perhaps the bike lanes are really just a far-sighted plan to boost the local economy. After all, “if we build them, they will come . . .” to buy more bikes, and the bike shops can “pedal” their cycles and accessories. I look forward to the economic boom.