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VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L  February 2007

VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L February 2007

Subject:

Re: Stuart Richards' Comments

From:

Lem Mason <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Lem Mason <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 10 Feb 2007 15:18:43 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (340 lines)

Thank you for sending out Mr. Richards email, Mr. Jacobowitz.
I pretty much agree with everything he has to say. Because I
could not attend the hearings in Montpelier due to work obligations
I sent a long email to a Ms. Durcher(?? I think ?) about my thoughts
on central VT biking as a year 'round commuter in the Rutland area.
A battle will rage terminally between the 'Vehicular Cycling' proponents and
the 'Gimme a nice shoulder or lane' people. I believe peoples reasons for 
what
philosophy they support come from a combination of riding experience and
inate comfort levels with traffic which can vary widely from region to 
region,
state to state, etc.....
I have been reading some very compelling arguments from both side of this
issue in the other emails that have been circulating recently, too.
As cyclists we are presented with a reality that is far different than the
ideal 'The way it should be', one. I also believe that due to the 
afformentioned
split in philosophies we do not present a united front in our efforts to try 
to
get legislature, development plans etc, to go our way.  There hasnt been a
'Promise Keepers/Million Cyclists' type ride to the Capitol or our own 
version of
Stonewall, yet.  We still remain a weak lobby.
Here are my thoughts on the bicycle related issues presented in some of 
these
emails. As individuals who are of a more thoughtful mindset I believe we are
still going to be the ones who will have to make the most consessions no 
matter
what happens. I do not want to see Vermont widen roadways or even repair
some of them but realisticly, we need to ask ourselves will bike lanes get 
more
people out and perhaps strengthen our numbers ?? As a commuter, I have
heard two statements repeated to the point of inducing nausia whenever 
people
find out I ride a bike for main transportation. Statement number one is :
"are you crazy, you are going to get killed" and number two and one I can 
almost
identify with : "Are you one of those ones who holds up traffic ?", and then 
the
obligatory yarn about having to wait behind what was obviously a group of 
club riders
who wouldnt yield on a back road. For the sake of brevity I will comment on 
these
two statements and ones that over time I have come to believe a great 
insight as to
what the non-cycling public thinks of us. The microcosm of the 
macrocosm.........

BIKE LANES: I believe more people would at least try riding if they had a 
safer space
to do it in. Experienced riders will ride vehicuarly if they want to but a 
new rider wont
and really shouldnt. Even though I consider myself a fairly experienced 
rider I prefer lanes
in an area they were available. I only consider them another option 
available to us though,
not a firm 'you a belong over there' that some car drivers might mistakenly 
believe.
Over time, well travelled riders may have forgotten how terrifying it is to 
be a new rider
and get an unprovoked HONK or be crowded into a curb. A new rider may suffer 
far less
of these assaults of uncivility in a dedicated lane.
Having read great opinions on both sides of this issue, I want to say we 
need to do what
will obviously get more people out but also having moved here to live in the 
spectacular
beauty of Vermont it kills me anytime I see anything being built in rural 
areas, especially
when Rutland itself is on the verge of collapse. But, I digress.........

LAWS ~ HUMAN NATURE : Somehow it has become known to car drivers that they
have exclusive rights to the road and we are lowly, second class citizens or 
DUI
convicts who lost our right to drive.  Mounting the bicycle, one is no 
longer a human.
How dare we hold up important people with our stupid kids toy. Get a job, 
get a car !!
Sadly enough, even law enforcement and political entities subconcously share 
this view
to some degree. This is the reality we face and I dont believe it will ever 
change to a
degree that will be totally acceptable to us. Like a hungry Crocodile, I 
personally dont
believe a speeding BMW SUV with NY plates is a changable beast but I do 
believe that
a stepped up program of law enforcement and PSA's might go a long way toward
changing this.  On a recent cross country trip up the whole east coast by 
car, I was
amazed to see what people will voluntarily slow down for.....a wreck on the 
other side
of a highway split by an acre of grass, a racecar on the back of a trailer 
etc, but, to
momentarily slow for another human on a bike is incomprehensible, abstract 
theory.
Laws already written give bicycles right-of-way in ALL traffic situations a 
car and bike
might encounter at the same time. Drivers need to have this hammered into 
thier
conciousness constantly. Tvs ads similar to those morbid drunk driving 
ones....having
VT traffic violation tickets imprinted with 'Slow down, your infraction 
could have killed a
cyclist/ped' perhaps.... "Kill a cyclist, go to prison"........Vt's cycling 
campaigns are far
too soft and sugar coated and not in line with the severity of some of the 
hostilities
that get visited upon daily riding, utilitarian cyclists regularly. It needs 
to be imparted
harshly and constantly that cyclists not only have a right to the road but 
have the
right-of-way to that road. If lawmakers can actually find time to write and 
expect police
agencies to enforce such ridiculous and KGB inspired writs relating to 
smoking in a car
and wearing seat belts they can and will have to find the time to write and 
fund/support
useful legislation that will save our lives too.  We (cyclists) need to look 
inwardly and
change some of our behaviours too.  Just as I would like to see cars pay 
monitarily for
thier transgressions against us, bicycle riders who ride the wrong way up a 
street
unlit at night or blow 4-way stop signs at rush hour need to pay also.  We 
cant claim
to have rights to the road and not act responsibly ourselves.  The people 
who do this
are not the people that share the same concerns we do or even care about 
car/bike
relationships but these are the people care drivers remember when 
formulating an
opinion of bicyclers. Also, I think club riders DO need to yield 
right-of-way out of
courtesy and for the greater good of all when it is obvious cars are 
building up behind
them.  The public remembers this selfish behaviour also.....
To sum up this this epic bore d'force that I apologise for having gone on 
for much longer
than anticipated, I think we are going to have to give to get and the first 
priorities that
need to be addressed are our safe travel through BL's -when approporiate- 
and long term,
high exposure awareness campaign of changing the publics perception and lack 
of
tolerance towards us. I offer these opinions respectfully and hope I have 
not offended
anyone with them.

Be safe,

Lem Mason
Proctor, Vt.


>From: "David W. Jacobowitz" <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: "David W. Jacobowitz" <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: [VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L] Stuart Richards' Comments
>Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2007 09:57:20 -0500
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>
>Dear List,
>Stuart Richards has asked me to distribute his comments on the Ped
>Bike Plan.
>Dave
>==============
>STUART L. RICHARDS
>
>PO Box 156, #82 Elm Street
>Norwich, Vermont 05055
>Tel:  802-649-3928
>Fax:  802-649-3928
>
>
>February 4, 2007
>
>Mr. Scott Bascom, Planning Coordinator
>Policy and Planning Division
>VT Agency of Transportation
>National Life Building, Drawer 33
>Montpelier, VT 05633-5001
>
>Dear Mr. Bascomb:
>
>Re:  Vermont Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan Executive Summary
>
>My comments are based on having lived in many different sized Vermont
>communities for the last 40 years, using my bicycle for both
>transportation
>and recreation.  There is much in this plan  that is encouraging to me
>as a
>pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist. Unfortunately, the lack of specificity
>in the plan will, in my view, keep it from accomplishing it¹s stated
>objectives.  I hope you will pay close attention to the email that Rick
>Hubbard sent you since I agree with most of the points that he made,
>although perhaps he does not carry them quite far enough.
>
>First, the Vision statement is incorrect. It states,  ³The State of 
>Vermont
>provides safe, convenient and accessible conditions for bicyclists and
>pedestrians of all ages and abilities.²   The statement should read, ³The
>State of Vermont seeks to provide safe, convenient, enjoyable and
>accessible
>conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.²   
>The
>reason for the change is that Vermont does not currently provide these
>conditions but hopes to in the future.  I have added the word
>³enjoyable²
>since unless conditions are enjoyable, attempts to promote bicycling
>and
>pedestrian activity will be much less successful.  Similarly, throughout
>the
>document, wherever the word convenient is used, the word
>³enjoyable² should
>be used as well.
>
>This document fails to mention the importance of shoulders, crosswalks,
>storm drains, and  guard rails.  I am deeply disturbed by Vermont¹s
>continued failure to place at least 3 foot paved shoulders on ALL roads
>and
>the failure to require municipalities to include this in their town plans.
>Equally distressing is the elimination or minimization of paved shoulders
>where they previously existed when maintenance and replacement
>projects are
>undertaken.  The placement of storm drains below road surfaces and
>the use
>of certain types of drains is a menace to cyclists.  In addition, the guard
>rails most commonly used with their very sharp top edge are extremely
>dangerous to any cyclist, pedestrian or motorist who lands on that
>edge.
>There are guardrails made  which have a broad, dull, less dangerous
>top
>edges.  Or, if a different rail is not selected, why not modify the 
>existing
>³standard² rail so that the top edge does not menace anyone who
>makes
>contact with it?
>
>Crosswalks and sidewalks are important for pedestrian safety.  There
>should
>be more of them and specific numbers, requirements and standards
>should be
>established and listed in this plan.
>
>Based on years of observation, many guard rails are being installed
>with no
>space between the pavement edge and the guardrail.  This type of
>installation for both new and replacement guardrails forces the cyclist or
>pedestrian toward the dangerous,  traveled portion of the road.
>Wherever
>possible, all guardrails should be installed at least two feet from the
>pavement edge and the policy should state this.
>
>Lastly, the Policy Statement says: At each stage of planning, design,
>construction, implementation, operations and maintenance activities,
>VTrans-funded projects and programs, wherever reasonably feasible,
>should
>accommodate PROMOTE pedestrians and bicyclists USAGE. New
>projects, road
>reconstruction projects and capacity improvements will maintain or
>improve
>existing access and conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists.  Please
>consider changing the word ³accommodate²  in line 3 to ³promote²
>and add the
>word ³usage.²
>
>Thank you very much for considering my comments and thank you also
>for the
>time and effort expended and still to be expended to attempt to
>promote
>bicycle and pedestrian use.   Your efforts and those of your colleagues
>and
>associates are very much appreciated.  As Rick Hubbard has noted,
>you¹ve
>made a good start, now it¹s time to get down to the specifics and
>details,
>without which the Plan is likely to fail.
>
>Sincerely,
>
>Stuart L. Richards
>
>SLR: mtf
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>==========
>VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L: The Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Discussion 
>List
>Subscription control: http://list.uvm.edu/archives/vtbikepedpolicy-l.html.
>For help: email [log in to unmask] with the word "help" in the message 
>body.

_________________________________________________________________
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==========
VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L: The Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Discussion List
Subscription control: http://list.uvm.edu/archives/vtbikepedpolicy-l.html.
For help: email [log in to unmask] with the word "help" in the message body.

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