Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jane: Letter to the Editor about Biking

From Nesmith Family Blog
Our City Council is debating whether to close one of our main avenues downtown--Second Avenue--close to downtown to make room for a "medical plaza." We seem to have lots of medical plazas around, and maybe making room for another one would be good. But I'm not crazy about closing that road.

Second and Third Avenues are big, wide (3-lane) one-way streets. They have a 30 mph speed limit and few lights. Second goes toward downtown; Third goes away from downtown.

These roads are very important when I bike! I am one of those bikers who hates to ride in traffic. So I love these big, wide, one-way avenues for getting downtown--to the farmer's market in summer, and to Coe during spring and fall.

I decided that rather than just feeling helpless about this council decision, that I'd get active. I wrote to my council person, the "at large" person, and to the editorial page. Maybe Dad was whispering this suggestion to me. "Write them a letter!" he'd say.

So this is what I said in the letter to the editor (I'll let you know if they publish it!):

As someone who frequently bikes along 2nd Avenue to work, I am not in favor the proposed closure and making traffic two-way on 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

Having two one-way avenues makes riding downtown on a bicycle fairly safe. The lanes are wide, traffic is moving with me as I bike, and anyone who needs to get around me doesn't have to pass against oncoming traffic. If the avenues are made two-way, drivers will be more distracted, and passing a bike will be more dangerous. In addition, there will be more traffic congestion on the avenues because of the closure. I won't want to ride to work in a situation like that.

I see more and more people riding bikes in Cedar Rapids--for exercise or to conserve fuel--so I hope council will consider these issues. Even if the closure plan is passed by council, there should at least be a stipulation for well-marked and well-maintained bike lanes on 2nd and 3rd Avenues so that biking downtown can still be safe.

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