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Showing a little love for the bicycle goes a long way

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When people choose a bicycle to connect to their destinations, whether it be for work, consumption, play, or friendship, they are engaged with the freedom and independence of self-powered movement. As such, they are tapping into an energy from deep within that naturally flows from our ancient history of standing up-right and moving forward one-step at a time–only, the beauty of riding a bicycle is an über efficiency that turns one-step equivalent into 10 feet or more giant moon steps.

It is empowering.

The bicycle has provided freedom to millions (billions?) who might otherwise feel detained in a much smaller world than one that can be experienced with a bicycle. In most of the world, including the United States, they have done so without the consideration the fine act deserves. The result is that the many don’t consider the bicycle a realistic daily tool of transportation.

Embrace the bike

The environment is changing though.

Communities all over the world, not just Michigan, are realizing that we have over-built for one mode of locomotion and though the automobile has its place in society, it is imperative that where there are population clusters that we design to drastically curb the speeds and behaviors of our driving selves. Expectations of entitlement to the rights of way reserved for people passing through at 35-45-mph in a 2-ton transportation pod are no longer acceptable and no longer affordable. We need a more mixed-mode approach, that encourages people to realize their own innate abilities to move themselves free of petrol-combustion.

In Traverse City, for all the criticisms thrown out from this blog, progress is being made.

Support for the on-street bicycle parking, that James Bruckbauer wrote about here on Monday, will continue to build. It is an intelligent way to free-up our sidewalk spaces for more people on foot and increase retail opportunities like sidewalk cafe’s.  At the same time, it encourages people to choose a two-wheeled approach to going downtown, thus freeing-up other parking spaces reserved for people who for whatever circumstance require an automobile on occasion. Done well, one parking spot can provide parking for 12-15 secure bicycles–read, 12-15 customers.

Another positive sign in Traverse City, is the announcement yesterday of what it being called the development of non-motorized plan through the City planning commission. The details are yet to be seen, but it’s promising to hear that planning commissioners Tim Werner and Jennifer Jaffe are leading it up. This plan was called for in the newly adopted master plan and with a little effort, follow-through, and commitment by City staff and commission could really be a launching point for Traverse City to become a platinum walking and biking city within the next 30 years. As Werner was quoted in the Record Eagle, the goal is a city where “your kids can be safe biking down the street, but also your 80-year-old neighbor.” A great way to do that, is to increase the numbers.

Two positives among many.

Now, let’s get back to work protecting, ensuring, and expanding our freedoms. 

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