The Bicycle Pedestrian Advocacy group facebook page is a great place to put observations and issues, but discussion gets rather quickly impossible as replies just stack up in facebook fashion. At least part of the problem, as I see it, is that we feel we have to keep all our issues simultaneously in play as we try to discuss any one issue. the result is that we wind up with a lot of polemics and very little substantive sharing. I don’t know where to carry on a better way of collaborating on ideas. But, for starters, I have tried to tease out some of the individual threads in the knotty fabric of our issues. I find all of these topics interesting; yes, all of them (or I wouldn’t have thought of them). No doubt there should be more topics. But, we can’t discuss them all at once in the same paragraphs. I’m just offering this listing as a step that we could take in making the task of advocacy more manageable. I think this is good pedagogy, but feel free to correct me.
If you think this enumeration of topics and subtopics is a good idea, and have more ideas, let me know (email@example.com) and I’ll add them. Then, let’s set a venue for actually discussing some of them and working on solutions.
Topics that need discussion
How we ride, how we are treated
- Bicyclists ride “wild” because, as they say, the laws are written for cars, not bikes. I don’t know a lot of traffic laws that are really inappropriate for bikes, but there are definitely some. So, one topic should be to specify which laws present a problem, what that problem is, and what would make the law better.
- If we come to understand that certain laws are bad for cyclists, how can we go about getting them changed? (Might depend on which laws they are?) Subtopic — what are the obstacles to getting laws changed?
- Ignorance of good cycling practice is a real problem with respect to the general public, but a particularly serious problem with respect to law enforcement officers (LEOs). At least some of the hostility or indifference of cops toward cyclists might just be ignorance. How can we address that ignorance? What steps could we take in Ithaca toward getting the officers of the IPD educated on cycling issues? (I’m assuming we won’t conclude that it’s enough to hand them Section 1234 of the NY vehicle code.)
- There are a lot of cyclist behaviors that are illegal, that annoy people, that are dangerous. Can we distinguish between them? Does the cycling community have an interest in reducing or correcting these behaviors? If so, how would it improve things?
- Is it possible to form a cycling community — i.e., do cyclists have enough in common that they can form a common front in pursuing improved cycling conditions? Or are we an array of different interest groups with different or even incompatible needs?
- How bad are the conditions for cycling in Ithaca? Is it the same for all types of cycling and cyclist? Is there a “worst problem” that we should address?
- Enforcement — if we could set guidelines for enforcing traffic law for cyclists, what would they be?
- Since there are persistent reports of inappropriate police response to inappropriate motorist behavior, should we set up a reporting system and publicize it to all cyclists? Any redress has to begin with a gathering of evidence, no?
- Bike lanes — do we want them? If so, what would be the priorites for where to put them?
- Maintaining existing bike lanes, can we improve over the fading paint?
- Routes through Ithaca –
o Safe route from the TC Library to Cass Park and/or LACS?
o Safe route from the TC Library and/or the Soutside CC to Buttermilk Falls SP
- Bike parking, sheltered parking, security, etc.
- Often things happen and most of us know nothing about it — should there be a notification system for the cycling community? (BPAC has encountered the same thing; solutions?)
Specific projects, wanted or unwanted — Stuff is planned that changes our city for cyclists as well as motorists. Often, these changes are unexpected, or they seem unnecessary or counterproductive. Projects we can think of are never considered for implementation. Can we create a discussion and see if we can influence the city? These are just some things I think about; please add more.
- Waterfront Trail — where it goes, how fast it’s developed, what the pieces look like? The existing parts of the trail go through Cass Park and Stewart Park, and those parts are really nice. But, in other places, there may be options for the development that we might want to have input on; or even just advance notice. Should we try to get more involved?
- Bridge over the Inlet — one of the things that I feel regretful about regarding the development around the Inlet is that the bridges are built purely as utilitarian conveyances, to get cars over the channel. In some other cities I’ve seen bridges in comparable places where there are “bump-outs” in the center of the bridge, places with benches, even tables, where people can stop and linger with a great view of the waterway. The trail is due to have a bridge built over the inlet. Should we have views on the matter? What do you think about using a bridge as more than just a roadway or walkway?
- Brindley Street bridge — I understand that the bridge leading from State St to Brindley is due to be demolished and replaced with a “proper” roadway/bridge. I love the Brindley St bridge because it incorporates “traffic calming” with a situation in which residents of the community come in connection with each other, negotiate priority, and manage their traffic flow. No signals or bumps or rumblestrips required. At the same time, the bit of a bottleneck insures that the route of Brindley – Taber – Cherry – Malone – South Titus can get a timid bicyclist from West Hill or Cass Park to the east side of NY 13 in relative comfort. Enlarging the bridge will bring more, faster traffic and that safe route will disappear. Agree or disagree?
- I hear that the State Street bridge over the flood control channel is due to be transformed into a bike lane plus reduced traffic lanes. Much to learn, think about.