Thursday, October 21, 2010

Letter To The Editor

In response to this story in the Thursday Examiner, I decided to write a letter to the Editor. Despite doing this bicycle thing for several years, and hearing every silly argument against developing infrastructure that benefits all users, I am still amazed when those who chose to live life not tethered to a motor vehicle are characterized as "abnormal". What a silly thing to get stuck on- a person's worth and relative value based on the horsepower and energy source of their personal transportation.

Just to introduce myself, I am a 40 year old, married mother of three here in Sunnyside / Glen Park, where I have lived since 1993. Like many in this part of town, my children attend the local public schools, I grocery shop in the area, get my cleaning done here and use our local library. My family owns two cars and we depend on street parking as we require the use of our garage for other things. My husband commutes to Mill Valley every day, by car.

We are "normal people" and we live a "normal" family life. Our day looks like this- my husband walks our youngest to school and then drives to work, my middle kid takes the bus to her middle school and the oldest rides his bicycle to high school. While I have commuted solely by bicycle and BART (to the east Bay) for several years, I am now a housewife. I do all of my errands in SF by bicycle and ride through Glen Park everyday to either shop or pass through on my way elsewhere.

As a bicyclist and pedestrian, the current proposed changes to Glen Park would benefit me greatly. As a driver, they do the same thing. Making Glen Park a place people want to walk and ride in makes it a place that people don't feel they have to drive in. More people choosing to walk and ride instead of drive means fewer cars, less competition for parking and more room for seniors and children to get around safely. I look forward to the changes coming!

Adrienne Johnson

The O'Chan Christmas Card Picture
We look normal to me.


8 comments:

  1. I run in to this mentality all the time, as South Texas hates bicyclists. "You want bike lanes?" they say "You pay for 'em!"

    Do they honestly not realize that more people commuting by bicycle equals fewer people in cars on the road, meaning less traffic and a faster commute for them? I'd gladly pay the cost of painting the bike lanes if it meant I had to battle fewer drivers every morning!

    Normal, indeed :)

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  2. Here in North Texas they actually have Bike Bans and Strict laws. The rural town Bartonville is a popular spot to cycle in the DFW and they have limited to 10 people group limit.
    I myself commute on weekdays on bicycle and I always get honked at or yelled at for following bicycle guidelines. I know it's dangerous sometimes out there but it's my lifestyle; I choose not to drive on trips that can be done on a bike. Texas assumes everyone would be traveling by car and doesn't take in thought of everyone else.

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  4. You have to notice though that those statements are *not* the reflections of the author of the article, but the people being quoted. The plans mentioned in the article encourage cycling. It just says that Miriam Ross thinks that people who ride bikes are abnormal.

    And to her I scoff. I'm 19 and I rely heavily on my bike on campus, around my neighborhood, and for almost everything else. I'm pretty sure there are people like here among the people I run into everyday that think I'm strange, especially my parents (actually I think they would be first in line to think I'm strange). But I would call it smart, not strange. I used to drive to school everyday, but I always found it to be depressing, even with my favorite tunes blasting. Then I moved to a bike-friendly neighborhood and my life changed for the [way] better.

    It's one of those things that you have to try to find out that you like it. I tried it, and I won't ever look back to the car as my main form of transport. I'm pretty sure if people like Ross try it, she won't turn back either.

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  5. Normal? I think you guys look FANTASTIC!!

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  6. The plan sounds great! And if it encourages more families to become happy, healthy and more relaxed (like yours, Adrienne, from the looks and sounds of it) then that is fantastic. I can't believe that there would be many like Miriam who was quoted in the article that wouldn't welcome a more friendly and relaxed atmosphere in their neighbourhood! It would just be crazy! Cars zooming by and filling up the streets as opposed to a quieter cleaner place full of pedestrians and cyclists enjoying the outdoors? Doesn't seem like much of a decision, even to many people who are frequent car users.

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  7. Love this letter! The family portrait made me laugh - you'd look more normal if you didn't look so happy and energetic :) Go bikes and normal people!

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  8. I agree with Dottie wholeheartedly. And at least the funds are secure for the bike lanes you young whippersnappers.

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