Thursday, June 14, 2007

Garden City Bicycle Renegades

Garden City is in an enviable position. They've taken care of all their really big problems, so now they can focus on issues like bicyclists on the walking path.

Here's their new ordinance...
(Garden City Code Title 10, Chapter 1, Section 3) No person in any park shall ... Ride a bicycle on portions of the Garden City Greenbelt system that have been officially designated and signed by the City as "pedestrian only" sections of the greenbelt.

If you do so, you are guilty of a misdemeanor.

The "pedestrian only" section at the heart of the controversy is an unpaved stretch of the Greenbelt that runs between houses and the river, in the Riverside Village subdivision.

I wrote about this before (click HERE to review), but new information is coming to light.

According to a guest opinion on the Idaho Statesman website, written by Garden City resident Gary Segers, Mayor John Evans lives in Riverside Village. Coincidence? (I s'pose it could be argued that Mayor Evans knows of the bicycle crisis firsthand, since he's been personally victimized by the unauthorized bicycling.) Also, Segers states, "... in the early 1980s, Mayor Evans was a principal in the company that developed Riverside Village." Coincidence?

Apparently the Riverside Villagers were given the assurance that the path would be for pedestrians and dog-walkers, and that bicyclists would be forbidden.

Why is it an issue?

Because, as Mr. Segers points out, the only real alternative is State Street (or Highway 44, if you prefer), a 5-lane, 55mph highway. Experienced cyclists can handle it fine... but you really don't want children out there on their training-wheel bikes, etc. If I had young children bicycling on State Street, I'd consider that a bigger issue than the backyard reverie of a dozen or so homeowners who have the extreme misfortune of living along the river (and the pedestrian path).

If Mayor Evans lived in Boise, he'd probably be familiar with the concept of Eminent Domain... where private property is appropriated for use by the public. (Kinda like those folks on Ustick Road, who are losing their front yards so the farther-out people can have a speedier commute on a wider road.) Also, Mayor Evans seems rather myopic. Does he understand the concept of the "Greenbelt"? Theoretically, it will stretch all along the river, even in Garden City. To have one short forbidden patch along the way kinda defeats the purpose, no?

Is there something about bicycles, or bicyclists, that is particularly repulsive to the Riverside Village People? Is it the squeaky chains? (I bet it's the squeaky chains!! I know they annoy me!) Frankly, I'd rather have passing-thru bicyclists on a path in my back yard than passing-thru dogs... know what I mean? Why don't they widen and pave the Riverside Village path, and bring it into conformity, and be done with it? In the immortal words of Mr. Spock, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." (Commie!)


db said...

As I indicated on your earlier post about this issue, I'm a little disgusted by this whole thing.

But I'm a little disgusted with this area and biking in general right now. I'm not trying to hijack this thread, but here's more super news for bikers in the area:

Bear baiting near biking/hiking trails

db said...

I don't know if any of you guys knew Nick Raganit. He was a very active public advocate for recreational cycling here in Boise, especially trail etiquette for mountain bikers, and helped a lot of folks new to bicycles get started (or re-started). He died this weekend very suddenly, on a bike ride up to Idaho City.

Click here for the local paper's story.

He worked at REI and also was active in several Yahoo Groups message boards. So I thought some of you (locals) might've met Nick.

Sorry to be the one passing this along. It's really hard to believe that a 34-year-old cyclist with no family history could die of a heart attack. :(

Bikeboy said...

db... I saw the blurb on the Statesman website. How sad and surprising. (When an experienced cyclist succumbs, you can't help but wonder, "What went wrong?" I guess nobody knows when he's going to check out, huh? Enjoy each day to the fullest.)

I never knew Nick, but his name is familiar.

Anonymous said...

You've got some great thoughts on this issue, bikeboy. I'm trying my best to keep up the pressure on GC to do something about this. But we need more people to express their outrage about this dumb decision on GC's part. People need to contact GC elected officials and write letters to both the Statesman and Boise Weekly. Thanks again bikeboy, Gary Segers