Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ada County Wins the Bronze!

It was all over the local news. Back-slapping all around, because Ada County is recognized for being bike-friendly. (And you may have seen the distinctive purple signs that have been put up on roadways into town.)

According to the write-up in the Daily Newspaper (click HERE to read), "This award is presented only to communities with remarkable commitments to bicycling." That according to Bill Nesper of the League of American Bicyclists.

I was a member of the ACHD Bicycle Advisory Committee 2 years ago, when Ada County originally received the recognition. (Click HERE to see what I said at the time. I thought ACHD "fudged" about bike-education efforts in our area, and also on incentives-to-ride.) But the recognition is likely deserved; ACHD has shown a commitment to the infrastructure, and they are stretching their dollars to maximize return. (And ACHD is not in the educatin' business... that duty should be done by law enforcement, with help from the public schools.)

Oh, how I wish there were more done to educate the road-going public, both motorists and cyclists. And along with that education effort must be some enforcement. If there are laws on the books to govern cyclist behavior, but those laws are seldom if ever enforced unless an accident is involved, what's the point of having laws?

I'm somewhat bothered by this (from the article): "ACHD's designation as a bicycle friendly community has already helped secure a federal grant that could help make a scenic byway near Kuna even more of an attraction for walkers and cyclists. An $800,000 National Scenic Byways grant may go toward an expanded shoulder along Swan Falls Road."


Is the most pressing cyclist-need in Ada County a wide shoulder at Swan Falls?!?

I'm sorry, but that is stupid!!! Reminiscent of Senator Ted Stevens' Alaska "bridge to nowhere"!

How many cyclists in the county ride to Swan Falls? And is heavy traffic an issue out there? (I've ridden out there exactly twice in 22 years. Both times, I was delighted to have the road pretty much all to myself, and in a meaningful way. When you can see 3 miles in front of you and 3 miles behind... and you're the only vehicle in sight, you are not thinking, "Boy, if only there were some nice shoulders on this road, the Ada County Bike Puzzle would be complete.") Your tax (and bicycle) dollars at work.

1 comment:

db said...

After riding almost 50 miles on Sunday around Nampa, Sunny Slope, and Lake Lowell, I'm with you on that last part, regarding Swan Falls. I was riding on roads like Deer Flat, Map Rock, Chicken Dinner, and Powerline. No bike lanes, and no problems. Especially since in the 3-plus hours of riding, I saw THREE other cyclists -- all in the last hour, near Lake Lowell.

I'm sure we all have streets here in Boise to which we'd like to see bike lanes or wide shoulders added. I'd vote for State St., Fairview, and Glenwood, for instance. Some ACHD board member must live out near Kuna. ;)

Seriously, I'm guessing that the reason is that a National Scenic Byways grant can only be used on a National Scenic Byway. That road to Swan Falls is such a creature.

Here's a link to the ACHD release about it:
http://tinyurl.com/2lkwym (pdf file)
Note the small comment window: Feb. 16 - Feb. 26. Nice touch.