Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Garden City - bike friendly?

Is Garden City part of Ada County's noble effort to get the Bronze Medal for bike-friendliness?

Ironically, on the same day as the Bronze Medal was newsworthy, there was another story, "No bikes allowed on part of Greenbelt." (Story HERE.)

As reported by Channel 12's Dan Hamilton, "A section of the Greenbelt in Garden City will soon be off limits to bikes. The trail is supposed to be bike-free already, but apparently a lot of cyclists continue to ignore that fact. So Garden City officials are now working to turn the no bikes allowed rule into law."

(There's a similar section a few miles upriver and on the south side, where bikes are banned supposedly to protect the fragile ecosystem. Evidently the furry little creatures have no problem with the mansions along the riverside, or gaggles of pedestrians, but the sound of a rolling bicycle wheel is just intolerable. I don't speak from experience. I've never ridden or walked on the stretch in question.)

The story goes on to say, "Incidentally, none of the people we spoke to along the trail have ever had a problem with cyclists, and many of them have never seen a person riding a bike there. Some of them believe there is just a small group of people making much ado about nothing." But I'm sure the mayor and city council are anxious to nip this thing in the bud.

I tried to find more info on the Garden City website. I didn't find this story, but I found a rather odd goal listed in their 2006-07 Comprehensive Plan (click HERE to read the original.)

Section 5.7.4 states, as a goal, "Support efforts to encourage courtesy and respect among greenbelt users, with the needs of recreational users taking priority over commuter cyclists. Consider licensure of bicycles, more volunteers and police presence on the greenbelt."

Now, I've got no problem with increased efforts to make the Greenbelt bike-friendly, and promote courtesy... but "recreational" users get priority over transportation cyclists? Why? Is this one more evidence that the City Fathers tend to view bikes as toys, not transportation? Are "commuter cyclists" the root of all Greenbelt problems? I believe that goal needs a bit more 'splainin'.

(By the way, I ride in Garden City almost every day. Adams Street is one of my favorites, for bike-friendly design. And the south-shore Greenbelt through Garden City is likely my favorite "urban" stretch along the entire distance. I'm just wondering why they don't like me.)

UPDATE, May 30: The citizens of Garden City will sleep a little easier tonight. The City Council has officially made it a misdemeanor to ride on their pedestrians-only stretch of Greenbelt. (Kate Brusse's Idaho Statesman story HERE.) Why misdemeanor? Why not felony? (Nudge nudge, wink wink)

It's amazing what some folks consider to be priority safety issues. How about enforcing some of the existing laws? Like riding bikes against traffic on the roads? (I know... I sound like a broken record...er...um... a "skipping CD" on that issue.) Against-traffic cycling is "not a priority violation." We need to go after the REAL criminals - the ones who are riding on the unpaved stretch of greenbelt, destroying peace and serenity, and threatening everything we hold dear! Okay... I've vented...


Anonymous said...

Seems like a bad precendent to create a law for a specific piece of private property. I realize laws govern conduct on private property, but this is too specific.

As for Garden City's comp plan, that is just plain silly. That is why Garden City will always be the little brother of Boise. Why not aspire to greater than Boise in this aspect?

db said...

Hunh, that doesn't seem bicycle-friendly to me at all. I'd like to find out what, exactly, is motivating the city to craft that rule.

And I'd love to see them enforce it. I might see for myself how able they are to do that. What if I don't have any ID on me? ;)