“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.”
The City of Boston is launching a new and incredibly awesome bike-sharing program that will allow folks to rent, for a minimal fee, bicycles for short periods of time and ride them from point to point around the inner city area. For folks familiar with Zipcar, this is a similar idea only with bikes — and the added bonus you can pick up and drop of your cycle at different locations, making them an attractive way to commute to work if you’re running a little late in the morning. All in all, this is a great pilot program for the city, making it easier for folks to get around quickly and relatively cheaply — not to mention promoting “green” alternatives to gasoline-based transit.
Not everyone thinks so, however. Contrarian Brian McGrory thinks Boston should go the opposite direction and make the city bicycle free.
Say … WHAT?
My partner Hanna has a few choice words to say about that suggestion:
Boston Globe op-ed columnist Brian McGrory wants to ban bicycles from Boston. Why does he want to do this? Well, they annoy him. Folks on bikes — he doesn’t like ’em. Latex, not his thing. L.L. Bean cycling outfits leave him cold. And he feels cyclists as a group are rude, inconsiderate, thoughtless people.
Isn’t it good that all Boston drivers are so considerate, thoughtful, and attentive people, then.
You never walk past one — and I walk everywhere — who is texting while driving.
You never walk past one who has just cut off an old lady on a crosswalk in an attempt to cut off someone else for on-street parking.
You never go through a pedestrian crossing and feel a breeze on the back of your legs as someone takes an illegal right turn.
Nah. In Boston? Man, that’d never happen.
(I said it was a good headslap moment, didn’t I?)
Are there rude cyclists in Boston? Sure — of course there are, because they’re people and people — along with demonstrating a wide variety of other behaviors — can be rude. You know what this means? There are also rude drivers in Boston …
… Beacon Hill? Built for cars? Yeah, sure — that first wave of settlers who began building around what was then an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean were totally working on spec for Chevy. Don’t insult my intelligence, Mr. McGrory; it makes me grumpy. Try checking some facts past the Mass Historical Society, the State Archives, and the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections next time — they can tell you exactly when the main roads of the city were laid out and when the city started being “designed for cars.”
Tell you what, Mr. McGrory. You want to reduce traffic congestion in Boston? I thoroughly support this idea. This is a fantastic idea.
Here’s how to do it.
Take a leaf from the books of London and Paris and ban private passenger vehicles from Beacon Hill, the North End, Downtown Crossing, and the financial district. I can think of a few other choice areas — like Harvard Yard — but those will do to start with…
Click through to …fly over me, evil angel… for the whole post.
Use the comment section to share your own suggestions for making urban areas more people-friendly for all. What are your pet peeves when it comes to sharing public spaces and what solutions do you have to offer? What have the cities where you live tried? Has it worked? Has it back-fired?