Friday, November 13, 2009

Omaha World Herald: "More Bikes, More Awareness"

Thanks to OWH reporter Bob Glissman for the article in today's paper about bike commuting in Omaha. Ben's story has now been heard!! Thanks and credit also to Scott Redd for getting the ball rolling with the story in the first place.

...and companion piece about the Bike Omaha 20 mile loop:



AOJules said...

Let me also add: The comments section at the bottom of the OWH article (online) is already heating up. Let's make sure we get our voices heard!! (Especially if things start getting really heated - rational voices will be needed.)

Biker Bob said...

Rational voices... yup. So far it's been reasonably civil with the typical "why are THEY not on the sidewalks or using the trails" type comments. Before I started commuting, I would have asked the same question.

The D said...

Heated yes. I thought my comment was civil, but it didn't pass the filters. It is frustrating to read so many uneducated opinions regarding cyclists rights and what's safest for all.

Don Kuhns said...

Don't forget to freep the WH's online poll.

Biker Bob said...

What poll?

Also, I just posted a response on the blog as I can't seem to get my comments to go through properly at the OWH article.

The D said...

The poll is located on the front page of the OWH web site. You have to wait for all of the crap to load then you'll find it hidden somewhere in the middle of the page.

Don Kuhns said...

Biker Bob, either the comments are being OK'd by a moderater before they are posted, or there's some kind of time lag. Check back there. Better yet, go back and post your comment 10 more times so they get annoyed.

erik said...

Sometimes i'm really happy to no longer have to put up with Omaha's bullshit. When I read those comments, I'm reminded of the hundreds of times I risked martyrdom for simply doing the right thing by riding a bicycle on those arterial sprawling streets that dominate O-town.

Keep it up, it's important to do but damn scary.

Also, there are some backwards idiots in the world.

Also, screw the planners and developers who let Omaha sprawl like it has.

erik said...

shame on the world herald for running a poll on the facts of the law -- I don't care if most people in omaha "think" that bicyclists should be on trails -- most people in omaha believe a lot of false truths.

though, i will say the world herald comes off well like the 1950s conservative rag endemic to towns stuck in 1950s traffic planning paradigms.

dale said...

Well, I do find the poll of value as an unscientific stat on people's attitudes. This indicates the amount of work to do from our perspective. Calling people names and wishing them ill is not the right response.

I doubt the planners and developers had evil motivations in the urban sprawl design, but you probably consider capitalism and providing choices evil. Cheap land, cheap fuel, subsidized roads and parking, social dynamics, customer choices, etc., were part of the calculus that produced what we have.

Now sustainability is coming to the forefront and will increasing have more and more weight in the design and building code requirements. I'm sure there are unintended consequences in this green movement that will need mediation in the future. If only the planners and developers were omniscient so they could see the mediation needed before they happen.

erik said...

now you call me a socialist for calling out the suburban form we sold our city out for?

far from it. capitalism functions much better with more efficient transportation forms. I just sat in on a talk given by a member of Amsterdam's board of commerce about how much better urban economies function when you can prune unnecessary car travel.

the poll in question is tantamount to asking "should black people be afforded equal rights under the law?" -- it eschews the fact of the matter for the sake of soft polling on an issue which risks lives.

the reason portland works is due to the fact that they set a limit to their sprawl when they realized it was out of control and impossible to fund with tax monies. if you want a biking city that works, as it does there, it is in our best interest to work to improve density. our city planners and developers failed us, plan and simple--call it for what it is.

erik said...

omniscience isn't required, we've known that suburban form is a failure since the 60s (as have we known about climate change caused by greenhouse emissions).

again, what i am saying isn't radical or a stretch in the least.

might i recommend the book "suburban nation" by the respected planner andres duany?

the facts have been in for some time, if you look at the studies and examples drawn by many in the field.

Biker Bob said...

Thanks Erik. I'll have to track that book down.

We are all passionate about this topic, and learning in the process. So lets be patient with eachother.

The poll in question is a bit silly. I agree that it does measure attitudes, but it could have been worded differently and still been useful at guaging attitudes towards utility cyclists on Omaha streets.

dale said...

erik, your inflamatory language "Omaha's bullshit" "screw the planners and developers". produces so much noise in my mind that the valuable parts of your message are drowned out.

Do you talk like that to those people face to face? I hope I would walk away if you talked to me like that, instead of escalating the threats and disrespect.

I see your attitude and disrespect towards those you disagree with as no different from those drivers who disrespect cyclists.

I also think its not just the planners and developers who created urban sprawl. There were economic reasons - cheaper to build in the suburbs; new buildings, new schools, new stores vs run down or poorly maintained older city; less traffic (initially); less crime.

Even with the suburbs, go into the collar counties and look at those who want acreage, not just a postage stamp lot. Those developers were meeting a need. If the need wasn't there, those developments would have went empty.

IMO, your ranting style fits better on Jerry Springer than in a productive dialogue with those in power.

erik said...

Dale, your understanding of the history of suburbia is one-sided at best. It is not economically viable, and it is wildly inefficient. The fact that a demand for something exists doesn't make it ok, we are moral beings--not market ones.

Perhaps my dialogue comes off as brash, but if you look to the nature of the situation -- lives being lost for the sake of illusory convenience on the part of a few -- righteous anger is justified.

The future is coming, and it is an open question as to whether we will catch up with it our fail as a society (and even, as a species).

I don't see any pressure being put on those who allow our road systems to be abject failures, only token thanks for faux-fixes. We should be angry and voice a strong objection to bullshit--this happened in towns that are miles ahead of us, Portland being one good example.

Strong and complete advocacy must continually push for the best solution, until it is reached. We must keep our eyes on the larger picture in this regard. That you don't see the interconnection between a sprawling isolated built environment, unsustainable lifestyle choices, self-destructive ideologies, and active transportation exclusion... I can only go so far in a blog commentary post. All I can do is ask that you acquaint yourself with the scientific and phenomenological data readily available on the topic -- this isn't really a debated issue any longer in contemporary planning discourse. The facts are in, so to speak.