Monday, November 25, 2013

Upstate News Update

I'm a little behind the times on this one, but there has been a flurry (excuse the pun - it's supposed to be cold the next few days) of bike planning activity. Some of it has been posted on this blog, while others have been in the local news. It's been great to hear that the interest in making better places for folks to bike in the upstate continues. Let's get a round up of what's been taking place this fall:

Greenville County has been busy promoting several projects for updates to a  biking and walking master plan. The Greenville News reported that the local BikeWalk Greenville group has taken action to improving local connections, intersections and routes for people to walk and bike in the community. Proposed improvements include more along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, along Haywood Road and the intersection at Wade Hampton Boulevard and Pleasantburg Drive.

Earlier this month, the cities of Easley and Pickens came together to host a public workshop for the Doodle Line Trail.  Over 100 people came out - despite Clemson University's Thursday Night's home football game was going on at the same time. Didn't make it out, and still want to have your voice be heard? Fill out the Doodle Line Feasibility questionnaire. Not sure on the date to submit it to either City Hall, so try to do it before the end of the first week of December. The Doodle Line is a 8.5 old rail line that will be converted to a shared path (think the Rails to Trails program). This event was the latest in the over-year-long process to bring some life back to the once-vibrant route.

One event that I didn't get to due to being under the weather, but I had planned on attending, was the Upstate Women's Forum. Held in Greer, the inau"girl" event was an evening of discussing women's cycling issues, networking and, in imagine, a fun time. (If someone who attended would be interesting in doing a guest blogpost, let me know! I think it would be great to share the experience with those who were unable to attend!) Events like this to bring women of the Upstate together is important to building stronger bridges and coalition. I look forward to the next event held under this name.

Clemson University hosted their second Bike Week. It was great to see the University continue to support and host events around bike education, repairs and fun! Students from across campus participated in the various events. One of the newer events was focused on teaching the students how to use the bike repair station.  

If there's an event I missed, please let me know. It's great that the excitement continues to build in making the upstate a more bicycle-friendly place.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

No Longer Acceptable

Not too long ago, this article in the New York Times caught my attention. With the title "Is It OK to Kill Cyclists?," it was meant to grab attention. Upon further reading, the article brought up some good points that I thought were important to share, especially in the Upstate where communities are in the midst of planning and building bike systems that will be with us for (at least) the next 20 years.

The article focuses on the idea that we're at a sort of crossroads in many places across the United States. Our culture has grown accustom to the cars having the right-of-way. Bicycle riders, especially the "brave, wacky" few starting in the counter-culture of the 1970's, were few and far between on the roads. A few may recall neighbors from a time past where bicycle riding was one of the ways to get around, as the Greenville News highlighted in an article last year, but that was not the norm.

People have gotten comfortable driving their cars, moving from place to place, sometimes growing complacent in their commutes. With the rise of bicycling - bike lanes, bike paths, cycling clubs, bike share programs, bike to school or work events - there are more people taking to two wheels and remembering the joys perhaps not experienced since childhood. As more people do that in more places, there is cause for concern. Study after study has shown that there is safety in numbers when it comes to bicycle riding - the more people that ride the safer it is. However, until that critical mass is reached in streets and communities across the country, and until society reaches a certain comfortability with cyclists, the number of accidents - deadly accidents - will rise. And, as the NYT article points out, society seems to be too comfortable with that.

By building suitable, safe bikeways that are meant for ALL riders, of ALL ages and abilities, and by starting to implement educational programs in our elementary and secondary schools, over time, perhaps in the not-to-distance future, we can create a society where bicycling deaths are no longer acceptable.

Monday November 18 UpdateA bill to enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety is up for bidding in Congress. Do your part, take a stand and act today to make the bill a reality.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Doodle Line Workshop

Y'all come! There's more happening with the Doodle Trail in the Upstate. The Greenville News reports that there will be a public workshop for the Doodle Rail Trail Feasibility Study for the cities of Easley and Pickens on November 14 from 5:30 - 7:30. Join in on the fun and let your voice be heard in the mulitpurpose room at the Pickens YMCA at 2223 Gentry Memorial Hwy. For more info, contact Easley or Pickens City Hall.