sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Monday, April 10, 2006

....I read with interest the N&R's lead story and accompanying editorial on efforts to make Greensboro more hikeable and bikeable.

As someone who's been walking and riding his bicycle and Greensboro for 20 years, I disagree that our city unfriendly toward bikers and urban hikers. I'm constantly amazed at how far you can get on a bicycle. Sure, you have to use side streets, but why would one want to pedal down Battleground, even in a bike lane, if you have to endure what Peter Lewis does every day on his way to work — massive tractor trailers" and the foul, choking odor of spent diesel fuel?

That said, I'm willing to listen to the argument that we need more sidewalks and greenways in Greensboro. What kind of nut could possibly be against them? But why can't the N&R make the case without buying into the apocalyptic imagery of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, who says

"....Americans' extreme love affair with their automobiles is a disaster on many fronts: economic, cultural, architectural and in terms of public health."

Of course, it's all for the children, never mind the fact that there are more free-market incentives for kids to exercise today than ever before:

"There will be long-ranging health consequences for children brought up in America's sedentary, drive-everywhere suburban environment. Activity among kids -- walking, biking -- is down. Obesity and Type 2 diabetes are up."

NCBW's Mark Chauncey:

"We may be the first generation in America who lives longer than their children, and our children may live longer than their children," Chauncey said.

A little melodrama never hurts, either:

"The question overlooks why few people walk or ride bicycles: It isn't safe.

"Fixing that will encourage more people to get out of their cars and generate enormous benefits. Imagine if kids could ride their bikes to the park instead of being chauffeured by Mom. If senior citizens could stroll along a shaded greenway. If college students could walk to class from off-campus apartments. If family outings didn't require everyone to pile into an SUV. All that healthy activity, combined with less driving, just might produce a significant gain in quality of life."

Please, help us achieve a significant gain in quality of life. Build more sidewalks.


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