bike lanes meeting

So, Urbana had an open house for people to talk about their concerns about parking which the bicycle plan would have taken away, yanked, from several short stretches of road (where there are very seldom cars parked what with those htings called driveways).  I and others went to be present on behalf of cyclists, but I did wonder how the “do it for the good of the community and the world” stance would stand against “but where will my friends *park?*”

Welp, there was a contingent of residents there, and no, they didn’t want the bike lanes, but very, very few because it took away their parking.  One lady said that she didn’t live where they were taking the parking away but would have a problem if they’d tried it where she was ’cause yes, people sometimes use the street.  And one fellow… doesn’t have a driveway.

The other folks… welp, I want to learn to converse better with people who don’t make decisions based with their left brains and logic.  After all, according to that inservice before turkey days, the right brainers will take over the world.  They do make decisions — and decisions are affected bty effective communication, so how could a left brainer communicate with them?

That aside,  both in numbers and the nature of their arguments,  I think I can objectively assert that they weren’t effective in presenting convincing arguments against ht ebike lanes.  F’rinstance, the one lady adamantly swore that not one person liked the lanes on Philo or used them.  Welp, I said “you’re meeting one now,” and another person came up later who used it every day… and basically since nobody liked them, they shouldn’t be there; they confused people and nobody listened to the people any more.   Oh, and nobody listened to her but she only extremely reluctantly allowed a word in edgewise (and *only* when I called her on it directly).   I inquired of another lady gazing at the map of Washington what her reasons were for not liking them.  Well, you see, the lanes would end up making the street even *narrower,* and that would mean more traffic!

I asked, saying honestly that I was trying to understand, how making the road narrower would mean more traffic would be going down the road.  Well, … um… the road would be NARROWER!!!  BEcause two bike lanes are wider than a parking lane!!  Okay, yes, I  understand that, but why is that a bad thing?Well, don’t I understand, that road is too busy!  Oh, okay, but how will making it narrower make it busier?

Well, then the freshly-driving age “I’m going to pretend to be civil” kid asks for a turn and basically says kids will use the bike lanes and they don’t know how to ride, so they will be hurt and killed.  Hey, that’s a presentable (not defensible with what actually happens, but after all, as he said, he *KNOWS* because he grew up there and he knows the kids and was one… and if that’s how rightbrainers decide then the planet is hosed, good people ,and I *do* need to find the underground leftbrain society ’cause intuition is somewhat predictable and could be thwarted) argument at least, but when I countered with the fact tha tactually lanes were statistically safer than the sidewalks… but didn’t I understand, there was very bad visibility because of the trees?  SO that Cars coming from the side roads wouldn’t see the cyclists?  Okay, an they would see them better coming down the sidewalks?  No, didn’t I understand, there were TREES!!!  That hampered VISIBILITY!!!!  At this point I decided not to try ot explain that yes, indeed, that was one of the stronger reasons *for* on street riding… and then she topped it off by saying that hey, she just wanted us rider to pay the same taxes she did if we wanted facilities.  I stated that well, I did, and she said “but I didn’t say you didn’t,” so I pretty much gave up and said “except that those were, in fact, the words that emanated from your lips,” and her son said “stop before something blows up.” No, I wasn’t anywhere near blowing up — but perhaps it would have been more effective to say “then please explain, what was it you did say about the taxes?”  — except that it would have been another another recitation that cyclists didn’t pay the same taxes!

Thing is, I do believe that the role of the person who responds to the right-brained, emotional stuff with right-brained, emotional facts has its place, though oh heavens, what the world needs is genuine diplomacy.   I’m not sure I’ll ever get the social perception to do the latter… and since the most venemous lady, I do believe, was telling Brandon Bowersox that at least he was listening, I figure that might not have happened had I not informed her… oh, what was it… well, it included that she didn’t want to hear the truth. (Sidewalks are where bicycles BELONG!)

Hmmm… reckon I’ll be awake early and ready for a good fervent ride in.  I remember when my lifestyle would have meant I was wound up for days… ya know, before I started riding a bicycle.

3 responses to “bike lanes meeting

  1. yeah, I feel for you. In my town we’re gearing up (no pun intended) for a fight to extend our 1.1 mile of paved railtrail along the remaining 1.8 mile of the town-owned railbed. We’ve already had a demoralizing ‘hearing’ with the haters and I don’t know if I have the stomach for more of it.
    anyway, you’re doing a good thing there, just remember to breathe. Nuthin’ else to do but smile, smile, smile

  2. Thanks for the recap, Sue. Sorry I couldn’t make it. Sounds like it was entertaining. You’re quite generous to call it a left-brain/right-brain thing.

    Are you or someone else going to post something to the CCB list?

  3. Did anybody mention that street parking is publicly subsidized personal storage space?

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