What this blog is about

Bicycle commuting, bicycle touring, bicycle racing; bicycle ADVENTURING.
To the grocery store, up a mountain, across the country or to the finish line--
it's all an adventure.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dear Duane,

To: Duane Cole ( dcole@ci.walla-walla.wa.us )
City Manager of Walla Walla

I'm sure you're already aware, but I would like to officially bring to your attention my serious concern about the state of our bike lanes in Walla Walla. Without outlining the problems in full detail, these are just some of the issues:

-Large sections of the bike lanes are severely faded if not erased completely- how are drivers supposed to be aware of it?
-As a bicycle commuter, I regularly find potholes filled with gravel in my path- a serious hazard to a cyclist. Hit one of those, fall into traffic and you're dead. These holes remain unmarked and unchanged for weeks at a time.
-Glass appears to be swept on only a seldom basis.
-At some intersections, the bike lane continues right up to the crosswalk instead of to a bike box or merging back into traffic. This poor design puts bicyclists in great danger of the too-common "right-hook" incident, when a right turning vehicle hits a bicyclist in the bike lane.

I understand that the bike lanes were originally funded with grant money. I also know that money for improvement is scarce since, ironically for cyclists, road improvement is funded by gas taxes which have declined seriously since people started driving less. But what I am asking is not necessarily to increase funding for bicycle infrastructure (though, it would be timely to increase that budget), but to move bicycling infrastructure higher up the priority list. Bicycles are not guests to the roadway- they have a right to the roadway- and bike lanes should not be treated as a "nice amenity" bur rather a regular part of the roadway and treated with equal importance. Bicyclists already face greater risks when in a traffic collision, and more bicyclists are getting on the road then ever before (and there will only be more!)- so doesn't it make sense to provide a bicycling infrastructure that is as safe as possible, instead of less than adequate?

I would appreciate your thoughts on this issue.

Thanks for your time,

Rebecca Jensen
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