Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A few thoughts

First of all, don't expect many updates this week. I got a terrible ear infection and in general, my energy level is down. Sigh...

Within the last two days I noticed two people riding their bikes on sidewalks. An elderly woman I saw this morning was struggling riding her bike uphill on Woburn St in Lexington. I assumed that she felt safer while riding illegally on the sidewalk, instead of choosing a perfectly suitable road shoulder, divided from the traffic lane by white line. Interestingly, the shoulder on Woburn St is much wider than the sidewalk, making riding a bike on that sidewalk even more uncomfortable. I guess though that the shoulder was not designed for bicycle use in the first place, but for extra car parking spaces.

If she was afraid of car traffic, this is because we built our suburbs that way - car-friendly, not people-friendly. Just as an example, assume you live at Seven Springs Ln in Burlington, MA and you want to get to the Burlington Mall that is conveniently located within walking distance. According to the Google Maps, it is only 0.9 of a mile and would take you 19 minutes to walk there. Why take a car, just walk! Easy? Not really...
Unfortunately, you have to cross a major highway and there are no sidewalks anywhere on this section of Middlesex Turnpike. Want to get to the Mall? Don't be eccentric, drive your car.

Being eccentric by choosing not to drive is what Velouria wrote about as well. It made me think that my school years looked quite different. I walked to my elementary school every day, I took a bus to my high school, and I biked to college. Even later, when I got my first car I used it only when I had to. Simply said, parking was scarce and hunting for a parking space killed all the fun of driving. The difference is - my behavior was not "eccentric" since I did not grow up in United States.

1 comment:

  1. You want to hear about eccentric? I have a folding bike that I take with me on the bus in the morning. I get off at my stop and ride the rest of the way to my job. Other people on the bus clearly think I am out of my mind. But to me, it is the easiest way to get where I need to go...