Start Your Engines, Louisville!

Louisville volunteers work behind the scenes to make it easier and safer to get around.

A small group comes up with strategies to encourage more walking and cycling in Louisville

Maybe when gas prices hit $5 a gallon we’ll all start walking and riding bikes everywhere. It’s only a matter of time before we’ll be forced to use our human engines more and our cars a lot less.

But meanwhile, I’m wondering whether Metro Louisville residents just need more encouragement and education to leave their car keys at home when they go on short trips. Gas prices aside, walking and riding bikes are great ways to save money, get fit, feel better, improve our community and our world.

I’m part of a local Education and Encouragement Team looking at ways to get more people on more bikes more often. We met Friday for Lunch at Wayside on Broadway to share some ideas. On the way to the meeting I landed on three words that weigh heavily in my transportation choices: Safety. Speed. Comfort.

Here’s an example how these three filters work. I decided to walk and take TARC to the luncheon on Friday because I didn’t want to expose my bike to the corrosive salt, slush and slick spots on the streets. But weather apparently delayed the buses. I started walking from Crescent Hill in hopes of catching a bus along the way. No luck.

Covered, secure bike parking is a way to encourage cycling in Louisville. Weather abuses bikes when the streets are clear.

These bikes at the medical school complex in Downtown Louisville await their owners who probably found another way home.

Only a few short sections of sidewalk were clear. My safety, speed and comfort levels very quickly fell way short of acceptable levels. I nearly slipped and fell several times on slick pavement. It took me most of an hour to walk downtown.  And while I’m used to extreme temperatures – wear a hat, gloves and loose layers – I don’t think many of my friends would describe my journey as comfortable compared to riding in the tushie-warming seats of their cars.

What would have made my trip safer, quicker and more comfortable? A real, fully-funded urban transit system would help. Enforcement of sidewalk clearing requirements would be a good start.  Both of these changes would have meant less time in he cold which equals comfort.

When I visit other cities I’m amazed at how some of them invest in their transit systems and other facilities to make getting around easier. Minneapolis is one that comes to mind. They have a solid bus and light rail system that will take you anywhere. You can even roll your bike onto the light rail cars.

Do you have ideas to make Louisville more friendly toward cyclists and pedestrians? Leave me a comment. Your involvement is one key. We need more people to start thinking about how our own human power can generate health and wealth. If you want to know more about Bike Louisville’s Bike and Pedestrian Master Plans, check out these links:

Pedestrian Master Plan: http://www.louisvilleky.gov/HealthyHometown/StepUpLouisville/pedmasterplan.htm

Bike Master Plan: http://www.louisvilleky.gov/BikeLouisville/bikefriendly/2010bikemasterplan.htm

Grace. Peace. Bicycle Grease.

PS: Remember, every lane is a bike lane. Share the road.

Pedalaround
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Enjoy the ride home.
© Copyright, Kirk M. Kandle, MMXI

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