Thursday, August 6, 2009

Editorial: Cyclists, city can reach a solution

Once again the unnamed Courier editor pats the little cyclists on the head and explains that they're really not yet big enough to go on the adult rides.

I have a bike, but I've used it three or four times in fifteen years. When I ride my moped I generally stay out of the bike lane, which is for slower traffic. My perspective on this issue is as a driver.

When there's a bike on the road, it legally owns the entire lane, just like a car. If cyclists really got exercised about this they could start riding according to the law -- in the middle of the lane -- and slow us all down.

Cities install bike lanes not to please the cyclists, but to improve traffic flow. The editor's idea that we'd be spending money on a "tiny percentage" of street users is exactly backward. It may be that the rhetoric of the cyclists encourages this misunderstanding, because for them its a huge safety issue. But that's no excuse.

The editor suggests Willis as an alternative to Gurley. I suggest the editor try driving his car (or his truck, more likely) from downtown to Yavapai College, or the Prescottonian, or the Peavine Trail using Willis.

Lost in this whole public debate is the proposal to place large landscape islands down the middle of Gurley St, eating up a lot of lane space and creating new opportunities for traffic entertainment. Have we learned nothing from the corner plantings around the square, or Rosser St?

Letter: It's time to speak up for local landmarks

Tom Cantlon was the Courier's token liberal columnist before Randall Amster, so I count this piece as a semi-column.

The core of it is rousing us rabble to stand up for Sharlot Hall Museum and the old post office. I want to confirm here that public involvement -- writing letters and email and making phone calls -- is effective in getting the attention of state legislators and shaping their views of public opinion. I'd suggest contacting not only Ms Mason, Mr Tobin and Mr Pierce for our district, but other rural legislators, legislative leaders and the governor as well. It really does matter.

A detail toward the end of the letter caught my eye, the idea of turning over the closed post office space to the museum. Readers who are paying less attention might conclude that Tom advocates moving SHM over there once the state sells off its land and buildings. Nothing like this will happen, of course. The state may pawn the museum, but the arrangement would be more like a secured loan (at high interest cost!) than an actual sale. Still wrong, but not so catastrophically wrong as to leave the museum homeless.

But speaking as a former museum professional, given its mission there's really not much SHM could do with the post office space other than turn it into an exhibit in front and storage in back and in the basement, and that only given enough money to staff it. Not really practical.