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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Will Victoria become bicycle friendly?


I got on my bicycle this morning to go to the Victoria Public Library but when I got to Red River at San Houston, I found it blocked. I don't mind the barricades but the soft sand would have made it difficult. It's about a 5 mile trip that usually takes me about an hour. I usually take a detour behind Citizens to find me a place where I can cross highway 59 safely. I know what the students go through every morning, half asleep, trying to cross that busy thoroughfare while trying to avoid those that are running late to wherever they are going. That's an accident waiting to happen.

The bicycle riders in California, who avoided "Carmageddon" inspired me,when they stayed off California's Interstate 405 while it was being repaired. I've been on that highway, and I just can't visualize it without backed-up traffic. It just goes to show that if we ask the American people to sacrifice; they will but we never ask. As a state, California is a lot more bike friendly than Texas. Austin does a pretty good job; it is quite a sight, watching the bikers navigate around the University of Texas area. I couldn't do it because it's too hilly but those bikers can get to their destination a lot faster than one driving a car. I've never lived in Austin but my nephew tells me that cars don't get into the bike lanes because they've gotten used to allowing that 3 feet or so for their fellow commuters. He said that he even allows the space where they aren't any bike Lanes. It's habit forming, I guess.

I use our trail ride but getting across Airline can be treacherous, unless you are an old retired person, who can wait out those persons that are in a hurry to get somewhere. It's a boring ride because backyard fences aren't that pretty. I do appreciate the city building the structure for us. We have a bike trail in our park, but it's too far away. I hope they build one around the Lone Tree area and leave as much as the original landscape as possible. I know it seems like I won't be happy, unless they build a bike trail outside my back door, but you don't know what I'm talking about, unless you try to ride a bicycle in Victoria. I've had pretty good luck bicycling from Tanglewood to the Wells Fargo at Mockingbird. I do have to cross Airline and Sam Houston at some point, but I have a lot of lightly traveled back roads I usually take. I have never tried to cross the Navarro but there are a lot of traffic lights on that main thoroughfare. It's the motorists that don't care about the lights much less the bicyclists that I worry about.

I don't expect Victoria to designate bike lanes because we have too many negative people that will see it as a waste of taxpayers' money. We even have some (as holein1 calls them) north side elitist who think anything south of Northgate is not worth improving. They only think of the south side when they flush their toilets. We've had some bicyclists hit by cars but the only solution right now is for people riding bicycles to stay off the roads. I don't ride my bicycle that much to worry about it, but I bet a lot more people would be riding bicycles if we became more bicycle friendly. The larger cities have community bicycles where you rent one and leave it at the next destination. The malls and other business place have installed bicycle for their customers at the front entrance.

If you come across an old retiree slowly peddling his way across Victoria on a bicycle equipped with a light, mirror, and a small GPS unit mounted on the handle; go around me but please do not honk. I don't know why I have lights; I would never ride at night.


Edith Ann said...

What makes Victoria so bicycle un-friendly is the lack of shoulders on our roads. The lanes are up against the curb. My brother rides from my house to Riverside and he always comes home with some scary story!

Austin--a very bicycle friendly town--has bike lanes on so many streets. They have built in accommodations for the cyclists. The folks riding bikes in Austin do not scare me nearly as much as the folks in Victoria do! Hell, the drivers in Austin do not scare me as much as the drivers in Victoria do!

You have my word that I will look out for you and the other cyclists and I hope you always have safe travels.

Mike said...

I hope the newly repaired Laurent and Sam Houston will have shoulders but do you think they will allow for bike lanes?....Naw,doesn't matter because as you say we don't have bicycle friendly drivers.

Btw last night Bill Maher said  that Sarah Palin's eldest son, Track, is expecting a baby with his wife. The big hoopla is that they have only been married for two months but his wife is nearly in her third trimester.He was joking (I think) but should this family be the face of "abstinence only education?".....:-)

Edith Ann said...

Are you serious! Track should have been listening to his sister...

It does not appear that there are shoulders on Laurent or Sam Houston. Sorry! But----you could go to a City Council meeting and express your concerns about bike lanes. Or call David Hagan, our CC rep. They just got the big' ol book of crappy streets at the last CC meeting. They are going to start looking at residential streets as to repairs.

No doubt, every street that is proposed will be of an emergency nature.