Wednesday, June 18, 2008

MORE ON COLEMAN: Text of Memo to Planning Commission

To: Members of the Planning Commission, Mount Pleasant Members of the Mount Pleasant Town Council

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

We at Charleston Moves love smart planning, and we applaud the energy and resources you have expended to revitalize Coleman Boulevard. We share your vision and enthusiasm for a Coleman Boulevard that will truly be a “Town Center.”

However, we believe attempts to re-direct bicyclists from Coleman Boulevard to side streets fly in the face of all the enlightened urban planning seen in this project. Bicycles Belong in any modern, enlightened vision of a healthy, functioning community. We believe they belong on Coleman Boulevard every bit as much as automobiles and pedestrians. We believe Coleman Boulevard should be a “complete street,” a widely accepted concept in urban planning.

Though we realize that bicycles would not be utterly banned from Coleman Boulevard, we believe that failure to openly signal that they are expected and welcomed will represent a signal to many that bicycles “have their place,” but not on roads with cars. Consciously or not, this position panders to the old way of thinking, something that Mount Pleasant seems otherwise eager to overcome.

Moreover, we believe that adopting the ‘discourage-bikes” position will make things less safe. Motorists, not seeing signs that bikes are present, will not be anticipating them, perhaps with disastrous consequences.

For those who want (or need) to use bicycles, this provision in the Coleman Boulevard plan would be discriminatory, suggesting strongly that cyclists must use less efficient, time-consuming routes.

In these days of $4-per-gallon gasoline, and of epidemics of obesity and diabetes, we KNOW we must deal forthrightly with society’s “epidemic of inactivity.” Not only should bicycles be welcome on Coleman Boulevard but their welcome should be signaled and controlled by painted bike lane markers and state-of-the-art signage and signals.

As leaders of this wonderful community, you have the responsibility to do your utmost to make bicycling and walking truly viable, easy options for citizens. To do any less is to ignore the wonderful aspects of the Coleman Boulevard plan and our shared vision of a better, healthier future for everyone in our community.

Sincerely,

Tom Bradford (for Charleston Moves)

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