City shirks bikes and transit

I would only expect this in a city that does a terrible job of not putting its money where its mouth is. The Madison Plan Commission decided to forego any attempt to pursue the interests of the city’s bike and pedestrian and mass transit efforts in the interest of the mighty dollar. And Marcus, the developer who will build a large retail and entertainment mall on Madison’s far east side, is just as short-sighted as those on the Plan Commission that voted for it to drop the bike-ped and mass transit requirements.

This is the city that allows businesses to expand and doesn’t do anything for the surrounding infrastructure. We have busy four-lane roads with stop signs at its intersections. We have more traffic in front of our expanded grocery stores and malls than the roads were ever designed to handle. And yet we are supposedly one of the friendliest cities for bikes. Bullsh*t.

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On the eve of history

We are on the eve of an historical event. President-elect Barrack Obama will become the next President of the United States in less than 24 hours. The hope that he brings echoes the voice of the great civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose life we celebrate today. It took 40 years for us as a nation to get to this point, all because of his work and his achievements. It is a momentous occasion to be a part of history.

This post is dedicated to Dr. King, President-elect Obama, and progress.

Police officers play Santa

Who says police officers don’t have a heart? The two Milwaukee Police officers mentioned in this article┬ádemonstrate that even the police care. While responding to a call regarding a woman with a drug overdose, the officers found her daughter as well, but noticed no gifts under the plastic tree and no food in the house. So they collected funds from their coworkers and did some quick shopping so the girl had presents and food.

This demonstrates that there are still many good people out there in many different professions, even those that have some of the most demanding, difficult jobs. I understand the stress that police officers encounter every day and the challenges that they are forced to face. But even in such a sad situation, it is refreshing to see the good come out. The holiday season seems to do that to people.

Indian tragedy

What happened in Mumbai, India last week is truly a tragedy. As we learn more about the incident, I want to clearly condemn the terror that happened at the Taj Mahal Hotel. It’s amazing, because I stood not far from there only a few years ago. But I also think that India is taking the appropriate steps in trying to handle the crisis. Today’s post is dedicated to those lost in the Mumbai tragedy.

CNN coverage of Mumbai Terror

Bicycle commuter

I helped coordinate and participated in Bike to Work Week this past May. The idea is that if you ride a bicycle, you should ride it to work. Coordinated by the League of American Bicyclists and state or local cycling advocacy groups, many communities are offering a number of incentives to ride to work.

Since I ride a road bike, I didn’t think it would be too difficult getting to and from work. However, I did a dry run recently and discovered that my ride is actually much longer than I anticipated (17 miles instead of 12 by car; 1 hour and 20 minutes). But that was nothing compared to what I discovered when I rode the first time to work this week:

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Madison suburb to go smoke-free in 2009

The City of Monona, a suburb on Madison’s east side, is the third community in the area to pass a smoking ban. Although Wisconsin was supposed to provide a comprehensive statewide smoking ban, the inability for legislators to develop a compromise continues to push local communities to pass their own smoking bans.

Working on the east side of town, many of my lunchtime options are in Monona. The problem is that many of those options allow smoking, despite that they have otherwise good menus. Since quitting smoking, I cannot stand cigarette smoke and will no longer patronize any place that allows smoking. With the ban coming in June 2009, I’m actually looking forward to trying out some of those places again and discovering ones I haven’t eaten at yet.

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More commuters taking the bus

With the price of gas over $4 per gallon in many areas of the country, it’s no surprise that people are parking their cars and finding alternative modes of transportation. A three-percent increase across the country is indicative of the situation.

For years, people preferred the automobile to trains, buses, or subways. Some probably considered that spending on these forms of transportation should be cut, especially since they lost money. Now peopel are realizing that these alternatives are more cost effective for both them and their communities, and they’re greener than even the most fuel-efficient automobile.

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