When is she coming home?
On this evening, Toby brought Blue Puppy to the door, and they both sat side by side for the longest time looking outside. Of course, as soon as I grabbed the camera Toby ran away.
Last week there was a confusing article in the paper about a proposed bike path for this town and which streets might be affected by it. There seemed to be so many problems with what I read that I decided to go /limp to a town council meeting to find out what was going on.
The meeting was hosted by the Heritage Foundation which is responsible for creating bike trails across the state. Another function of the meeting was town planning combined with trying to revive the historical society. While I didn’t agree with everything that was proposed, it was interesting to meet people so passionate about both their hobby and the town.
This town isn’t part of the state-wide bike trail, but some people would like to draw cyclists through the streets as a means of increasing revenue. They feel that with more traffic will come more business. I seem to recall, though, that having traffic is not enough, you need to draw the right traffic.
This “town” is basically an intersection of two streets which are lined closely on both sides with residences and houses converted for small businesses. We have a car dealership, an antiques store, an agricultural store, a nail salon, a bank, a Post Office, a lawyer, two pizza shops, a bar and absolutely no parking. I am trying to envision how seasonal cyclists will help these businesses. Most of the time when they come through town now, it is after business hours or on weekends. Other than the pizza shops and the bar, I can’t see anyone being open when they are here.
In order to bring cyclists into the town, planners have proposed either a bridge or a tunnel so that riders won’t have to cross the dangerous highway that is between the trail and the downtown. This brings to mind a whole host of other concerns. Whenever I talk to neighbors about what I learned at the meeting, they all cringe at the mention of a tunnel. Anything out of sight of daylight is an invitation for trouble. No one wants to make it any easier to hide drug activities. We are already a high-traffic location in that we are at an important north-south/east-west intersection along drug trafficking routes.
The history buffs at the meeting wanted to accentuate the significance of different buildings and features of the town (like the horse watering trough*, I kid you not) to try to draw tourists. The cycling enthusiasts want to create bike lanes along the existing two lane streets that have on-street parking. The two seem to be at odds with each other. To create bike lanes, it is likely you will have to destroy the slate sidewalks. If you destroy the sidewalks, then you have lost part of the history.
My concern is that the proposed bike lane will go pretty much right past where I live. I would like to make sure that there is still room in this town for slow-moving dog walkers to fit in. Also, with the landscape the way it is, there are hill tops where you can’t see what traffic might be coming toward you. I rely on being able to hear cars, but if a silent cyclist were to crest a hill where my pups and I were walking, the results could be disastrous.
Neighbors seem to feel that there is no way that an idea like this one could go through, but they won’t go to any meetings either. I worry that apathy might allow the few to decide for the many. Actually, something like that was brought up at the meeting. The way that the organization is trying to tell people what is going on and to gather feedback is through Facebook and Survey Monkey. I pointed out that many of the people impacted by this proposed path are not on Facebook and have no idea what is going on. The group’s reply was that they have no funds and that Facebook is free. To me, that was a weak argument. If you have to, go door to door and talk to people. Senior homeowners don’t deserve to have this sprung on them merely because they don’t use Facebook.
This was my first foray into local politics. There is a regular town council meeting coming up on Thursday, and I am thinking of going to see what I might learn. The boys yell at me that I am deserting them, but I reassure them that I am doing this to make sure that we have the freedom to pee on lawns for many years to come.
Not my photo. Borrowed from the internet
and re-imagined with Geordie.
*Truthfully I like the horse watering trough. It really does have a colorful history. Geordie likes it because I let him play in it whenever we go downtown.
For more Bitey and Toby fun, pick up a copy of Dream Our World.
In Dream Our World, Bitey and Toby spend a day at the MOTI, the Museum of the Imagination. (Since Geordie didn’t think anyone was looking, he was actually nice to Toby.)
Dream Our World is available at Amazon.