Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I love to ride my bicycle...

... I love to ride my bike! I love to ride my bicycle, I love to ride it where I like! (Thanks to the immortal Freddie Mercury.)

My favorite place to ride my bicycle is the Canton Public Library, which is not only a great library, it actually has a bike rack where I can park and lock my bike. You'd think with all the emphasis lately on healthy lifestyles, reducing fuel use, and saving the planet, that there would be more encouragement for people who want to ride bikes or walk to various public facilities and shops in Canton. After all, it's not a huge, sprawling metropolis. Most everything you could want is off a two-mile stretch of Ford Road; a few things might be a mile north or south, but there are many destinations within a quick bike ride. The bank? Less than a mile away. The bookstore? A little over a mile (and thank goodness we finally have one!). The post office? About a mile. The craft store? About a half mile. I've even ridden my bike to visit the doctor's office, about two miles away. But do any of those places have a bike rack where a conscientious, bike-loving shopper could park their bike? Noooooo.

It makes me quite cranky. Strip malls are the worst offenders, because not only do they not have bike racks, the building supports are too big for my chain lock to fit around. I've had to resort to locking my bike around trees or parking signs. (Actually, I take a perverse pleasure in locking my bike to a "No Parking" sign.) This doesn't always work very well, especially if the only signs are in the middle of the parking lot, or if the tree is on unstable landscaping that makes my bike keep tipping over. I can't image a bike rack is that expensive of an investment for strip mall management, and I keep asking every time I ride my bike to a shop, and I keep being disappointed. (Actually, I'm not being entirely fair. Meijer and Target do have bike racks, but I don't shop there that often.) Then there's dealing with drivers who don't understand the concept of crosswalks (they're not for you, dolts!), and construction that blocks the sidewalks (I don't ride on roads with 45 mph speed limits).

And don't get me started on pedestrian impediments. (But then, why not. I'm in full rant mode. Blame the ridiculous 7 am starting time for high school.) There is a strip mall not two blocks from my house. If it was a straight line, it would only be about nine houses away from me. It's got a whole neighborhood that backs onto it. I frequently walk there to pick up pizza, or visit the video store, or pick up the dry cleaning, as could literally hundreds of residents within a two block radius. And yet, there is no pedestrian entry into the strip mall! For me to pick up my pizza, I have to either enter the driveway, or cross the berm and then the parking lot. I'm just flabbergasted that no one during the design process, not the builder, or the township planners, stopped to say, "Hey, maybe people will want to walk into this place. Maybe we should build a sidewalk or crosswalk."

Grrrr. I think I need another bike ride today just to calm down.

1 comment:

  1. As you know, I feel the same way about my bike, and about pedestrian access.

    When a certain chain grocery store opened in downtown Philly, they forgot to have a front, walk-in entrance and you had to walk around back, through the parking lot, to get in. People went ballistic, understandably.