Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On Eastside Privilege and Cycling Equality

Yesterday was an interesting day. My wife decided she'd leave her headlights on, necessitating a mid-afternoon jaunt (read: sprint) across town to help her jump-start her car. She was at a job interview off of Tyler & Keller in Arlanza. I was just getting out of class at UCR. Google Maps shows the trip taking ~28 minutes by car on surface streets- I got there in 35 with bike and bus. (So, for anyone who says alt transport is too slow, perhaps you're just not fast enough.) Anyway, I'm mentioning this because I noticed something very distinct while cycling through Arlanza- no bike infrastructure. Tyler St. has a "proposed" bike lane, Jackson St. has a "proposed" bike lane, Wells St. has a "proposed" bike lane... let me tell you, proposed bike lanes make for a very lousy ride. Even Arlington has no bike lane through much of the west side of the City, between Van Buren and California. That is a VERY busy stretch of road with a "proposed" bike lane on it. Transit service, once you get off of Arlington or Magnolia, is also pitiful. The area I rode to is serviced by the slow, meandering, something-like-once-an-hour (but not clock-face scheduled) route 13. I was also shouted and nearly run off the road by several drivers, who don't make that mistake nearly as often here near campus. My point is that there is a MASSIVE disparity in the quality of alternative transportation opportunities just within our City. Around UCR, transit is relatively frequent, bike lanes are clean and plentiful, and most of them connect to each other. The further west you go, the worse it gets. Arlanza is, of course, an otherwise-troubled neighbourhood, but that's all the more reason to extend good-quality transit and cycling facilities there.

Another point- because of yesterday's hectic day, I ended up driving my wife to school, and subsequently driving her home. On the way there, I was complaining about how drivers make stupid manoeuvres around cyclists in a selfish attempt to shave a minute or two off their trip, endangering themselves and other road users in the process. What I realized driving home is that drivers treat other motorists EXACTLY THE SAME. Cycling has reached equality! We're treated just as bad as other drivers!


Helen Bushnell said...

People who compare the travel times between cars and transit often do not take into account time spent getting gas, getting the car repaired, finding car insurance, getting lost, looking for cheaper car insurance or even the time spent buying the car in the first place.

In addition I bet that 28 minutes is on Sunday at 6 am.

k said...

Regarding disparities in treatment, when the decision was being made where to place RTA bus shelters, the graphic showed tons of shelters to go in in Downtown Riverside and along University Avenue but few or no shelters being placed along routes that would serve areas where many people may rely on transit such as out in Casa Blanca, and in Ward 3 in routes in the less economically advantaged areas further out Central or Jurupa for example. I spoke out on that issue but to my knowledge no changes were made.

Also I have not looked at the proposed route map recently but recently have driven down a number of streets where there is no parking allowed on either side, and there is plenty of room for striping bicycle lanes but there are no stripped lanes. One area is Palm at Central, and toward downtown. Not sure how far that would go but it goes a bit at least.