Lacey will always be automobile centered

January 9th, 2018 by Ken

I’ve been a strong advocate for years of keeping bicycles and cars off the same streets.

Recently I was stopped at a red light waiting to make a right turn.   Just as I started to make the turn, two bicyclists came up beside me on the right hand side and went straight ahead when the light changed.

They were in a designated bike lane, but they had come up beside me with no warning and went straight ahead even as my turn signal was blinking.   I almost turned into them and if I had, they would have been seriously hurt.  It was only through luck – – their luck – – that I caught a glimpse of them and was able to stop.

I’m not sure who was right.  They were to the right of me, but I was at the light first.

The problem is that cars and bicycles don’t belong together on the same streets.

In Seattle they are solving the problem by removing cars from city streets.   In Olympia the answer seems to be to build more bike lanes.   The city has invested millions of dollars to make the streets more bicycle friendly – – but even avid bike riders still say that Olympia has a long way to go to make the streets safe for them to ride.

Lacey has often been called the worse city in the county in which to walk or bike.   They say that Lacey’s high speeds on city streets are dangerous to bikers and walkers.  They bemoan the lack of separated bike lanes, lack of sidewalks in many neighborhoods and an indifference to pedestrians and bike riders.

They’re right.  Lacey was built as an automobile city.   I happen to think the speed limits are too low.  Many streets in the city had 40 mph limits, but the speed has been reduced to 35 mph.   City streets were not made for bike riders, but for drivers of automobiles.

As far as indifference to bike riders go – – I think the problem is lack of education on the part of both bikers and drivers.  Drivers should know the rules of the road regarding bicycles and bike riders should obey all of the rules of the road.

Lacey is not, and probably never will be a pedestrian city.

But, as the city grows and matures, sections of the city will become more people friendly, more walkable and more gentle.  However, the main thoroughfares will continue to be automobile oriented.

Seattle can ban cars; Olympia can make it more difficult and more expensive to drive cars; but Lacey is – and will always be – an automobile centered community.

Posted in Local Politics, The Real News

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