From the category archives:
Drew this mostly while visiting Portland. A lovely city, really.
The bike stuff was unreal. It doesn’t seem sustainable, yet folks swear that it is Disneyland for bicycle advocates. There are very many shoppes for bikes.. too many in my opinion for the amount of bikes riding around. Philly has more bikes and a tiny fraction of the shoppes Portland has.
The bike corridors don’t patronize the commerce areas but they allow for very quick scuttling around the city along quiet residential paths. The road markings are confusing, if they bother to stripe the roads there’s no shoulder marking and the dotted yellow line is silly. I kept trying to figure out why people swear by Portland’s bicycle infrastructure, while at the same time poo pooing other places like Philly and New York.
Then something funny happened. I was riding along and a fella driving a volvo stopped at a stop sign that directed traffic perpendicular to the road i was on. He had a ton of time and could have gone before i got anywhere near him, but he waited. He could have gone a million times before I got there, still he waited. It made me uneasy, I didn’t have a stop sign so he would have to wait for me to go through. I got angry a little, and was about to gesticulate some discourteous message when as I passed he waved and smiled.
He waved and smiled, not that condescending 2 finger twitch, not the lean eyeroll to sigh, and not even the two hand double squeeze of the steering wheel… he waved and smiled.
I don’t believe any city should follow whatever Portland is doing because each city has its own unique issues, but Portland does have one thing over the other places I’ve ridden a bike. The drivers there genuinely do not wish harm on the cyclists.
In Philly we have an amazing network of cycling paths set around a generally flat city, but we have behind the wheel of most every automobile, a psychotic douchebag, who wants to kill you. Drivers love to tell me while I’m pedaling along that I should be on the sidewalk or the streets are for cars or some other crap they pulled out their back sides.
What I’m getting at is simple, Nicer people make cities livable. That’s my current opinion.
-and that concludes my out of place rant-