Thank you to Mr. Keith Gurnee (Viewpoint, Dec. 5) for calling out the importance of San Luis Obispo’s historic neighborhoods — and the role of circulation within these neighborhoods.
Like many car drivers, Mr. Gurnee falls afoul of false historic notions, however, when he claims: “The council’s plans to run a bike boulevard down the throat of a historic neighborhood that was never designed for it has become our council’s holy grail... Imposing such force-fed dogmatic ideology upon a traditional neighborhood.”
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Actually, Mr. Gurnee, and all of you who consider cycling and cyclists “untraditional,” troublesome, newfangled and otherwise: Spandex may be relatively new (1950s), yet the surprising truth is in the late 1800s it was cyclists and cycling organizations that lobbied and paid to pave streets and build new roads. “Then as cars became practical, wealthy, privileged people adopted the car” and bikes were overtaken.
Bicycles have been a part of our historic circulation systems, along with horses, even before cars. Cycling literally paved the way for the smooth roads we have today. It is a fun, healthy way to get around; takes up less roadway and less parking than vehicles; a bike is easier to maintain than a horse or a car; is accessible to children and people without a lot of money; and bikes don’t kick, guzzle fuel or spew pollutants into the air. Join us, Mr. Gurnee, and give it a try, if you will.
If you won’t, at least don’t hold it against us; make cycling life threatening for those of us who continue to choose it; or disseminate false versions of traditional cities, please. All that exhaust makes it a little difficult for us (one in 13 in the U.S.) asthmatics to breathe.
It is no coincidence that many of the happiest and healthiest cities in the U.S. are also the most bike and pedestrian friendly.
Thank you to the SLO City Council and all those working countywide to transport us forward and backward into a healthy, happy, safe, inclusive future — honoring access and options for people, not just creating more polluted, loud, dangerous car zones. Every resident should not have to bike, but every resident who chooses to should be afforded safe, equitable access, and the option to. Current roadway configurations, sadly, in many cases, do not allow safe access.
Anne Wyatt lives in San Luis Obispo. She is a former member of the county Planning Commission.