Friday, May 16, 2003

now onto greener pastures

with my newly aquired semi-freetime, i decided to hit the trails and go for a bike ride yesterday. after experiencing a high of degree of confusion over the purpose of the athen's greenway for the past two years, i finally understood what the creators were trying to accomplish. hamden, the county situated on the northern border of new haven, has an awesome greenway that extends several counties northward. it has access points (like a freeway), so you can head into the various towns. It has a swath of trees hiding it from the busy roads and highways of connecticut's sprawling suburbia. in other words it is a separate but equal method of transport through those counties.

of course, the greenway stops behind the stop n shop still deep within the hamden line, so there is no easy access into new haven (where, presumeably, most of the suburbanites go into work. or at least into the train station). as i was peddling, i was reminded of the boulevards in bonn, where the bikers and walkers can all run back and forth without encountering speeding cars. these paths then dump out into large public spaces, like greens and squares (and the occasional, but much less frequent strip mall).

will the greenway creators be able to bring the bike path into new haven, all of the way downtown? unless they are able to wrestle away huge amounts of property from the state and private citizens, i doubt it. although, if they did, i think it would really alter the current bike culture in this town. here's why:

* people drive bikes all of the time already; however,
* connecticut drivers are crazy (there is a reason why we have some of the highest auto taxes in the country) leaving the bikers to either
* fend for the their lives on the roads or
* terrorize pedestrians on the narrow pothole filled sidewalks

now, imagine a greenway with some sort of feeder system from the major neighborhoods.

* we wouldn't have to deal with cars and/or walkers
* bike parking could be incorporated into the greenway to accomodate the increased two-wheel traffic
* new haven is a small town, so you can bike anywhere in about 20 minutes (which is sometimes the same as the car transit time due to traffic
*of course, in the winter, we would have to revive the public bus system


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