Monday, September 24, 2012

Back in Seattle Again

That's what always plays in my head when I get back to Seattle. Well, folks, you know it's a long time since your last blog post when a regular reader emails you to make sure you're ok. I just got home from 32 days of traveling in the U.S. and abroad, and I've got a lot of things to write about bicycles and/or streets in Dublin, Donegal Town, London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, New York, and rural Michigan.

First things first, American cars are enormous. I just took my first home ride through downtown Seattle, and it reminded me of how much more alike Los Angeles and Seattle are than this city is like Copenhagen. We've got these wide, gridded streets in the U.S., like it or not, and rather than gazing through misty eyes at the crowded, radial cities of Europe for our transportation futures, we should look closer to home for examples of how to improve our streets the way they are now.

Second things second, on my way home today, a man driving a car rolled through a stop sign and drove into the intersection I was biking through. When I yelled to get his attention, he stopped, didn't change his expression, and waved me forward. Is the problem the shape of our streets, or how we habitually use them? We shouldn't design our streets assuming that when we get into cars it's ok to act like steely Robocops.

Autrily yours,