Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Sweet Ride


On Saturday we took our first trip by bike to the Italian bakery just a half mile down the road. That is, it's a half mile as the crow flies or the car drives, but on a bike (especially with a child), the safest route is twice the distance. We certainly didn't mind taking the long way round through the neighborhood streets behind the busy main road, but most people would choose to take the car, and here's why:

This crosstown street has one lane of traffic in each direction with a center lane for turning and absolutely no shoulder. Only the most experienced cyclists take the road here. The sidewalk starts at the edge of the road, with not even a grass buffer zone between the curb and sidewalk. One false move and you are in the direct path of traffic. On the other side of the sidewalk is a series of parking lots for the businesses that line both sides of the road. Approximately every ten feet, the curb is cut out and the sidewalk slants as a driveway to the parking areas. To continue on a level path, a pedestrian or cyclist (as children and their parents are permitted to ride on sidewalks), must constantly zigzag from sidewalk to parking lot, avoiding parking space bumpers, raised planters and property dividers, while keeping an eye out for vehicles entering and exiting the road. No wonder there are rarely pedestrians on these sidewalks, despite the number of businesses. We have taken this sidewalk route by bike once or twice before, but it is not a pleasant ride nor much faster, due to the obstacles and changing surface.

The township is currently working on a plan to improve the appearance and traffic flow of this area, but is running into opposition from business owners who fear that any change to their parking areas could mean a substantial loss of business. I hope they can find a compromise soon and get working on it. We need more green here in every sense of the word. (Looks like a job for Jan Gehl!)

At this point, I have taken the long way round to report that we rode our bikes to the bakery on Saturday, so I will finish quickly.

Decisions, decisions.
I'll have a snickerdoodle, please.

The goodies went into my basket, and we took the long way home.

7 comments:

  1. MMMM, what an incentive for a ride! Glad you didn't let the poor city planning stop you from taking the bikes!

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  2. A very sweet ride! I love bakeries like nobody's business :)

    Hearing about the totally non-complete streets in your area makes me so mad, though. Grrr. That's just morally wrong to build infrastructure like that.

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  3. what a great sweet treat! hope your daughter and you had a great ride. I love seeing all the -around the city- pictures with you and her. such cool duo ;-)
    xo.meli

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  4. There are a lot of streets in Nashville like that, too. Such a shame. BUT, the bakery looks amazing! I'm actually glad there's not a place with delicious treats that close to my house. Dangerous! Your daughter is adorable.

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  5. It seems to be Vile there in Philadelphia time for the Cycling Lobby to start Flexing its Muscles and Demand better Cycling Infrastructure. Not that it is that Great here in Dublin with our Pathetic narrow little Cycle Lanes and practically none Segregated Cycleways.

    That Cake Shop looks Dangerous should be Banned by Order,the Cakes look to Nice. What is it they say( A few moments on the Lips then a Lifetime on the Hips) I notice they do not seem to have Bike Parking Stands or Racks at that Cake Shop,you should complain. Jack Dublin Ireland.

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  6. I wish I could send a cupcake to each of you! Or maybe a tiramisu cup? When this bakery opened two years ago, I swore I would only go if I walked there to burn calories along the way, so I guess I cheated a bit by riding my bike.
    This street was mostly residential many years ago, but now the houses are converted into businesses or knocked down for small strips of offices or stores. It's gradually been turning into a mishmash over the past 50 years or so, and now everyone is realizing how terrible it looks. I guess that's the first step to improvement.

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