Much has been happening lately, which is one reason I haven’t been posting as regularly as I’d like. For one, the resumption of the academic year has filled my plate to overflowing with things-to-do. Second, I’ve been tweeting many of my bike-related thoughts lately, which does not substitute for the longer prose enabled by blogging, but does sometimes allow me to vent, which I have noticed sometimes leaves me less-compelled to vent on my blog. For example, a recent anti-bike op-ed in the Los Angeles Times that might have sent me a-blogging in frustration, sent me instead to the twitter-verse, where I commiserated with other like-minded tweeters and shared my thoughts there. The ability to quickly share my thoughts in a time-stressed day and engage in a conversation with others about such issues has its advantages too. Moreover, the ability of twitter to direct my comments toward a party (in this case to the newspaper) has an advantage over the blog, which, I fear, sometimes goes out into the ether where no one hears it.
All of which is my elaborate way of apologizing for having been absent from the blog for the last few weeks. It probably won’t be the last time.
As I said, much has been happening lately. I’m continuing to get to work daily by a multimodal bike-and-bus commute, 22 miles from my home. As a result, it’s now been almost 5 1/2 months since I filled my car’s gas tank, and I still have about a quarter tank left. Compared to how much I used to drive, that’s easily 2 tons of GHGs I haven’t pumped into the atmosphere, hundreds of dollars saved, and countless calories not added to my waistline. I’ve adjusted my schedule to take the bus, and recently purchased a tablet so I can work online while I’m on the bus, making my longer commute time more productive and, since I have many of my books and most of my paperwork on it, lightening the load for the bike portion of my commute considerably. I’ve become more convinced than ever that we need to promote transit as well as bicycling if we’re going to have a chance of reclaiming our cities and our lives from the tyranny of the automobile, and while these are both daunting challenges, they are definitely doable if we summon the political will.
I’ve been continuing to work in my community to make the streets more bike-friendly. I recently received a generous mini-grant from my local Rotary club to host a bike safety event for kids with “Walk n’ Rollers” in my hometown next spring, and we’ll be promoting our second annual bike-to-school day as well. I’ve been working with the PTA and other parents at my daughter’s middle school to purchase some quality new bike racks to make it easier for more kids who bike to school to lock up their bikes safely. The Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition is up-and-running, and PasCSC is set to have a meeting in a couple of weeks to discuss strategies for getting the city’s DOT to put in more bike lanes, cycletracks and other bike-friendly street treatments. The university where I teach is also making strides, announcing recently that at least one new bike path is under consideration after last year’s tragic death of a bicycling student on a campus roadway, and a new student bike advocacy group is under formation on the campus that shows lots of positive energy and promise. Finally, some local advocates in the neighboring city of Monrovia are organizing with Bike SGV to advise the city to install some bike lanes around town as the city prepares to get its very own light rail transit line in 2015. I’ve been heartened by this energy and enthusiasm to make our streets safer for bicyclists and it makes me hopeful for the future. As these advocacy efforts begin to bear fruit, I’ll be blogging (and tweeting) about them, so stay tuned.