Monday, July 18, 2011

Short Thought: "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells"

So here's your headslap moment for the day -- a little delayed, since this Boston Globe op-ed went up last week -- but, hey, a good headslap moment is good at any time, right?

Okay, fine, but last week I tweaked out my wrist and couldn't type. A little delay is only normal.

Boston Globe op-ed columnist Brian McGrory wants to ban bicycles from Boston. Why does he want to do this? Well, they annoy him. Folks on bikes -- he doesn't like 'em. Spandex, not his thing. L.L. Bean cycling outfits leave him cold. And he feels cyclists as a group are rude, inconsiderate, thoughtless people.

Isn't it good that all Boston drivers are so considerate, thoughtful, and attentive people, then.

You never walk past one -- and I walk everywhere -- who is texting while driving.

You never walk past one who has just cut off an old lady on a crosswalk in an attempt to cut off someone else for on-street parking.

You never go through a pedestrian crossing and feel a breeze on the back of your legs as someone takes an illegal right turn.

Nah. In Boston? Man, that'd never happen.

(I said it was a good headslap moment, didn't I?)

Are there rude cyclists in Boston? Sure -- of course there are, because they're people and people -- along with demonstrating a wide variety of other behaviors -- can be rude. You know what this means? There are also rude drivers in Boston -- there's a reason Massachusetts drivers have the nicknames they do in the New England area. Hint for those of you not from New England: the best one (my personal favorite) starts with "Mass" and ends with a single syllable noun easily discoverable by testing out rhymes for "mass."

And, please, Mr. McGrory, don't tell me about Boston being "designed for cars." I can only stand so much hysterical laughter once in a week and most of mine was taken up with Stargate: Atlantis/Girl Scout cookie porn. (Truly. Hilarious.)

Beacon Hill? Built for cars? Yeah, sure -- that first wave of settlers who began building around what was then an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean were totally working on spec for Chevy. Don't insult my intelligence, Mr. McGrory; it makes me grumpy. Try checking some facts past the Mass Historical Society, the State Archives, and the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections next time -- they can tell you exactly when the main roads of the city were laid out and when the city started being "designed for cars."

Tell you what, Mr. McGrory. You want to reduce traffic congestion in Boston? I thoroughly support this idea. This is a fantastic idea.

Here's how to do it.

Take a leaf from the books of London and Paris and ban private passenger vehicles from Beacon Hill, the North End, Downtown Crossing, and the financial district. I can think of a few other choice areas -- like Harvard Yard -- but those will do to start with.

Don't let taxi-cabs cruise for passengers.

And you really want to do a number on the congestion on sidewalks? Here's a nifty notion: ban baby carriages. Especially those side-by-side "I got an extra zygote!" numbers. Hey, if I want it, I have to take it with me; if my cat has to get to the vet, I -- or my partner -- have to carry her there. You bred it; you carry it. Got two? Then it looks like one fore and one aft for you: think of the noble koala bear and work up those lumbar muscles.

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