It’s no mistake that paving bricks are still in use today in cities around the world. Bricks are cheap to produce, incredibly resilient, and are a flexible paving medium. They conform to the geological shape of the road, and unlike concrete or asphalt, they don’t crack, they just settle. They’re bumpy and noisy to drive over, but this is nothing that a car can’t handle. Brick streets also tend to encourage slower speeds for this reason.
As a sidewalk surface, they’re terrible. Unless the bricks were laid or re-laid within the last decade, they tend to settle and bulge over holes and tree roots, and create a terribly inconsistent surface for walking. They’re even worse, sometimes impossible to traverse for anything with wheels – be it a bicycle, skateboard, wheelchair, or walker.
So what if we flipped the script? All sidewalks and sidepaths could be paved with concrete or asphalt and be perfectly contiguous, with curb cuts and lines of sight from one destination to another. And all streets could be paved with bricks. If we’re going to build the world for walking and cycling, we’ve got to start somewhere.
Our second meeting for Bike Month (May) was last night. The next meeting will be 5:30 pm on Tuesday, February 3rd, at PT’s Coffee, 17th & Washburn.
The goal with Bike Month in Topeka is first, to get all the bike events that are already happening – on the Bike Month calendar. Are you part of a weekly ride that should be on the calendar? Let us know! If you need access to the calendar, get in touch with Karl!
Next, the goal is to make it fun! We’ll be working on a “Block Party” to take place in NOTO toward the end of the month, with food, music, all sorts of entertainment, and some bike stuff, too. It will likely feature the new bikeshare bikes, a Kids’ Bike Rodeo event, and some demonstrations in the street of either freakbikes or trick bikes! The goal is for this to be the one big event, sort of an expo. All will be welcome – just reach out if you or your group would like to set up something for this day.
There was also talk of a few new events, including a series of Dairy Queen rides, a women-only bike event, and a bike art show! If you’d like to get involved with the Block Party or one of these events, please get in touch via email (info at biketopeka) or via the comments below. ‘Til next time!
Janette Sadik-Khan: Making NYC still safer for pedestrians – NY Daily News.
The City of New York, through aggressive efforts over 10 years, has made serious strides for pedestrian and cyclist safety. We are on this trend now, and will continue to do so in Topeka.
There’s a great post on the Sustainable Cities Collective about how cities are designed for cars – and how that’s just about the worst way to design a city. We’ll leave you with this quote and graphic and encourage you to head over there to check out the original.
I see what a fraud the car is—how much it has cheated me out of. On foot and lighthearted, you are right down amid things. How familiar and congenial the ground is, the trees, the weeds, the road, the cattle look! The car puts me in false relations to all these things. I am puffed up. I am a traveler. I am in sympathy with nothing but me; but on foot I am part of the country, and I get it into my blood. If it were not for Mrs. Burroughs I should hang up the car.
“I feel the role advocates should play is as a catalyst for change, rather than as a driver of change. Because of the political battles you have to wage to make change, often advocates come at this from a somewhat aggressive stance, but that perspective or approach can alienate people instead of united them.” -Karen Overton, Recycle-A-Bicycle
The League of American Bicyclists is celebrating Recycle-A-Bicycle’s 20th year in NYC.