Free Ride Day on Topeka Metro buses tomorrow

Tomorrow, Topeka Metro is offering free rides on all its fixed routes in the city, in recognition of the 60th Anniversary of Rosa Parks’ bus protest.


Have you ever wanted to try out the bus? Tomorrow would be a great day for that! Check out the system map and find the route that suits you best – either one that goes close to home or close to work. Metro uses a hub-and-spoke system, so if you need two routes to get to your destination, that might mean transferring at Quincy Street Station downtown.

If you live in city limits, chances are good that you live near a bus route. Almost 75% of Topekans are within a 1/4-mile of a bus route – that’s just a 10-minute walk!


Overturn the Bicycle Study Veto

On Tuesday, July 7th, the Topeka City Council voted 5-3 to approve $15,000 to provide the city’s part of a $75,000 expenditure to hire a consultant to create a citywide biking master plan. The mayor then vetoed the expenditure calling the expenditure “unnecessary.” To override the veto requires 6 votes and seems unlikely as the only council member absent, John Alcala, indicated he was against the measure, saying the expenditure was not budgeted and that it would be irresponsible to approve the expense.

Let’s look at some of the facts: Topeka’s Heartland Visioning plan calls for the development of bike paths and trails in Topeka — so, support of Topekans is well-established. The major says he supports the Visioning process, but argues that the city personnel can do the study. Ok, Mr. Mayor, please tell us who on the staff is going to do it! Who has the extra time to take on one more task? Name the person who has the expertise, and can do a comprehensive study in 3 to 4 months (that’s how much staff time you can buy for $15,000)? We will stand by to hear the name and when they plan to complete the study. I believe this is a political cop-out. You’re saying, “I support the idea, but not enough to really make sure it gets done.”

2) Topeka need a comprehensive plan. Too often this community takes a piecemeal approach. A little here and a little there. Suddenly we look around and we wonder how we got where we are.

3) The actual creation of bike lanes and comprehensive commuter biking network can be funded in many instances quite inexpensively, sometimes by restriping streets. The 1/2 cent sales tax cannot be used to build bike trails. Ordinance 19257 states the sales tax is ” for the purpose of paying the costs of certain improvements within the city exclusively for costs of maintenance and improvements of existing city streets, gutters, curbs, sidewalks, alleys and street lighting…” So do not worry about spending the sales tax money on this cause. We still need to find the funds, but not from this source.

4) The matching funds will not be there next time. The mayor is giving up $60,000 of federal funds. And don’t think that we are doing the taxpayers a favor! This money is going to be spent. Maybe Wichita, Manhattan, Lawrence, or some city in Colorado will benefit from our short-sightedness. Next time we will have to come up with the whole $75,000. We can probably float some bonds.

What to do? There are 30 days to override this veto. We need to let our council members know that we disagree with the veto and that we want the study to be funded. Those that are currently not in favor, Jack Woelfel, Bob Archer, Richard Harmon, and Art Alcala need to hear from you. If you know them, or are in there district please talk to them and let them know how you feel.


Ralph Krumins

The Politics of Two Wheels

excerpted from The Bicycling Life (PDF)

This article shows how many people in our society believe a dangerous superstition about bicycle operation. People following the superstition ride bicycles in ways that put them at much greater risk (riding on the wrong side of the road, for example). The superstition dominates public policy relating to cycling, which increases risk for all. This article discusses the problems caused by misguided policy and what can be done to remedy them. A companion article, Bicycle Commuter’s Guide, tells how experienced cyclists follow the rules of the road via a principle called Vehicular Cycling, which is summarized as “Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as operators of vehicles.”

Read the whole article here (PDF).

Read more about safe commuting, Vehicular Cycling, and Effective Cycling.