Hi, folks. I got this Projo article sent to me by Steve Church at RIDOT.
At the bottom there is also information about who to contact if you want
to ride into the downtown Bike to Work Day event this Friday with Mayor
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Church, Steve [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 10:21 AM
> Subject: FW: Projo.com - "Look out! Friday is Bike to Work Day"
> Today's Pro Jo:
> 01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, May 16, 2007
> By Peter C.T. Elsworth
> Journal Staff Writer
> Haidee Janek, who is organizing the city's Bike to Work Day,
> cycles in from Cranston every day to work in Providence.
> the providence journal/ Steve Szydlowski Steve Szydlowski
> Providence may not yet be a bicycle-friendly city, but
> advocates are getting ready to again celebrate Bike to Work
> Day on Friday.
> "We're hoping for plus or minus 100 (people)," said Haidee
> Janek, co-ordinator of this year's Bike to Work Day in
> Providence. "Last year it poured, so not many people came. If
> it's a nice day, more will come for sure."
> The event is part of the 51st Annual National Bike to Work
> Day and is the seventh time that the city has participated in
> conjunction with the Providence Foundation and the Rhode
> Island Department of Transportation. On Friday, bicyclists
> will meet at Biltmore Park at 7 a.m. for refreshments and
> information about safety, plans for bike routes and resources
> for bike commuters as well as speeches from such dignitaries
> as Mayor David N. Cicilline and Rhode Island Department of
> Transportation Chief Engineer Edmund Parker.
> Janek grew up in the Boston area but following college she
> moved to Portland, Ore., where she lived for 10 years. She
> worked for the city government there and became a strong
> advocate of bicycling to work in a city she calls Bike
> Central. She returned to the East Coast last year to be
> closer to her family. "I'd like to help here in Providence,"
> she said. "There are very few bike lanes."
> "Certainly, there has been an increase in bicycle commuting
> over last few years," said Sally Turner, head of
> communications for Bike to Work Day in Providence.
> "We are getting there, we really are, with the Providence
> Department of Planning and Development," Turner said.
> "Bicycle routes, safe bike trails, are not just considered
> but are a feature of their plans."
> "We try to accommodate bicycles on all our projects," said
> RIDOT's Parker, adding that he would like to see 'a 4-foot
> shoulder area (for bicycles) on all the roads."
> Parker said RIDOT has been very aggressive in converting old
> railroad track beds to bike paths - part of the national
> "Rails to Trails" program - resulting in such trails as the
> East Bay Bike Path for recreational biking.
> However, he said when it came to accommodating bicycle
> commuters in urban areas, it was difficult to widen existing
> roads. He said one way was to eliminate street parking, and
> the department had succeeded in doing that on Allens Avenue
> south of the city - but not without opposition.
> Parker added that his department referred to "the three E's,"
> the three elements of pedestrian safety that could be applied
> to bicycles and bike lanes - engineering, education and
> enforcement. "For example, we can build a crosswalk across a
> road, but if nobody stops and it is not enforced (it is not
> adding to pedestrian safety)," he said, adding that it can
> actually create a false sense of security.
> "People think they are safe because they are on a crosswalk,"
> he said. "But they should still look both ways." He said the
> same logic applies to bike lanes.
> Janek said it took Portland a long time to develop the kind
> of infrastructure needed to accommodate a critical mass of
> bicycling commuters. "It took about 10 years for the city to
> develop the network of bike lanes and to advocate and educate
> the public through campaigns," she said.
> Some cities, most famously Amsterdam in the Netherlands, are
> renowned for the mass use of bicycles. And following success
> in some provincial French cities, most notably Lyon, Paris is
> embarking on a plan to make 20,000 rental bikes available at
> locations throughout the city, starting July 15. Portland,
> Ore., and Berkeley, Calif., are probably the best known
> American cities that have experienced success in promoting
> bicycling as an alternative means of urban transportation.
> Is Providence ready to promote bicycle commuting on a large scale?
> Not yet, according to Janek. "I'm a hardcore rider, I've been
> riding for years," Janek said, noting that heavy commuter
> traffic does not frighten her. But with the lack of bicycle
> lanes and general education about the rights of bicyclists,
> she said she would be loath to recommend bicycle commuting to
> newer riders.
> "People say to me, 'Hey I want to start bike riding,' " she
> said, "But there are potholes, no bike lanes (and while) some
> motorists give me a wide berth, others almost clip me."
> In addition, the weather in New England can dampen the
> enthusiasm of the most enthusiastic bicycle commuter.
> "Weather has something to do with it," said Turner. "We have
> freezing cold, when it's really a hazard to drive, let alone
> walk or bicycle."
> However, she added that concern about global warming was
> promoting interest in bicycle commuting, especially in the
> last couple of years.
> "I worked for many years promoting education and outreach for
> alternative transportation," Turner said, noting that she was
> a former executive director of Groundwork Providence, a
> nonprofit group dedicated to environmental education in the
> city. "The school of public opinion is changing. Technology
> is being developed to reduce reliance on fossil fuels."
> "Last two years, the whole issue of global warming has come
> to the foreground - except, of course, in the White House,"
> she said. "And it's about darn time."
> She said former Vice President Al Gore's documentary film, An
> Inconvenient Truth, had been influential. "He put his money
> where his mouth is, money to craft the film as well as to
> market and promote it," she said.
> "It not just enough to educate bicyclists in safety training
> - we need to train drivers as well," said Turner, adding, "I
> think bicycling commuters are more thoughtful of the impact
> that the transportation choice they are making. They don't
> want pollution, don't want congestion, don't want parking issues."
> Plus bicycling to work can be faster. Turner said she used to
> commute from Barrington - 11 miles away - and could do the
> journey faster during rush hour than in a car.
> Janek agreed. "Bikes are fast, I can't be bothered waiting
> for a bus," she said.
> She said she would be riding in from Cranston on Friday with
> a group for "moral support, plus it's fun to ride in a big
> group and safer."
> Janek said the city needed more bike lanes as well as
> advocacy and awareness campaigns before promoting bicycling
> to work on a bigger scale.
> At the same time, Janek said part of the change the culture
> in Portland, Ore., resulted in bicycles being treated very
> much like vehicles in the sense that with rights come
> "They give you rights, but require you to follow the rules of
> the road," she said. "Bike laws are different ... and there the
> laws are more stringently upheld. Bikes have to ride to the
> far right and not on the sidewalks. You will get a ticket if
> you ride on the sidewalk or run a red light.
> From: haidee janak [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2007 2:29 PM
> Subject: Riding with the mayor
> Hello all, we are looking for a few community members to ride
> in with Mayor Cicilline on Bike to Work Day. I know some of
> you are already leading rides, so for those of you who aren't
> committed, and are planning to bike in, the Mayor plan is to
> meet at the Smith Street side of the State House at 7:30am.
> from there apparently he and his entourage will bike around a
> bit (exact route unknown) ending at Biltmore Park.
> Sally Turner is coordinating this, so please let her know if
> you can participate. [log in to unmask]
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