Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Thursday City Council Meeting for Jim Spagnola

If you did not already know, Jim Spagnola was hit on Christmas Eve. He is ok but the person who hit him has no insurance and told Jim he should not be on the road etc. etc...It is not our responsibility to teach the public that bikes have a legal right to the road. It is the Mayor and the cities responsibility. There is also an attitude that it is ok to hit, maim or kill a cyclist. This needs to change also. We need to push the Mayor to speak and educate the public.
NOW!!!! PSA's have been made and produced by the public, you can view them here http://www. youtube. com/watch?v=6ykhTWOo1lc&e along with Printed materials etc... We need the city to act and work on educating the public. These are things that can be put in place immediately by the city, if we the public lobby them to do it.

Items that need to be addressed:
PSA's need to be run on all major media outlets
PSA's need to be on the city website ( a "high tech town" should have an up to date website along with rules of the road)
PSA's have been produced and are airing on WLRH and submitted to WJAB. The city could pressure some of the other radio stations to run.
Printed material created and paid for by the city. (Tri Folds to be handed out at the license bureau and DMV)
Alabama is at the bottom in Education (45th) and obesity(3rd) a way to address this would be the Mayor's day out with the public" A bike ride with the Mayor in the spring.

We are less than two months away from March so the time to get started is now.

If you want to speak please sign in at the desk and put your name on the list. What we are trying to accomplish is to get the city to move quickly to educate the public so try to focus on that if you can.

Please bring a friend we need a big turnout!!!
Hope to see you there Thursday Jan 8 2009 @ 6pm

Telephone:(256) 427-5011
Fax: (256) 427-5024

308 Fountain Circle
Huntsville, Alabama 35801


Tyler said...

Get Shit Done

inc123 said...

Very sorry to miss this-- wish I had known sooner.

I hope the city does take steps to educate & change the motorist vs. cyclist culture. Even though I hope they take on this role, I don't believe it is their responsibility. Technically, we are all responsibile for knowing the law-- as in ignorance is no excuse. Unfortunately, that ain't workin' nowadays. I don't even think most people know about the "legals" in the paper, nor do most people even read the paper anymore.

I saw a zillion blogs during the campaign where people were asking for campaign info which was in the paper on a daily basis. Sneaky place to hide public info...

I guess people need to be force-fed or bombarded through multiple media outlets-- and I am willing to do help with this.

I think reaching out to the schools would be good too, at least as part of a long term cultural change.

Anonymous said...

Where were the others from this Bike Committee? I only saw 3 people from "BASC" seems like SCCC and Alabike could have found the time to show up to the meeting. We all seem to show up when they want to speak. We also show up and volunteer for their events?

Seems to me this is the reason for all the years of stagnation.

So maybe instead of living in the past they could be present like the rest of us.

inc123 said...

Please post a list of Bike Committee members - if anyone knows. I remember Marjorie Holderer & Jamie Miernik are on it. Did they show?

I read in the HSV X Jamie's pledge to keep after the city et al about their promises of signs, is this working? Is the committee working? I tend to have a negative bias toward this kind of committee, as ineffective or only effective for brief periods.

If the committee isn't working as well as hope (honestly don't know), then I would suggest have alternates for times when they can't show up at meetings/events or event have the at-large members rotate every 3 months to keep things fresh & enthusiastic. (Especially now that campainging season is over...)

If all is well on the committee front, well there you go...

And no, I don't do committees, I prefer social commentary.

Again my apologies for not showing up. I suspect more of us need more fore-warning & spoon-feeding on times & places, alas. I will do my hail-Mary's in the form of media PSA requests.

inc123 said...

Forgot to ask, who were the 3 members that showed up for the meeting? Jacqy said she did but was late. So who were the other 2? I'm guessing Bill Kling was there & _____

Possibly they had good reasons not to be there but who knows. Accountability is good.

clintpatty said...

Teresea and Sasha were also there. I don't know if Robert is on the committee, but he was there. I believe Peter is on the committee, and he was there. Jamie told the committee previously that she could not make it, but she has been doing what she said about the signs.

The committee has been doing some work. IMO the city part, especially the police, has been lagging more than the citizen part. The citizens, not exclusively on the committee, have been doing a good bit of work on the proposed bike routes and map of them.

clintpatty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ash said...

The police are a huge part of the problem. They could stand to be even more effective than PSAs and signs combined, if they stop to issue citations and reminders to drivers and cyclists who violate laws as they relate to cycling. Following too closely, cutting off, throwing things (comments included) at cyclists, etc should be cited as any other offense. Avoiding traffic tickets will probably weigh even higher with drivers than the presence of signs.

Perhaps this doesn't happen because cops themselves are too often guilty of such behavior--I've heard of several accounts of this IN Huntsville.

Does an EFFECTIVE committee plan to erect over half of its 100 or so allotted signage on ONE quarter-mile stretch of road which is not the most common cycling thoroughfare? Forgive me if I've heard this incorrectly, but how is this even being considered? We've got meager means from the city to promote cycling education. Now that we've got inroads, let us not squander what little we've got with such wasteful means. Please, correct me if I'm wrong... and let us all know what's actually on the table, and how those resources are allotted.

As for the no-shows... How the hell are we ever to establish solidarity as a cause when most people won't show up to scream until someone dies?!?!?

Participation on a "committee" or a board does not amount to the kind of sacrifice and hard work that Jim has given to this community to educate and empower its people with bicycles. Is his life and contribution not worth fighting for????

(I know many of you have given time work through LifeCycles, and that comment is obviously not meant for you)

I thank everyone so very much for showing up last night to support Jim and the cause. And thanks especially to Sasha, who hardly ever misses a city council meeting. She keeps our presence constant in the face of the mayor and city council. More cyclists should be doing that very same thing.

clintpatty said...

I think you misunderstood Ashley. The proposed plan is for signs to be placed as often as 1 per 1/4 mile on some routes, and I think the goal was 1 every 1/4 mile on every route.

Today the city put up signs for new bike routes 21 and 24 and maybe some others. But those were the 2 routes that I saw new signage for today that wasn't there yesterday. I hope to speak about that at the next city council meeting and ask for more police support. And in reply to your 2nd paragraph, yes. Yesterday before the city council meeting I was on Max Luther riding to a proposed bike route to help the city with the map planning. The officer in car 1757 passed partially in the same lane as me and got back over less than 10 feet in front of me on a 5 lane road at approximately 2:15pm.

And I'm not sure how warranted your view is on people that didn't show up were not concerned about Jim or didn't appreciate him.

Bello Velo said...

What about places where there are no routes?
Like Governors?

I think Ashley's views are warranted and most of us noticed and found time in our "busy schedules" to show up.

ash said...

I obviously have a bias in this situation, Clint, and can't fathom why anyone wouldn't see my husband as the most awesome man alive.

That said, he is a dedicated advocate of cycling, and could have been taken from his family and his community on Christmas Eve.

Regardless of my bias, I don't get why that wouldn't strike a chord with the rest of the cycling community and provide enough impetus for them to take a couple of hours out of their busy lives to support their fellow cyclist and champion of their common cause.

As for the signs and routes... I hope that these are carefully considered to include the common routes of people who aren't just marathon-ing.

I don't have much faith in equal representation of cyclists in Huntsville, as far as planners and committees go. Homeless, indigent, not-your-typical-roadie types make up the bulk of cyclists in this town, and they use main thoroughfares to get to and from work and other necessary places. We don't use "routes," we use streets as cars do.

Thus, signs should be EVERYWHERE, especially on all the larger, bike-able roads (all 4-5 lane roads excepting maybe the parkway). Oakwood, Pulaski, Jordan, Holmes, Governors, Drake, Bob Wallace, Triana, Airport, University, Wynn, Sparkman, Whitesburg, California, Andrew Jackson, etc.

We don't need established "routes" to further limit the already limited folks who bike as a necessity. We have equal right to the road and should therefore have equal access to ALL roads. Period.

Bello Velo said...

Well Said Ashley!!!
Thank You

clintpatty said...

I don't know what all the city has in mind with their routes. They do have assisting cyclists, especially new ones or ones new to Huntsville, navigate the city. They don't have banning cyclists from nearby arterials planned. If the roads you mentioned are not bike routes, I think they're a much more appropriate place for Share the Road signs than neighborhood roads that are designated a bike route where the road is already shared alright.

Many people that would like to cycle in Huntsville are afraid to due to the traffic, and they will like routes that avoid arterials. Part of the idea of the bike routes is to distribute maps for free to necessity cyclists and help them navigate the city. An example is a modified marathon route instead of Whitesburg. One of the proposed routes is to advertise 9th Ave to cyclists more, and it is an alternative to Governors from Jordan to Seminole.

I'm not on the committee, but I am helping with the mapping project, as Jim is. I've sought others' opinions, input, etc. And I've applied it. For instance, I GPSd the safest route to Life Cycles that attached to Seminole, which is a proposed city route, to put on the map, and I got a waypoint of Life Cycles to put on there. Otherwise I would expect there to be some unsafe crossings of Governors/Parkway like Lucas did.

But you're correct that these people are under-represented. Is it the job of the committee to seek them when all the people on the committee are there because they sought the position? Do the necessity cyclists know about the committee and who to give their input to? Many of the people at Life Cycles I've talked to are dedicated sidewalk cyclists, so Share the Road signs and road routes aren't really for them. So I'm open to hearing input. Email me or reply to this or something. The map is due in 11 days, so it'd be good to have all the input in less than a week. The committee members are also open to hearing from other cyclists. And don't knock the routes until you try them :-P

clintpatty said...

and re about Jim:

Yeah Jim's pretty awesome, but if I had a night class with a test or something, I wouldn't have been there. There are probably plenty of cyclists who didn't know about Jim's accident. And there are others who wouldn't view going to city council as supporting him, who don't think there is much purpose/benefit from attending them. So basically what I'm saying is not finding time isn't the only reason people didn't show up. One person already replied to this thread about not showing up because she didn't know about it.

Bello Velo said...

I think the point that is being made is that by having the "city" which is Mayor Battle and his Administration behind this is what will help change the culture here. The other requirement is the public. Some of us, which I think you may have heard at the council meeting thursday think that this is a bigger issue than just cycling. It is pedestrian, public transit and drivers.

So while the Maps are important to the placement of the Share the Road signs, the reality is I will most likely not use a map or a set route to get where I am going.

So what you are hearing from some of us in the public who have lived in other places and expect more from our officials is that they need to lead on this and bring the public together, not segment it by dividing us into little groups which are a way to control us. So instead of thinking about this as a "cyclist issue" or call ourselves a "bike community" we have to think of this as a "community as a whole issue. Drivers have very little choice in this matter either. You can not walk much here especially on the southside and even in 5 points the streets are incomplete as far as walking.

So focusing the city on educating and promoting this is for "all" our best interests.

Bello Velo said...

Also Clint people knew about this we all emailed, called people etc etc.. same way that when we filled the room the last time.

man this is frustrating, by the time everything gets broken down and explained 10 years could go by.

I give up!!!

ash said...

People who think that showing up to city council does not help in supporting this cause are as ill-informed and ignorant as those who don't exercise their right to vote.

"Dedicated sidewalk cyclists" are breaking the law and working against this attempt at progress. They should be following the rules of the road like everyone else. And when you see and speak to those people, you should encourage them to show up to council meetings, as they present a valid argument for BIKE LANES. I would feel much safer if I had my own designated lane, and I think these people would feel the same.

The input I've given you here is all I really have to say on the matter. I won't use a map to find a bike route, nor will the majority of cyclists in this town who bike out of necessity. The law provides for my use of the road, and wherever that road may be will be the route I, or whomever, takes. EVERY route used by cars, except designated highways, should be available and safe for bicycles.

I'm sure everyone had their own valid reason for not showing up to support Jim. I'm not here to criticize them. Although I am disappointed at the absence of many, it's really none of my business.

clintpatty said...

Changing the culture is good. And I'm wanting that to happen. But I'm with Ashley on thinking that police changing people's actions is easier than changing their attitudes. I know we disagree on this, but it's cool since we both want both goals anyway. I want to speak at a city council meeting mainly about the police. More attentive, careful, not over speed limit, etc, driving is good for everyone, especially those not in an armored vehicle. Even if we don't associate with them much, motorcyclists have a lot of the same issues and would especially benefit from more attentive driving.

And breaking down and explaining things may not always be the issue. It could be that we both understand and we disagree. I know this was the case with Ron Paul.

When the room was full most of UAH knew about it, and it was on the news and in the paper.

Bello Velo said...

Yes Clint for the most part we do not agree. I don't think the police will be any help with this. More cyclist on the road and people getting use to seeing us on the road will help. Every city that this has happened in has had a mayor and public who wants it. The attitude is what the Mayor can do to help this along. The sad reality is that someone else will be killed or injured in the future.

Actually the council turnout was because everyone was organized and showed up. The news was after the meeting. There were a few from UAH. Or are you saying if Jim's accident was on the news the turnout would have been higher?

No you won't catch me in this Ron Paul trap:)

I agree with Ashley this is a dead horse.

clintpatty said...


I bike as my main form of transportation, and I prefer these type of routes. I like to avoid cars in general, and especially high speed car traffic. Clearly the people who have no interest in using the routes aren't the ones that the routes are intended for. But we'd like to expand it to more necessity cyclists, including homeless people. I've tried to address Jim's concerns on this. If I knew places they commonly work, I could address more.

In addition to the routes, the committee is taking suggestions for Share the Road signs. I'm guess you would like one on Oakwood near Kroger? I think it would be good to have one farther east on Oakwood too so drivers see it when looking around at the red light and keep it in mind. If one was at Kroger, 1/4 mile back would be about at the last right turn (when headed towards Kroger from your house), which is right before the HEMSI traffic light.

Proposed Route 59 includes this section of road. So even if you won't be using the map, you'll be using this route. Some routes, like this one, will need additional signs and hopefully police. I'm going to mention this area to the committee for Share the Road, watch for cyclists, etc. So if you want to ride with me sometime and tell me specific areas where you would like to see Share the Road, cyclists entitled to full lane, etc, signs, let me know. I'll bring the GPS and take the waypoints and give those to the committee. And I'll try to help out with other people who feel under-represented or who want to see signs in certain areas. But I'm not riding on University or Parkway.