Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another Incident

Dear Bill Kling,

We have met on a number of occasions including the shooting of the share the road PSA's. I'm not sure if this has already been brought to your attention, but here is a very disturbing account of a recent bike/car incident involving a child in Huntsville:

I have been harassed numerous times riding my bike as a commuter in Huntsville, most recently, I was riding North on Meridian to work yesterday and a car yelled at me to get on the sidewalk as they turned into a parking lot. I swung back and talked to the woman (nicely) and she had no idea 1. that I'm supposed to be on the road 2. that there were share the road signs put up by the city on the very road we were on. She said she was yelling at me because she was worried I would get hit....My experiences during my daily commute and errands by bike, illustrate that City efforts for education and outreach are not effectively targeting drivers and that signage (where it is present) is not sufficiently visible to drivers. The city has yet to install all the signage promised in the wake of Sarah Chapman's death and the signs that do exist are often too small or poorly placed to be noticed on Huntsville's larger and busier roads such as Meridian St. and Whitesburg Dr. I am aware of the numerous budget issues and beaurocracy involved in merely placing signs and painting Share-rows on road surfaces; however, I am also frustrated that it just hasn't happened and that for drivers - the roads don't look any different than they did a year ago and bikes still don't 'belong' on the road.

Leela Pahl


Anonymous said...

excellent letter!


Leela the Kid said...

Here's Bill Kling's response to my original letter:
Are you going to the meetings of the Bicycle committee? I know that the SHARE THE ROAD signs were just a start, although they were about the ONLY thing added to this fiscal year;s budget, which is running a deficit over last year's. There is a public information campaign underway to change attitudes, I got the money for the brochures. There will be a comprehensive BICYCLE parking ordinance comming to the City Council. 
Bill Kling

Leela the Kid said...

To which I responded:
Thank you for the update on where things stand.  I went to the public BASC meeting held at the Library last month where they discussed the MANY roadblocks they've faced on getting things done quickly.  I was under the impression that the rest of their meetings were not open to the public.  I think they should be open to the public so we would have a better idea of what is going on and a forum to voice our concerns.  I have been checking the BASC website for any updates, but haven't seen much posted lately.
I'm assuming you have already seen the news report about the pedestrian hit on University Dr.  If not, here is a link:,0,7828168.story  This is particularly upsetting considering the recent death of the young woman crossing from the housing project on University.  I was there the evening her Grandfather and neighbors came and spoke at city council imploring that something be done to make that road safer for pedestrians to cross. While a bridge over the road is a very expensive solution, increased signage indicating pedestrian use and painted crosswalks on the road are less expensive and are effective tools to alerting drivers. Increased speed limit enforcement and ticketing of reckless drivers - including those too concerned with their phones and text messaging is an option as well.
I know that you personally care very much about these pedestrian and bike related issues and I thank you for all the attention that you have given these matters over the past few months.

Thanks for your continued efforts,

And Bill responded with:
The BASC meetings ARE open to the public. can let you know when the meetings are.
      I do not know the specifics, but overheard that the person in question had a six pack of beer (one opened) and was trying to race to beat a car that was traveling with the green light. 
      I found out that since University Dr. is a STATE road, the city cannot put up a bridge. We need to get our state legislators to work on the State Highway Department about construction of the bridge, similar to the pedestrain bridge near UAH.
Bill Kling

Leela the Kid said...

So - the city can't build bridges on a state road - can they think outside the box and maybe use some paint and pedestrian crossing signs at the numerous intersections/crossings on University that do not already have crosswalks - including the area near the public housing where Lashun Lynch was killed in April?

Also - I commented on the BASC website asking that they post the meeting location/times so that everyone can get involved.

Bello Velo said...

There is a bridge already up on University????

Councilperson Culver has proposed - 4 lighted pedestrian crosswalks on University where the last death occurred. Maybe we could inform Mr. Kling. This goes to Vote on the July 23rd City Council meeting. That way he can support it and get up to speed to what is happening.

here is the link to send Mr. Kling

Anonymous said...

Sic pack and you deserve to be hit Mr. Kling ????? What he heard?

I guess everyone here deserves to be hit by a car.

Van Go Biking said...

Nobody deserves to hit! But we do need to act responsibly. Other than being sober when crossing busy streets and driving, we need to be more pro-active on cycling safety & see what we can do by ourselves.

Is the city discriminating against cyclist? What does a class action suit entail?

I was told the meetings were NOT open to the public. WOuld eb nice if they were. I was under the impression that local law included an open meeting law & that have to be open and published & minutes etc made available to public on a timely basis and all that. I think this is being done more now, but I don't think it was in the beginning.

Open meetings might have allowed many of the map gurus to get involved and maybe the bike routes could be named by a convention other than an unknown numbering system, and so on.

Yes, OPEN the meetings!

Bello Velo said...

We do need to act responsibly and so does the HSV times and our city officials. Would the same reporting be done if this happened in Jones Valley and a resident from the Ledges was hit? Would they have reported that the woman had anti depressants and a nice bottle of chardonnay? What if she was walking home from 801 Franklin and got hit after having a cocktail?

We will never change attitudes here unless we change our own...