Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sharing the bike path...a civilized option.

I can't remember how long the snow has been sticking around...like a guest that has overstayed his welcome. When was first snowfall that lies buried beneath subsequent generations of different shades of gray and white?  It just refuses to depart and another round is expected tonight.  Too many street corners are not passable and navigating the least hazardous route is an unpredictable challenge.  Who cannot feel bad for our senior neighbors who must circle the block to avoid the uncharted crosswalks. So which city agency is responsible for cleaning the corners.  I expect to be told that since alternate-site-parking has not been restored that project is on hold.  Really.  Don't remember the DOT every cleaning around the curb cuts and storm sewers that now are no where to be found.
So I wasn't completely surprised that the Parks Department, who is responsible for the Ocean Parkway malls, chose to clear only the bike path on the west mall.  The pedestrian side remains snow-covered and impassable.  (It still seems that bike riders are prioritized over the walking public as bike lanes are quickly cleared throughout the city but every intersection is untouched waiting for a warm sun to melt it away)
So now we all have to get along in order to deal with the present reality on Ocean Parkway.  With only the larger path open, bike riders and pedestrians must respect each other's need for personal space.  No one can claim any exclusive rights. Walkers and joggers should stay to the right and avoid blocking the entire path and bicycle riders must slow down and truly obey the traffic signals.  As of now the bike path must serve the walking and riding needs of everyone and if these two groups should converge on one another, everyone should just be immensely patient.  The going is tough for all. Make friendly eye contact.  Acknowledge each other.  Don't be an asshole.
Today I was driving up one-way East 3rd street when a car stopped and blocked the road.  An elderly woman exited the car on the passenger side because there were mounds of slick, uneven ice waiting on the driver's side. The driver helped the woman cross over the ice very carefully until she was safely on the solid dry sidewalk.  A line of cars waited. No one leaned on their horn.  I think we all knew a similar situation could also affect us or our families under these conditions. It was nice to see that.patient waiting is still a civilized option.-Allan Shweky