Saturday, August 09, 2014

"Cyclists, slow down. Pedestrians, move out of the way. Share the bridge!"

As Ryan Rogers presciently observed:

Bicyclists and pedestrians have been cohabiting the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges in NYC for a long time.

That's true, Ryan, but here in Indyucky, there must be a long, slow learning curve when entirely new ways of thinking come at us like so many alien space ships brazenly landing atop the Creation Museum.

First there was a "threat" to make cyclists walk the Big Four Bridge, then there wasn't. Louisville Waterfront Park has addressed the teapot tempest with two posts at its Fb page. As a public service, here they are, in their entirety.

Just a few words about one of the most popular venues in Waterfront Park - the Big Four Bridge. The Big Four Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge.

Can't we all just get along? Pedestrians - be aware that you are sharing the bridge with cyclists. Cyclists - be aware that you are sharing the bridge with pedestrians. Everyone - be considerate of those who share the space with you!

The bridge is a unique space. It shares uses as well as users. It is not just a traditional commuter path - it is also a recreational path and a park space. It isn't just a way to get from Point A to Point B - it's also a scenic overlook, a social occasion. That means cyclists aren't going to be able to treat it like an expressway - they need to think of it more like a school zone and slow down. And pedestrians - be like the little school kids and remember what your mom and dad taught you - look both ways before crossing. Also, keep an eye on your kids. That cyclist wants to avoid an accident just as much as you do!

Pedestrians - the cyclists aren't being rude when they ring those little bells or call out from behind you - they are letting you know they are there - just scoot over and let them by.

Pedestrians - please don't walk 4 or 5 or 6 abreast. The space is simply not wide enough for this. You are blocking other users - cyclists and pedestrians - from getting by. Think how irritated you get in the grocery store when people park their carts in the middle of the aisle and then stand beside them and talk. Don't be those aisle-blocking cart people.

There has been rudeness on both sides. That needs to stop. Everyone, just slow down, take a deep breath, and accept that during busy times it's going to take a bit longer to get from one end to the other. Be patient! This bridge is for everyone to enjoy - young and old, fit and (ahem) not so fit (ok, that's me. ), differently-abled, wheels and no wheels. Please, let's not make anyone feel unwelcome or uncomfortable about using the bridge.

It's simple. Be aware. Be considerate. Enjoy the space and let it be enjoyable for others. Cyclists, slow down. Pedestrians, move out of the way. Share the bridge!

That is all.

So, to recap and be absolutely clear: YES!!! Bikes are still allowed on the Big Four Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge. NO!!!! You don't have to walk your bikes across. Please, everyone, just be considerate of those around you, and enjoy the bridge! (I know I'm using a lot of !!!!!, but somehow I feel like I'm not being heard today. )
And now, for the hardest part of all: Once you've learned Big Four Bridge etiquette, try not to forget that the very same guidelines apply when walking, biking or DRIVING YOUR CAR anywhere else ... even when YOU'RE NOT ON THE BIG FOUR BRIDGE.

Got it? Now, take it away, Matt Nash.

NASH: Bike lane designation needs to be reconsidered

On Wednesday I rode my bicycle across the Big Four Bridge, the converted railroad bridge that has been transformed into a pedestrian bridge and has been more popular than most people ever expected. As I was riding across I noticed that the markings that had been painted on to designate the bike lane have been removed. I was curious as to why and thought that I might investigate when I got home.

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