UPDATE: Ok, that was a bit of a rant; definitely tired of shoveling… What I think I was trying to say was this: Since when did the suburbs become such a dangerous place to live in? You’d think bike riding would be perfectly safe, but that appears to not be the case in the suburbs anymore. The suburbs are supposed to be the safe, family-friendly place to raise a family, but if you can’t even go outside to ride a bike anymore, perhaps the whole suburb concept is dead.
Quick synopsis: A lady in Suffolk County was riding her bike and got hit by a car. Her son wrote to Suffolk County Legislator Thomas Barraga regarding bicycle safety on the road where she got hit. Legislator Barraga responded:
“I have lived in West Islip all of my life and my personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever ride a bicycle or motorcycle.
….Suffolk County is a suburban automobile community — drivers expect to see other drivers on the road, not bicyclists and motorcyclists.” (SEE THE FULL LETTER BELOW)
<RANT>So no bike riding at all in Suffolk because it’s an automobile community? I feel this old way of thinking attributes to why so many on isolated-Long Island are overstressed, overweight, unhealthy and feel so damn disconnected from the world.
Long Island has too much sprawl, too much traffic, too much in&out of cars; we don’t spend any of our time being in touch with the world around us. Yes, you can currently blame the reason why we’d choose cars over bikes is because of this crazy snow, but that isn’t necessarily the case in many areas north of us, or even Canada. Europe anyone? Heck, even in freakin’ NYC!
Long Island was mostly developed during the age of the automobile, when people (like my relatives) left an aging NYC as fast as they could for a better life amongst the trees and fresh air. Robert Moses built our parkway system as winding roads for leisurely drives, were we look out the window of our cars to see the nature around us. If you look close enough, you will see a ton of ponds and lakes along our parkways, or even the brook along the Meadowbrook:
— seabythecity (@seabythecity) January 12, 2014
My family talks about Elmont as a place that was once “the country where you can smell the difference in air quality the second you crossed the county line.” Today that air isn’t so fresh when you’re stuck in traffic driving to that strip mall where nature once stood.
There is also a mentality here on Long Island that biking and walking is bad because: A) That’s what poor people do, or B) Having a really nice car means you’ve ‘made it and one of the reasons why we left NYC in the first place.
Times have changed. I personally find driving around Long Island to be extremely frustrating and a complete waste of time. Don’t you?
Alternative ways to get around must not only be encouraged, but be safe to do. Yes, one will say “how can I ride my bike from Long Beach to Islip? It’s impossible.” I am not talking about that long of a distance. But locally, it’s not safe to just ride a bike (or even walk) across the street.
Young adults are flocking back to the cities to get away from the suburban automobile community-lifestyle. In fact, many believe suburbia is dead (google it). These folks want to live in an area where they feel they belong, where they’re in touch with the world around them. Luckily, Long Beach is such a place where we can bike and walk wherever we want. Long Beach appears to somewhat care about bike riding as evident with the recent RFP For a new bike-sharing program (thank god I live in Long Beach). Although it’s not perfect: You should be able to ride your bike from Island Park to Long Beach safely. You should be able to ride your bike from Lido Beach to Long Beach safely. You should be able to ride from Atlantic beach to Long Beach Safely, etc….. Sidewalks are for pedestrians. Roads are for vehicles, such as bikes and automobiles.
I know I am rambling, but Legislator Barraga’s attitude on bike riding drives me nuts. Hey, maybe this jokester is right. In fact, I never want to leave my car ever again. How about we make every single place on Long Island a drive-thru, or better yet, let’s just have delivery-tubes connected to all our houses so we never have to go outside every again. When will amazon.com deliver everything by drone? I can only hope our future is similar to that spacecruise scene in the movie WALL-E: We can all be unhealthy, unable to move, but at least we’ll have television to watch. That should keep us all happy…….
I surely hope the good people of Suffolk votes this clown out of office come next election. </RANT>