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  1. #1
    Who farted? Ka_Jun's Avatar
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    Garfield High School in the Central District uninterested in building bike community

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinio...5_truax27.html

    School district uninterested in building bike community
    RICHARD TRUAX
    GUEST COLUMNIST

    Garfield High School in the Central District is nearing completion of a two-year, $100 million remodel. The changes to the building are dramatic, but one major change is dramatic for all the wrong reasons: It will have little to no bike parking and no secure covered parking for bikes.

    Covered bike racks are a critical component of our transportation infrastructure. By building covered and secure bike racks at schools, we help build lifelong bike commuters and thus reduce our resource consumption and our impact on global warming. We also create a tool to build bike commuting into our science, health and social studies curriculum.

    Seven years ago a group of students in the YMCA Earth Service Corps began sponsoring a Bike to School Day at Garfield. They moved the few bike racks that were at Garfield into the courtyard where they would be dry and secure. For five years they ran a low-key campaign to promote bike commuting. In that time, "climate change" became a buzz phrase and they expanded the Bike to School Day to once a month. They have continued this effort while temporarily at the Lincoln High School building.

    Unfortunately, the architecture firm of BLRB has little interest in bike racks. Despite knowing the school had a club that was interested in a well-designed bike parking area, one ideally covered, Tom Bates and his firm spent about five minutes designing just two racks holding a total of 12 bikes. One of the racks is in the most isolated and insecure spot on the campus, this to serve a school of 1,600 students and another 120 staff. The school district is no more interested, despite its own policy of no bikes allowed inside any of its buildings.

    So, the club turned to the Mayor's Office for help. The Central District is one of Seattle's densest neighborhoods. Almost half the students in the school come from the CD. The school is a centerpiece of the neighborhood with a park, pool, a new gym, a Teen Life Center and an auditorium that are used year round by both the school and local community.

    It is also a neighborhood rich in diversity. By promoting bike commuting at Garfield in the Central District, we can also take one small step in breaking the racial divide in the environmental movement, a divide Van Jones terms "environmental apartheid" in his video "The Third Wave of Environmentalism."

    Ballard and Roosevelt high schools, both located in predominantly white neighborhoods, have covered bike racks and they have been very successful at increasing the number of bike commutes to school. In Roosevelt's case, the covered racks were built by the city to mitigate parking issues with the neighborhood. Why is that's not the case for the residents of the Central District?

    In addition, Garfield will have no yellow bus service next year, so students will have to find their own way to school. The YMCA Earth Service Corps at Garfield is committed to promoting bike commuting and encouraging many of the students to choose bike commuting. In addition, Bike Works is working hard to provide bikes to those with the least amount of means to attain one and the Cascade Bicycle Club is working hard to promote bike commuting to schools regionwide.

    There is a lot of interest and energy from a variety of groups to help create a great long-term bike-parking model. Unfortunately, the mayor isn't interested and suggests applying for a grant.

    While the neighborhood grant process has many pluses, it is not designed to build basic infrastructure. Every school in Seattle should have covered bike parking. When developers want improvements to local streets near their projects, they don't get a grant. When students ask for help with a critical climate change need, they are told to apply for a grant.

    Why? The root of the problem here is poor building codes and poor enforcement, thus the lack of interest on the part of BLRB and Seattle Public Schools. In the short run, we need the city to make this wonderful opportunity a reality and we need Seattle to build better long-term bike parking codes.

    Richard Truax is YMCA Earth Service Corps adviser and teaches social studies at Garfield High School.

  2. #2
    genec genec's Avatar
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    And some folks wonder where the anti bike attitudes come from...

    Well here is a city and high school that is drilling in that message from the start... "don't ride bikes... " That is exactly the message being sent here.

  3. #3
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    "By building covered and secure bike racks at schools, we help build lifelong bike commuters and thus"

    Hardly. Millions of kids rode their bikes to school in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s. I don't see millions of bike commuters.

    "promoting bike commuting at Garfield in the Central District, we can also take one small step in breaking the racial divide in the environmental movement"

    Racial enviromentalism?
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

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    I wrote this email to various powers at be from the college where I work. I was trying to make an appeal to help facilitate and promote bike riding in winter. You might find it interesting (though quite long). Basically, the response I received was "are you kidding?". It would be great to get some reactions from some folks here. I'm just eliminating some of the names to protect the innocent.


    Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 8:00 PM
    To:
    Subject: A unique proposal for your consideration (not for the
    faint-hearted)


    Gentlemen,

    Every once in a very great while, it seems a series of events can conspire
    in a such way it can spawn an idea that might be considered "out of the
    box". For me recently, such a set of circumstances did just that. And while
    I would hardly characterize it as "a perfect storm", it was rather uncanny
    how all of this came together. Let me explain:

    I'll start off with a preface.....and then reveal my vested interest. As I
    think all three of you know I often commute by bicycle to work from ******.
    My initial motivation a couple of years ago was simply to keep up my cardio
    health, as well as for the sheer enjoyment. Lately, an additional factor has
    weighed heavily into my thinking....saving money on fuel. I typically ride a
    couple of times a week with an occasional third day if I really feel good. I
    wanted to ensure I wouldn't wear myself out for the often labor intensive
    work I perform....so three days is probably my limit. It is around 13 miles
    one way from my home on the western side of ***** to the **** campus. So
    three days would be 78 total miles a week. Not exactly Armstrongian, but
    considerable when factoring in the work load.

    This pace is sustainable when relatively good weather is the norm. In the
    winter months, however, it degrades to an average of once a week or even
    bi-weekly. The main reason for this is not the cold (I have ridden to work
    in well below zero conditions), nor even the snow....per se. It's what the
    snow does to the crux of my route.....the ******* Trail. The trail
    enables me to ride home safely.....far away from the raving lunatics on the
    roadways, and the lion's share of the route is not maintained in winter. I
    still take the roads (very) early mornings because the traffic is
    minimal.....and the trail is technically closed from sundown to sunrise. But
    it has become increasingly difficult to negotiate the roadways in winter,
    particularly the ride home because of the traffic and the narrow, sometimes
    ice covered, shoulders. Not everyone is excited about bicycles on the roads,
    and motorist/cyclist tension often reaches its maximum during the rush to
    get home in the late afternoon, early evenings.

    So therein lies my vested interest. I confess what I will propose is
    primarily self-motivated. But I feel there are benefits to be had by all,
    and I want to explore those benefits with your further indulgence.

    The proposal? Ah, yes. As you may have gleaned it is comprised of utilizing
    our snow moving equipment (or more specifically the new RTV I use currently
    on campus) to plow the trail in the places where not currently plowed.
    Before you ponder all of the horrors of such an idea, consider the afore
    mentioned benefits (then I will explain some of the particulars of how I
    think it could be done):

    - It would promote a spirit of cooperation between local government entities
    (for allowing me to drive the route) and the college (particularly important
    with Aims' predicament with outside funding right now) . The idea would be
    at least partially contingent upon this spirit, and I will expound on this.

    - This co-op could end up being a promotional windfall....envision various
    media forms of advertising with references like "The City of ***** (among
    others) thanks ***** Community College for their assistance with the snow
    removal on the bike trails in the greater ****** area"......or something
    along those lines. Perhaps even a sign along the trail similar to those you
    see on the highways for Adopt A Highway. I think it would be great public
    relations.

    - Speaking of promotion, the idea would definitely address the very hot
    topic of our time.....the "Green" concept. What could be better than making
    it easier for people to transport via non-polluting means.....during the
    most emission capturing months? Perhaps it could even inspire someone to
    commute to **** as a student from the ever growing ******* area?

    - It will promote a sense of goodwill between the college and the
    community....particularly those who bike and walk on trails and would no
    doubt utilize them more often if they were made navigable during such times.
    This goodwill could also lead to benefits for the college, both tangible and
    perhaps not so evident.

    So bear with me.....I am writing because I communicate much more effectively
    this way, and the devil, as they say, is in the details.

    How would this be done? Well, essentially it would be simple plowing.....but
    only under certain circumstances so as not to interfere with ***** snow
    removal responsibilities:

    - The plowing would only take place only after all snow on the ground, as
    well as any immediate future forecast, is accounted for......if the snow was
    too substantial (or drifting) to plow easily (ostensibly dropping the angled
    blade and driving with no hindrances), then it would have to wait until
    conditions were conducive for such action. There would be no expectations
    because the areas to be plowed have never been plowed in the past, nor have
    they ever been or in reality will be, ***** responsibility. The actual
    frequency of plowing could be quite minimal, and plowing one time could have
    a long term positive effect on the conditions of the trail if only small
    amounts of snow fall afterwards.

    - I would simply drive the RTV home on my current bike route after all the
    criteria has been met (and my shift at ***** is over). This would be
    primarily specific bike trail surfaces (I can provide maps on the actual
    route for your scrutiny). The majority of the trail portion is the **** Trail.....but this would be supplemented by ****, ******, and
    ***** trails. Any conflicts with existing plowing on any portions of
    these trails would be avoided. The trails would be sparsely used, if at all,
    because of the snowfall.....so confrontations with bikes/pedestrians would
    be practically nil. If anything did develop in that way, I would, by
    default, stop the plow and allow the party(s) to pass before continuing.

    - Portions (approx. 10% or so) of the "ride" home would be on relatively
    slow moving residential roadways and/or other walks. I would specify the
    route to the various agencies that regulate such things and negotiate any
    compromises necessary. I have a beacon on the RTV to signify snowplowing
    capabilities.....and I would keep it on at all times. In addition, the
    forward lighting for any darkness issues is immense and very conspicuous!

    - I would drive the RTV similar to how I ride.....taking the lane where
    necessary but yielding to the far right portions of the roadway in most
    situations. If you've seen me plow you know I am quite painstaking in my
    progress so as not to do damage to vehicle or surroundings. ***** will
    confirm this! :-) Regardless, the RTV is very low geared for its ilk and
    cannot go any faster than any accompanying speed limit on the roads I would
    be on (around 25mph max). The RTV has seat belts, turn indicators, etc. and
    I certainly would be less exposed than on my bike! :-)

    - I would put the RTV in my garage at home and put my Jeep outside on those
    nights. I am extremely anal-retentive about stuff around my house being
    stolen or messed with, so its condition would not be compromised.

    - I would ride back to work in the morning and set plow the opposite way to
    complete the process.

    The potential problems I could conceive include:

    - Breakdown. Fairly remote considering the newer condition of the RTV and
    ***** prowess with maintenance issues, but always a possibility. I would
    discuss protocol for the RTV's fate in that situation with ***** ahead of
    time and formulate a plan of action accordingly. As far as me personally, I
    would be prepared for any situation with cell phone(s), warm clothes, and
    snowshoes. I have climbed all of the 14ers....many in winter....so I know
    how to extricate myself from predicaments of that nature.

    - Liability. Not sure of all the particulars here. I am aware this alone
    could be a deal breaker. I would rationalize, however, that we already take
    our snowplow trucks off campus to Corporate Ed.....so although this would be
    a rather extended version of that process, it arguably does not have that
    much more potential for an issue. I would be willing to sign any waivers
    necessary.

    - Compensation. I know I would do it for nothing.....just for the benefit of
    being able to ride more often. A community service if you will. But I
    understand it is probably not that simple with all of the by-laws and such.
    Plus, there is the issue of wear and tear (albeit normal) and fuel costs (I
    would be willing to defer some of that if necessary). I don't have all the
    answers for such matters and would defer to your wisdom as well as ******.

    So there you have it. An outline of my proposal. I recognize the built in
    reluctance to "allow" some deviation on the norm, and I have no illusions
    about this idea coming to fruition. I know it sounds a tad eccentric, but I
    truly feel the positives are closer to being absolute.....and the negatives
    are only (hopefully remotely) potential. All of this came about when I
    realized how not only ***** but **** also rides as well (not sure about you
    ******). I thought I could appeal to not only the novelty of the idea, but
    to some like-minded biking enthusiasts. There was also an **** student
    council leader consulting with ***** and I yesterday about adding several
    bike racks to various buildings to promote more riding. And *******
    is always promoting the "Bike To Work" week here on the campus. All
    this....and my desire to ride more often in the winter....prompted this
    spontaneous outburst and my allusion to the conspiracy of events that
    preceeded.

    I am prepared to discuss, or provide further information on, any of the
    details described. If you think this has any feasibility.....perhaps with
    some variations (large or small....humble me!) on things I have not
    considered.....let me know what I can do to help give this wings. I would of
    course coordinate this (upon approval by all parties associated) through
    **** and I certainly am not trying to circumvent his authority by leaving
    his name off this email. I broched the subject with him several weeks ago,
    and while he did not dismiss it summarily I think he has great sensitivity
    to anything which might portray his crew in a bad light...as I'm sure all of
    you feel as well. I get that. It would be a risky proposal if for no other
    reason. And I simply did not want to get him concerned about reactions if
    you guys thought the idea was faulty from the get go. And I know it would be
    a hard sell to *****....or *****....or the Board of Directors. That's
    why I wanted to see if you guys might be on board first....or could shed
    more insight on the potential pros or cons of the idea. If so, you know how
    to find me....I'll be the guy with the Raleigh hybrid, a helmet, and a
    couple of energy bars.

    Thanks very much!

    ****
    Irrigation Specialist

  5. #5
    SSP
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    ^^^^^^

    Shakespeare said it best.."Brevity is the soul of wit".

    Your "wall of words" email is way, way, way too long to be taken seriously.
    CycliStats.com - Software for Cyclists
    WeightWare.com - Weight Management Software

  6. #6
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccd rider View Post
    I wrote this email to various powers at be from the college where I work. I was trying to make an appeal to help facilitate and promote bike riding in winter. You might find it interesting (though quite long). Basically, the response I received was "are you kidding?". It would be great to get some reactions from some folks here. I'm just eliminating some of the names to protect the innocent.
    Do you honestly beleive they read the whole thing?

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
    Do you honestly beleive they read the whole thing?
    No.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP View Post
    ^^^^^^

    Shakespeare said it best.."Brevity is the soul of wit".
    The great irony is in who said that.....Shakespeare. Have you seen how many words are in Hamlet?


  9. #9
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
    Do you honestly beleive they read the whole thing?
    I cetrtainly didn't. You lost me at 'Every once in a very great while...' Are you an English major prechance? Can we have a precis?
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    As a conservative "mind your own damned business", state your opinions AS opinions, and just teach the damn subject matter teacher I just have to comment part by part:


    School district uninterested in building bike community
    RICHARD TRUAX
    GUEST COLUMNIST

    Garfield High School in the Central District is nearing completion of a two-year, $100 million remodel. The changes to the building are dramatic, but one major change is dramatic for all the wrong reasons: It will have little to no bike parking and no secure covered parking for bikes.

    [Better wording would be location and monitoring...]


    Covered bike racks are a critical component of our transportation infrastructure. By building covered and secure bike racks at schools, we help build lifelong bike commuters and thus reduce our resource consumption and our impact on global warming. We also create a tool to build bike commuting into our science, health and social studies curriculum.

    [Opinion of course. I prefer the words location and monitoring because it is my personal and private property that I am worried about. Knowing that my property is located in an easy to monitor location and thereby relatively secure and not leaving me high and dry in the middle of nowhere is one thing that would make me consider using the bike as a commute tool more seriously. I don't ride to save the environment or reduce consumption - I ride because I like it, promotes physically fitness and it is a mode of transportation among several that I use. A teaching tool when parked? Sorry I prefer it to be a teaching tool that is "alive".]


    Seven years ago a group of students in the YMCA Earth Service Corps began sponsoring a Bike to School Day at Garfield. They moved the few bike racks that were at Garfield into the courtyard where they would be dry and secure. For five years they ran a low-key campaign to promote bike commuting. In that time, "climate change" became a buzz phrase and they expanded the Bike to School Day to once a month. They have continued this effort while temporarily at the Lincoln High School building.

    [Great...a pro-bike agenda that excludes those cyclist who don't buy the climate change argument...I bet the word "diversity" follows soon...]


    Unfortunately, the architecture firm of BLRB has little interest in bike racks. Despite knowing the school had a club that was interested in a well-designed bike parking area, one ideally covered, Tom Bates and his firm spent about five minutes designing just two racks holding a total of 12 bikes. One of the racks is in the most isolated and insecure spot on the campus, this to serve a school of 1,600 students and another 120 staff. The school district is no more interested, despite its own policy of no bikes allowed inside any of its buildings.

    [Lack of interest, or are some developers and people in general tired of seeing everything couched in some ideologically driven political agenda - instead of simply persuading on the basis of utility, protection of private property and choice in transportation? Maybe they have identified your cause for what it is - exclusionary and leftist and the reaction became, "Relegate them somewhere out of sight!" You are not helping me as a cyclist dude...]



    So, the club turned to the Mayor's Office for help. The Central District is one of Seattle's densest neighborhoods. Almost half the students in the school come from the CD. The school is a centerpiece of the neighborhood with a park, pool, a new gym, a Teen Life Center and an auditorium that are used year round by both the school and local community.

    It is also a neighborhood rich in diversity. By promoting bike commuting at Garfield in the Central District, we can also take one small step in breaking the racial divide in the environmental movement, a divide Van Jones terms "environmental apartheid" in his video "The Third Wave of Environmentalism."

    [Careful here dude...you are coming dangerously close to insulting someone whether you intend to or not...]


    Ballard and Roosevelt high schools, both located in predominantly white neighborhoods, have covered bike racks and they have been very successful at increasing the number of bike commutes to school. In Roosevelt's case, the covered racks were built by the city to mitigate parking issues with the neighborhood. Why is that's not the case for the residents of the Central District?

    [Does the particular community really care? Is your opinion their's? Count their cars and feet, could be that is how they vote...is it a community that largely consists of non-whites? Are you insinuating that whites care and others don't?]


    In addition, Garfield will have no yellow bus service next year, so students will have to find their own way to school. The YMCA Earth Service Corps at Garfield is committed to promoting bike commuting and encouraging many of the students to choose bike commuting. In addition, Bike Works is working hard to provide bikes to those with the least amount of means to attain one and the Cascade Bicycle Club is working hard to promote bike commuting to schools regionwide.

    [Are you providing and "selling" the bike as a utility and a freely made choice or pushing it as a politicized one-sided bill of goods much like the gang-bangers leadership do?]


    There is a lot of interest and energy from a variety of groups to help create a great long-term bike-parking model. Unfortunately, the mayor isn't interested and suggests applying for a grant.

    [Really? List 'em...I bet it consists of "feel-good" "ideologically driven" "non-profits" as opposed to hundreds of local parents, dozens of local churches, Samoan chiefs, lodge chieftans, or kids who just don't want their bikes stolen or vandalized at school...it was my number one cycling beef in high school...]


    While the neighborhood grant process has many pluses, it is not designed to build basic infrastructure. Every school in Seattle should have covered bike parking. When developers want improvements to local streets near their projects, they don't get a grant. When students ask for help with a critical climate change need, they are told to apply for a grant.

    [Gawd I hate economics...]


    Why? The root of the problem here is poor building codes and poor enforcement, thus the lack of interest on the part of BLRB and Seattle Public Schools. In the short run, we need the city to make this wonderful opportunity a reality and we need Seattle to build better long-term bike parking codes.

    [Part of the root of the problem is the lack of diversity in your movement - and a tendency to insult just be opening your mouth. Whether you intended to or not, a lie is still a lie, and insult is still and insult, exclusion is still exclusion, a zero sum argument is still a zero sum argument...the pursuasion skills are solely lacking.

    Richard Truax is YMCA Earth Service Corps adviser and teaches social studies at Garfield High School.[/QUOTE]

    [Richard Truax is a YMCA Earth Service Corps adviser who has apparently swallowed the Marxist, Leninist, Global Warming, Diversity is Racial Diversity, etc. Kool Aid who also happens to teach social studies at Garfield High School and quite likely is violating the moral fitness requirement of his teaching credential by using his position as a pulpit. I deliberately avoid using my position as a pulpit knowing that it could come full circle later on as a complaint about my moral fitness dumped in my file with the State should the pendulum swing the other way in our school adminstrations. I state my opinions as opinions...and agree to politely disagree with my students as a matter of personal policy. It keeps me out of trouble. Don't have many friends though...which is fine by me.]

    =8-)

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    The point was that it wasn't a formal request. It was an idea. In order to fully "sell" the idea I tried to explain what I felt would be many follow up questions to a simple "I want to plow a bike trail". The rest of the "wall" was to lay a foundation for the idea, and give some credibility to the reasoning. I guess nobody reads anymore. How long would it ACTUALLY take to read that? This was from one of their employees. No time for that, huh? If they didn't read it all, they could have at least acknowledged it. I had to hear it second hand from another employee. Or, they could have scrolled through and got the jist of it, then responded??? Shoot it down in person....I wouldn't have a problem with that.

  12. #12
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Why the emphasis on a cover?

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    If they really wanted to send students a message, they'd refuse to build student auto parking, and give full phys-ed credit to all who walk or cycle to school.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
    Why the emphasis on a cover?

    That's what I was wondering, can't see the reason for it. People who 'need' covered parking, aren't typically the type who'll be riding when the cover is needed anyway.

    My response would be to have everyone who does ride to school park their bikes where they are most noticeable by the people who make decisions, that way the need will be highly visible and speak for itself.

    I think schools etc should have plenty of bike parking available, the covered part, as explained above, is just frosting.


    ken.

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