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Old 04-26-07, 07:09 PM   #1
PAlt
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Progress S***S!!!

I need a moment to rant here, so I apologize in advance. Got a note from the local bicycle club that a commercial development may be built in an area currently favored by MANY cyclists locally. It is in the middle of a quiet, bucolic, rural setting, with no major housing or other commercial sites within several miles of the location. The plan is to build a certain grocery store as well as other retail stores on the land. This would cause a MAJOR increase in traffic, making a currently lightly trafficked road (ideal for riding) much busier. Numerous organized events use the particular roads that would front the site, 5-6 at least over the course of the year.
Those who are familiar with the Charlotte area, particularly N. Mecklenburg Co., know the last thing we need here is MORE development to strain the already WAY overburdened infrastructure. The character of the surrounding area would likely change as well.
I ride by this area almost daily, as it is the gateway to numerous routes with lots of differing characteristics (steeper and longer climbs, quick descents, decent areas for intervals) and distances (17 to 60+mis). Losing these road would mean that some meaningful portion of of every ride would require navigating much more heavily trafficked roads with higher speed limits.
I've passed along the info. to all those close by I ride with, and we are organizing to e-mail, write letters, call, and show up at the appropriate public forums to make our views heard. It simply saddens (AND ANGERS) me that yet another simple pleasure is plowed under in service to the Mistress of Growth!!!
There, I'm done...
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Old 04-26-07, 07:42 PM   #2
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I can completely agree and support everything you've posted. Unfortunately we're seeing more and more of the lesser traveled roads in our area become burdened with increased traffic and at higher speeds. What was once rural is quickly becoming suburban. I guess that is progress??? To make it worse, the road you mentioned, Shearers Road, is the main artery to many, many more rural roads that are less traveled which make them perfectly suited for cyclists. Incidentally, Shearers Rd was the road I did a lot of my initial cycling on 6 years ago and it continues to be very heavily used to this day by a lot of cyclists. I cut across the County last night from I-77 over to Concord in my car via Shearers Rd and there must have been a dozen cyclists out there in separate groups.

Over my way, we're continuing to see explosive growth that is pushing us further and further out before we can feel comfortable riding on more lightly traveled roads. My plan is to only be here a couple more years and we will move far away to get a long ways from all this mess........
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Old 04-26-07, 07:58 PM   #3
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So I guess its time for you to get involved in city politics.
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Old 04-26-07, 08:03 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Artkansas
So I guess its time for you to get involved in city politics.
But if you do, remember what a politician once told me: "In politics there are only three things that matter. The first is money, and, umm, I can't remember the other two."
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Old 04-26-07, 10:22 PM   #5
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Paradise
©John Prine

When I was a child my family would travel
Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
And there's a backwards old town that's often remembered
So many times that my memories are worn.

Chorus:
And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

Well, sometimes we'd travel right down the Green River
To the abandoned old prison down by Airdrie Hill
Where the air smelled like snakes and we'd shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill.

Repeat Chorus:

Then the coal company came with the world's largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.

Repeat Chorus:

When I die let my ashes float down the Green River
Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester dam
I'll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin'
Just five miles away from wherever I am.

Repeat Chorus:
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Old 04-27-07, 05:52 AM   #6
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I don't think you can stop growth but you can push for bike friendly roads. Make them widen and add bike lanes then the traffic will not be as big a problem. I live in a pretty planned out community and 90% of the roads have bike lanes (40 miles worth). The town has about 60,000 people living in it and only couple of roads in/out so traffic is heavy during comute times. With the bike lanes though riding is pretty hassle free. The town also makes sure to sweep the streets frequently so the lanes are not full of garbage, if planned right you can have cars and bikes on the road at the same time without sacrificing much.
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Old 04-27-07, 06:52 AM   #7
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I know you can't stop growth!!! Don't even try, it just makes a lot of people angry at you.

Instead start right up front with the city and the planners in trying to get the plans to accomodate bikers.
Stonecrd has the right ideas above. You will probably be more successful if you go in with plans and data and people who are motivated to cooperate rather than obstruct.

We are the minority here....
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Old 04-27-07, 07:09 AM   #8
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Good advice. You are not likely to stop development, but if you work hard and smart and get lucky, you might be able to get them to take your needs into account.
As the forum member formerly known as Blackberry said, it's all about the Benjamins, so you might want to do a little research and find some data showing how bicycle and pedestrian friendly development can be financially beneficial. - Good luck!
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Old 04-27-07, 10:09 AM   #9
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Man, that bites. But you can stop growth, if your local politicians have the will (meaning the voting public has the desire). I feel fortunate that I live where I do - a county outside of Washington, DC (Montgomery County Maryland) that had the foresight to preserve a major portion of the land. One thing they did back in the 80's was to designate a major part of the county as an agricultural preserve. It is 91,000 acres (largest one in the US) where growth is restricted to only 1 home per 25 acres (with grandfathered exceptions). This has led to many things:

- Vast areas of natural habitat
- Many family run farms and horticultural enterprises
- Wildlife galore
- Low population density, meaning little car traffic
- A fantastic biking area, used by thousands

Of course the area is under constant pressure from the pro-growth, anti-government interference and 'let the marketplace decide' crowd. But thanks to the original farmers and residents living there who pushed for this and organizations such as the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club, incursion into this area has been limited. And the county recently elected a new County Executive who will continue fighting the sprawl pressures.

The interesting thing about this area is it is right next to a major metropolitan area. Most people who live in this area are not aware of it - development just stops at the border of the Preserve. Just on the other side of the Potomac River (the Preserve follows it) is pro-growth Virginia with congested traffic, over-built sub-divisions replete with SUVs and decidedly biker-unfriendly roads (note - not all of Virginia is like this, but certainly that area close to DC is). Of course there are areas of our county that face the same problems, but the Preserve is heaven for bikers, nature lovers, family farms and those who want of slice of a more bucolic time.

One interesting note is the song 'Take Me Home, Country Road' was inspired by this area. The authors of the song (Bill Danoff & Taffy Nivert - John Denver had a minor role) had never been to West Virginia, they were inspired by driving down a single lane, Montgomery County country road. Now that road (Clopper Road) is just outside of the Preserve and is no longer a country road surrounded by farms and cows, it is a 4 lane road filled with soccer moms, delivery trucks and others scurrying home.
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Old 04-27-07, 02:58 PM   #10
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Sometimes you can stop undesirable development. The 10 acre tract in the middle of our small beach side village that was bought for, and initially approved as, a big-box store and parking is now a brand new village park, with public kayak access, performance venue and lots of green space.

Maybe you aren't alone in objecting to undesireable development. Sometimes you just have to be the one to start the movement to maintain a decent environment.
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Old 04-27-07, 03:12 PM   #11
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Well lets look at math: 2000 census counted 281 million Americans. Earlier this year we passed the 300 million mark. The Census Bureau estimates that by 2040 there will 400 million people living in the United States. They gotta go somewhere and with everyone (me included) saying the same thing, NIMBY, where are they going to go?
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Old 04-27-07, 03:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by RockyMtnMerlin
Well lets look at math: 2000 census counted 281 million Americans. Earlier this year we passed the 300 million mark. The Census Bureau estimates that by 2040 there will 400 million people living in the United States. They gotta go somewhere and with everyone (me included) saying the same thing, NIMBY, where are they going to go?
Well that's obvious. They need to go to your backyard!
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Old 04-27-07, 03:23 PM   #13
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Well that's obvious. They need to go to your backyard!
Well Wyoming certainly has a lot of room (90,000+ sq miles and only about 600,000 people). But most folk prefer milder climates. Oops - so do I - what the he** am I still doing here. Oh, now I remember, no one wants me in their backyard.
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Old 04-27-07, 03:27 PM   #14
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Well Wyoming certainly has a lot of room (90,000+ sq miles and only about 600,000 people). But most folk prefer milder climates. Oops - so do I - what the he** am I still doing here. Oh, now I remember, no one wants me in their backyard.
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Old 04-27-07, 04:17 PM   #15
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Bluesdawg
Have been to Muhlenberg County, Green River, and Rochester Dam. Even got to see the remains of the Airdrie Hill jail before it was stripped away. Paradise Kentucky is now the world’s largest misnomer. A large TVA coal fired power plant and land has all been mined for coal. Lookand and felt like hell with sulfurous emissions from TVA, coal dust and orphaned coal mined land that looked like the landscape of the moon. A lot the land has now been reclaimed but the natural beauty that once was there is long gone. Guys be thankful your it not going to be mined.
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Old 04-27-07, 04:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowSpinner
Bluesdawg
Have been to Muhlenberg County, Green River, and Rochester Dam. Even got to see the remains of the Airdrie Hill jail before it was stripped away. Paradise Kentucky is now the world’s largest misnomer. A large TVA coal fired power plant and land has all been mined for coal. Lookand and felt like hell with sulfurous emissions from TVA, coal dust and orphaned coal mined land that looked like the landscape of the moon. A lot the land has now been reclaimed but the natural beauty that once was there is long gone. Guys be thankful your it not going to be mined.
I've seen a couple of documentaries on the mountain top mining. Very sad indeed.
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Old 04-27-07, 05:55 PM   #17
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Here's what they did in my city: http://www.burbankca.org/planning/chandler.htm

Of course, it doesn't go very far, but it's a start and better than unused RR tracks.
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Old 04-27-07, 06:04 PM   #18
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At least it made for a good song. Paradise was the first song I learned to play well enough on harmonica that someone recognized it and complimented me. Most of my attempts before that were about as pleasant as strip mining.
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Old 04-27-07, 07:46 PM   #19
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I agree with others suggestions to get involved in your community and push for bike lanes. Is there a cycling advocacy orgainization you can contact? In Ohio we have the Ohio Bicycle Federation and they're very involved in promoting cycling. The chairman of the organization is also a member of our cycling club. http://www.ohiobike.org/
If there's no such organization contact some local cycling clubs for information and contacts.

I guess I'm lucky to live in an area where cycling is promoted by several organizations. When the city where I live built a new YMCA outside town they included plans to build a bike trail to it. The city of Dayton is planning some downtown traffic changes and they recently held public meetings to get input on what type of bike lanes should be built.
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Old 04-28-07, 06:00 AM   #20
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"They paved paradise
and put up a parking lot."

With too many people on this planet, I think it's high time to get Kurt Vonnegut's ethical suicide chambers up and running.

You go first.
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Old 04-28-07, 06:58 AM   #21
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Surprised that no one from the front range of Colorado has chimed in here. We are old enough to remember the battle against the winter Olympics coming to the Colorado High Country because of the attendant population growth. The great cry from south of here was "Don't Californicate Colorado." Well in the intervening 31 years they lost the battle and managed to get screwed anyway. The Front Range from Wellington to Pueblo (except for the USAFA and Fort Carson) looks pretty much like CA and the high country is now dotted with mega ski areas and McMansions. And CO is supposed to grow by another million or two in the next twenty years.

Oh by the way, I see from today's headlines that those of you on the FL Gulf coast and coastal Carolinas and VA may now get the opportunity to see oil platforms from your very nice beaches pretty soon. Lucky you.
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Old 04-28-07, 07:50 AM   #22
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Just think of the tens of millions of boomers (like me) who ride and want to retire to some "warmer" place. The pressures on places like NC is going to be more, not less.

But mercifully, development doesn't travel at the speed of light, and if you can advocate to get bike trails or at least bike lanes that can provide a conduit to more rural or desirable areas, you probably have a better chance to influence things.

Oh yeah, I'll see you in a few years
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Old 04-28-07, 07:58 PM   #23
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It's happening everywhere. Me thinks $6 gasoline is the only thing that will stop this expansion madness.
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