The View From Prospect Hill – August 8

On August 8, 2012, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

The Hubway bike sharing system is now a reality for Somerville, and many are applauding its inclusion as a transportation option, while others have questions and concerns regarding the costs and the potential drawbacks that may come to the fore as time passes.

The Shape Up Somerville movement gets a bit of a boost every time a citizen opts for taking a bicycle out on the streets instead of an automobile. The air quality suffers a little less as well with that tiny bit of carbon emission left behind in the garage.

So, what can one possibly complain of as we press ahead in urging one another to take a bicycle to lunch instead of the old fossil fuel burner? Little, in fact, but there are a few concerns.

For one thing, many of our city streets are ill equipped to easily accommodate both motorist and cyclist as they vie for the precious space that some of our narrower thoroughfares offer. Should we be advocating bike usage before we develop properly laid out paths to accommodate them? More bike lanes on city streets and dedicated bike paths should be a high priority if we are going to be pushing people to pedal themselves around like this.

Of course, the costs involved in making these modifications to our streets must be considered and weighed against the value we place on promoting more bike usage.

It seems like a great idea on the face of it, but beauty is only skin deep, as they say. Let’s look a little deeper and decide whether or not we are capable of providing a balanced level of safety and convenience alongside the utopian vision of an emission-free transportation system.

All good things in their own time, they also say.


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