Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Another senseless death

Another senseless death I knew Nathan Crowson. Now he is dead. A drunk driver ran him over and killed him while he was riding on Perkins Road. Daniel Morris, who was riding with Nathan, remains in the hospital. But why were Nathan and Daniel riding on Perkins Road at night? They have the legal right and responsibility to be there, to be sure, but why would they be there? Just like everyone else on Perkins Road, and all the other streets of Baton Rouge, they were getting where they wanted to go. Unfortunately, because Baton Rouge has spent the past 60 years creating a city with only one viable means of transportation – the personal automobile – they had no choice but to ride Perkins Road. There are no bicycle paths paralleling Perkins Road. There are no bicycle routes through the neighborhoods because many of the developments are not connected. There is only one way to get to many places in town on a bicycle and that is on the road with motorists. This doesn't have to be the way things are. Cities are built. We could have built bicycle facilities, sidewalks, and a mass transit system with dedicated on-street facilities to be used in conjunction with motor vehicles over the past 60 years but we didn't. We gave our city over to the automobile and it is killing us every day. Not just bicyclists but other motorists and pedestrians die. For the past six years the Baton Rouge Advocates for Safe Streets (BRASS) has been advocating for bicycling and walking in Baton Rouge. Two years ago, in fact, BRASS submitted a bicycle route that will connect the Levee Path with Highland Observatory. This route uses existing, low-traffic and low-speed streets. A few short connectors will have to be built at minimal cost. Why hasn't is been created? The Baton Rouge Advocates for Safe Streets (BRASS) calls upon the Mayor's office, the Metropolitan Council, the Department of Public Works, and BREC: • to work together to adopt a Complete Streets policy for the City-Parish; • to create, fund, and implement a comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plan for the city-parish as soon as possible; • to establish a bicycle / pedestrian coordinator position within the governance of the City-Parish with oversight authority to ensure new facilities are created appropriately and in accordance with current standards and best practices, and; • to immediately begin working on implementing a safe bicycle and pedestrian route roughly paralleling Perkins Road and another roughly paralleling Highland Road. Join BRASS is creating a safer Baton Rouge for all roadway users. Go to www.brsafestreets.org to see how. Mark E.Martin BRASS

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