My email to Ken Schram

I probably shouldn’t have, but I emailed Mr. Schram today and tried to express a different opinion about the Lake Forest Park bike issue. For what it’s worth, here’s what went down:

Come on, Ken… what has happened to you? Back in the day — you know 20 years ago before you got totally corrupted by sound bites — I used to watch Town Meeting with my family and think you were pretty with it. Maybe John Carlson has been rubbing off on you?

I have to take serious exception with your recent commentary condemning cyclists. You made the incredibly shortsighted statement: “Now if only a few other police jurisdictions would go after spandexed scofflaws in the same way the Lake Forest Police are doing, ah, the world be a better place.” (http://www.komotv.com/news/9073241.html)

In fact, if you really want the world to be a better place you should wish for MORE cyclists instead of this artificial targeted, car-driven enforcement. One example to chew on: have you ever been to the Netherlands? Bikes everywhere. No bike/pedestrian/car conflicts. Why? Everyone gets along because everyone is familiar with all three modes of transport. Frankly, it’s the “country of the future.” (TM)

Have you ever even ridden a bike on the Burke-Gilman? It’s first and foremost a bike path — a product of the 70s bike boom. There have always been bikers: the jogging and fitness walking and dog walking trends came later. Riding from Gas Works to Bothell on a mostly smooth and well-maintained trail one is aware of stop signs and traffic enforcement, but these obstacles seem reasonable and necessary for safety — that is, until Lake Forest Park. There riders find a narrow, rutted trail surface, a random collection of speed limits (most cyclists don’t have speedometers), and stop signs for private driveways.

Angry motorists claim they want bikes to follow the same rules and conventions as cars. On roads, stop signs are used to keep the majority moving and control the few. In Lake Forest Park, a key county transportation corridor serving thousands of commuters a day, it works differently. There, stop signage (something like five in a half mile) halt that majority in favor of the few — private driveways serving a maybe a dozen car trips a day. For a view of a successful system, travel just three miles down the BG Trail toward Bothell where a similar series of crossings also enlists stop signs. The difference is that these stop the minority traffic: cars. Kudos to Bothell (or maybe it’s Kenmore?) for sensible traffic management.

You may think cyclists scofflaws but out on mean streets motorists would never stand for such unbalanced traffic controls. Mass revolt would take over roads and the media. Meanwhile in Lake Forest Park, this unfair, ticket-the-majority, revenue-generating scheme is supported by normally sane populace who, I can only surmise, either live down one of those driveways or resent that some people are not slaves to their cars.

Finally, I should note I find it a “coincidence” this stepped up enforcement comes on the heels of Lake Forest Park losing a ruling that will make the municipality improve the trail — something it has been fighting the county over for years see: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/325184_trail26.html). Could it be that these poor sports in Lake Forest Park are just retaliating?

You used to be a champion those targeted by such bullies, but apparently those days have passed. Shame on you….

-Tim

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