After being called a traitor to bicycling earlier this week, I got to thinking: What we commuters need is a little comfort.
That’s partly why 70 percent of Bay Area commuters drive solo. It’s more comfortable to be enclosed in your own vehicle, to be able to choose the radio station, to chomp noisily on that breakfast burrito and to engage in ghastly personal grooming habits that even members of your nuclear family wouldn’t tolerate.
Not to belabor a single e-mail, but this bicyclist named John who heard me on KQED’s Forum program had a point:
Sure it’s `scary.’ The point, obviously, is to make it not scary. That’s why the other cities have things like colored bike lanes, protected Read the rest of this entry »
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I decided to post this chapter-and- verse analysis of the alleged disrespect paid to Marines who spent their two-hour layover on the tarmac of Oakland International Airport Sept. 27. It’s by Steve Irwin (not to be confused with the late Crocodile Hunter), an airport security consultant and former U.S. Air Force member who used to work at Oakland. He keeps up a website on aviation security and other matters at www.californiaaviation.org.
When I got invited to share my wisdom about Bay Area transportation this morning on KQED radio’s “Forum” program, I though maybe I’d hear from listeners about my aligning San Francisco with the Bush Administration.
The outrage, I imagined, at the thought that the epicenter of all things progressive could be the running dog for U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters’ crusade to make drivers pay through the nose for causing congestion. I mean, really.
But no, no one wanted to pillory me for such a suggestion, not even Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, who told me Tuesday that not everything happens because of politics.
All it takes it one College president making a statement about something people are passionate about and suddenly, there’s a movement. And a counter-movement. In the electronic media, anyway.
The academic leader in question was John McCardell, Jr., president emeritus of Middlebury College in Vermont. He must have shrewdly calculated that while he had little chance of getting attention on his own, he’d get lots of help from his numerous opponents.
Which brings us to today, when I find in my inbox a press release from the Governors Highway Safety Association:
This morning I received one of the biggest responses ever to any story I’ve written in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, the story had little to do with transportation and nothing to do with commuting.
A half-dozen vitriolic e-mails from readers from Virginia to Washington State, one electronic query from a staffer of one member of Congress and a phone call from another representative’s representative.
Still, journalists like to know that their “content,” as I now like to call it (because most people get it for free. Some day, I will be standing at an intersection with a cardboard sign saying, “will provide content for food.”), is being read by the widest audience possible.