Dumb Letter to the Editor of the Day

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salty
Participant
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Anonymous #

The whole premise of that letter was awesome. Its so much more sensible to ban bicycles than to not run them over when they are in the way.


Marko82
Participant
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I’m not on FB so I cant directly comment, but how about the CARS use the side streets – same logic.


jonawebb
Participant
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Since my recent radicalization I see this letter as similar to making an argument that, in a southern city prior to the civil rights era, we should not allow African-Americans to attend movies during peak times, because they take up valuable space that could be used by white people. They can attend the matinee instead.

It makes a lot more sense to ban cars during peak times, so that the roads are used more efficiently by bikes and buses, than to ban bikes. We’d have a much greater density of people/square foot if we did this.


orionz06
Participant
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Is the last sentence a thread or prediction?


ejwme
Participant
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dude, we should totally have a bicycle parade from 4-7PM up and down Forbes ave (in Squirrel Hill).

I’m now of the belief that PG just posts this nonsense to get more page hits. don’t feed the trolls.


reddan
Keymaster
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I’m now of the belief that PG just posts this nonsense to get more page hits. don’t feed the trolls.

^^^That.


Anonymous #

I just find it so weird that in peoples minds the only two options are ban them, or run them over. It is weird how it’s always the Gazette that is publishing this crap.


Anonymous #

Paragraph 1-if bicylists want to share the road then they should pay a registration fee. Paragraph 2-bicylists shouldnt be able to use roads. A nonsensical argument. As Samuel Butler said “All philosophies, if you ride them home, are nonsense, but some are greater nonsense than others.”


reddan
Keymaster
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I just find it so weird that in peoples minds the only two options are ban them, or run them over.

Probably because those aren’t the only options in most peoples’ minds…just the minds of those who, for whatever reason, feel enriched by posting deliberately inflammatory remarks in a public forum.

The comments section of the P-G is not a cross-section of Pittsburgh’s population, by any stretch of the imagination.


fjordan
Participant
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The last sentence sounds ominous; it projects a sense of inevitability—unless we follow his suggestions, of course. It doesn’t qualify as a threat, but the wording and implied sentiments are troubling.

I wonder if these writers have a template they work from. The only creative anti-bicycling article I’ve read in the past few months was in the Washington Observer, when someone contrasted cyclists with the tractors from Cars.

If they’re going to make the same points, Adam Sternbergh kindly provides a useful (parody) blueprint for those with anti-bicycle/bike lane leanings: http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/i-was-a-teenage-cyclist-or-how-anti-bike-lane-arguments-echo-the-tea-party/


Mick
Participant
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Actually I didn’t find the letter to be all that bad.

Not that I am suggesting banning bikes from Forbes at this point. I do see how it could be a goal: To Make the bike infrastructure, whether separated or not, so adequate that banning bikes from certain palces wold be an option.

For example, I would have no problem if they banned bikes from the car portion of the Hot Metal Bridge.

All they would need to do, in my opinon to be able to ban bikes from Forbes, is to create a bike structure that would make Forbes redundant for bikes. I imagine this would only be slightly more expensive than the proposed Mon Valley Speedway.

I thik there would probably be some resistance to buying up the property naecessary to make a few good dedicated bikeways over Squirrel Hill, but it’s good to know we would have supporter in that in Mr Gribbon. I hope he still feels this way if his house is one of the ones condemned to make room for the bikeway.


orionz06
Participant
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Why ban bikes when bikes are not the problem? It would be a poor knee jerk reaction in an attempt to get drivers who are too aggressive or not paying attention to stop being aggressive and to start being more alert. News flash, changing someone else will not change them.


chemicaldave
Participant
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I’m surprised he didn’t complain about the new condos being built on Forbes between Murray and Wightman. That certainly wouldn’t increase traffic would it?


edmonds59
Participant
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IMO the Hot Metal Bridge I think is a poor example, I see roadies going over the bridge in the car lanes at 20-25 mph, or ABOUT THE SPEED LIMIT, which I think is exactly the right decision. I can think other situations where removing the road option would be bad, you don’t want those folks on the byways with the strollers and weavers, nothing against them.


Anonymous #

Congestion isn’t a reason to ban bikes, it is a reason to encourage more bike riders.

My two daughters (9 and 7) ride on our street, guess they should be taxed for their fair share of road use. Great argument.


Anonymous #

Sure lets have a fee per year based on vehicle weight. That would be fine. Maybe .10 per pound per year. What would that come to for a 20 lb bicycle? $2? What about a 6000 truck? Hmm, maybe that guy was on to something? What about health care companies paying us to ride bikes? For every bike there is one less car polluting and making the region less healthy. Obesity? Yes a fee paid to us. Great idea.


stefb
Participant
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Isnt there some billboard directed at drivers saying that they ARE the traffic?


Erica
Participant
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Not sure where this is:


Anonymous #

@TonyP “Congestion isn’t a reason to ban bikes, it is a reason to encourage more bike riders.”

I would rephrase it: “Congestion isn’t a reason to ban bikes, it is a reason to ban cars.” :)


Ahlir
Participant
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I couldn’t resist, so I read the letter. Mr. Gribbin does bring attention to an actual problem and I was a bit disappointed by the range of comments that he elicited (of course, it is the Post-Gazette). Anyway I couldn’t resist adding my own comment, which I post here to save the trouble of looking up the original.

“I agree with Mr. Gribbin that Forbes Ave in Squirrel Hill tends towards the chaotic and that it would be better to arrange for better separation between cars an bicycles. Here’s a solution that would have minimal impact on existing traffic patterns: Convert the otherwise useless parking lanes (particularly between the park and Murray) into bike lanes. This would certainly solve the problem of cars and bikes mixing on that stretch of Forbes and would certainly address all of Mr. Gribbin’s misgivings about bicycles. I’m almost surprised he didn’t volunteer this solution himself.”


Anonymous #

I find the reactions amusing when people realize the prevailing order isn’t working for them, but are unable to realize why.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but cars fly on Forbes up the hill and out of the Schenley and then again around the bend to Braddock. Only to do the car equivalent of fidgeting in the business district they owe their property values to.


rsprake
Participant
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It’s such a strange thing when someone wants bikes banned from a street they live on and not the dirty, noisy cars.


ericf
Participant
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I agree with the writer 100%. There are streets that should not be shared(i.e. Forbes, Fifth, Center, Baum). Let’s pick one and ban cars. Problem solved.


RoadKillen
Participant
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Take a look at this video. San Francisco, 1906. Horse drawn carriages, trolley cars, automobiles, pedestrians and, yes, bikes. All of them sharing one hell of a busy street.

Look closely, there are no stop lights, sharrows, parking lanes or speed limits. I think towards the middle of the video there is one crossing guard.

Yet, everyone seems to be getting along just fine. What the hell changed in the last 106 years to bring us the shit we have to deal with today? Is it just that cars go faster than they used to? Are people more impatient, more distracted, more medicated?

I’m not trying to look at this through rose colored glasses. I’m sure there were accidents, deaths and road rage. Not to mention all the horse crap on the streets.

Rant over. Enjoy the video.


Ahlir
Participant
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@roadkillen: The difference is speed. Our cars move around way faster than they did a century ago and they’re more dangerous as a result. Everyone else has been chased off the streets.

What you describe can still be found today, in countries like India and China: Streets are packed with every conceivable conveyance, plus pedestrians. But everything moves slow and you have time to react.


ejwme
Participant
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west africa has a lot of that too. lots of sheep, cows, and goats also clog up the roads. roads are usually unpaved. But the government requires registration and tax on everything with wheels (even ox-carts) at least in Mali. So bicycles are required to be registered and taxed (but I don’t think licensed riders – I don’t know, my PC ID card was essentially a pass negotiated in the aid agreement).

I think speed is only part of it, part of it is the lack of cars as overwhelming majority. If you add up all the other visible elements of traffic, personal cars might be 50%, might not. Keep in mind that laws governing liability will also motivate private taxis, bush taxis, and bus drivers who might be better willing to exchange a few seconds for the ability to continue making money vs. a private person with good insurance.

I think there’s also an element of luxury involved – cars used to be a luxury. Average joe, if they saved up, might buy one. But early on, only rich people and well off gear heads did. It wasn’t seen as something you had to get on credit with your job offer letter. It was an option.

Now, due to the way our infrastructure and (lack of) mass transit is set up, in many places it’s a necessity, or a perceived necessity.

For example: I could work bikeable distance from my home, likely, at about half my current wages (and am perpetually pondering this). I could live bikable distance from my office, but not with my husband (unless he drives all the way in to the city to his job, which doesn’t exist outside Lawrenceville, and since his job is a passion, this is a non-starter). I realized about 5 years too late I’d started down a path that essentially mandates car ownership and use.

Silver lining – now, when I talk to my coworkers about biking as transportation, mass transit, limiting commute times, and working from home, I get massive agreement and encouragement. When I first explored the idea, about 8 years ago, I worked 4 miles from where I lived and got a lot of push back and discouragement. Sigh.

Hind sight is 20/20, but life in general is improving as young people are figuring it out earlier and setting up their lives differently. The trend is towards urban living, away from driving-only suburbs. Progress, bit by bit.


jonawebb
Participant
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It’s not really speed. I can’t look at the video right now, since youtube is blocked here, but they had all sorts of problems with traffic in New York about the same time. The congestion made it practically impossible to live there, leading, eventually, to the construction of the subway system. There’s a book, “Straphanger”, that I’m reading right now that goes into this extensively.

The fundamental problem with cars is that they use real estate very inefficiently, both while in use and while parked. Bicycles and mass transit make much more sense for cities.


Tabby
Participant
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I think there is something about the effortlessness of modern cars. All our cars are old (16-30 years old) and when I drive a friend or family member’s car the first thing I notice is this feeling like I’m floating. The steering wheel doesn’t even seem like it’s really moving the wheels.

In my car, I can feel the road vibrations, turning the wheel takes some effort and I really feel the effort of going up steep hills. Not that there’s more physical effort for me, but there’s a much greater awareness of the road conditions than in a new car that seems to make all pavement feel smooth and flat.


ajbooth
Participant
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Sent to the P-G today:

After reading the letter from HENRY PETER GRIBBIN in today’s Post Gazette (It’s time to be sensible about sharing streets) three things come to mind. First, I don’t want to ride my bike anywhere near Mr. Gribben. Second, there is nothing at all sensible about his proposals. Third, the P-G Editorial Board should be more responsible in choosing the letters that are printed in the paper.

In most cases, cyclists do pay taxes. Those taxes are used to maintain roads. By law, cyclists are allowed to be on any road in the state that is not a freeway. There are many more law-abiding cyclists than there are scofflaw cyclists, just as there are both law-abiding and scofflaw motorists. By continuing to print letters with incendiary phrases like “body count” you are fanning the flames of ignorance, and giving voice to people who otherwise would (and should) be reduced to yelling at kids to stay out of their yards. It is irresponsible of the P-G Editorial Board to allow this to continue. How about a a reasonable discourse on how to make our roads safer for all who share them–cyclists, pedestrians, and automobile drivers–rather than continuing to present a one-side assault on the rights of one group?


salty
Participant
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Wow, nice letter.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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here is an article that i probably got from here at some point, that describes the invention of jaywalking. it is interesting to note that city streets did not begin as the domain of the car, but as the domain of the people. what changed was a well-organized campaign to turn the streets into the automobile’s domain.


steevo
Participant
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I went this way with my response.


steevo
Participant
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I also want to start a non profit called

“car pittsburgh”. My friend does facebook

posts all the time that are hilarious. Most

recently was a photo of the park between

hillman and clpgh and asking who is happy

now that there are less parking spots and

how drivers are victims of “greening”


edmonds59
Participant
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That library story is excellent and brilliant.


sarah_q
Participant
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x2 for the youtube Steevo posted. Amazing.


ejwme
Participant
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The library thing is genius and sad all at once. Genius that someone thought of it, implemented it, and it worked. Sad that it ever had to happen to begin with.

So how would the extension to bikes work steevo?

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