Bicycles & Scooters

Thanh -- July 20th, 2008

Due to a combination of rising gas prices, greater awareness about carbon emissions’ impact on the environment, and individuals looking for healthier lifestyles, I’ve been seeing a lot more bicycles on the road and a lot more people walking. Although admittedly Harrisonburg doesn’t have the most ideal bicycle facilities (yet) and many neighborhoods were designed when cars dominated the American life leaving few sidewalks, many improvements have been made over the years to better accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians thanks to the efforts of citizens, citizen groups, bicycle clubs, City Council & staff, and business owners.

To view some maps of existing bicycle and pedestrian facilities in Harrisonburg, visit the Public Works Department’s webpage. There are projects in the works for new sidewalks and bicycle routes, some of which include sidewalks along Devon Lane, South Avenue and E Market Street (between Burgess Rd and University Blvd) as well as additional bicycle route signage/desginations along Dogwood Avenue (from Hidden Creek to Dixie) and Main Street (between Port Republic Rd and Miller Circle). New bicycle racks were installed downtown and delivered to city schools in early 2008, and I’ve seen an increased number of private businesses providing bicycle racks in front of their stores, ex. Kline’s Dairy Bar, Red Front, Target, Rite Aid, etc.

As improvements are being made, citizen input is often needed – that’s because citizens are the users of these facilities and there are a variety of needs to be met. There is a City Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee and anyone can be on its mailing list or come to the quarterly meetings – go here for more info. Below are some projects I am aware of that are in need of input and/or volunteers. Please help if you can.

  • Scooter Parking Downtown. Downtown Harrisonburg is experiencing an increase number of scooters visiting and an increase number of scooters parked on sidewalks. Due to the size of a scooter, when they are parked on the sidewalk they sometimes block sidewalks making it difficult for pedestrians to walk by. The Downtown Parking Advisory Committee would like to make scooter parking accommodations and is looking for input from riders. Some questions they have include: How critical are locking needs? If a post to lock scooters is critical, what kind of locking post is needed? What kind of locking mechanisms are generally used by riders? How much space is needed for a scooter to be parked? How far are riders willing to walk from a designated parking area to their destination (be it a restaurant, office, or other business)? Below is an example of scooter parking accommodations in Decatur, GA. Would something like this be of interest to scooter riders as well as motorcyclists?
    Scooter Parking

    Scooter Parking

    Those who own scooters or who are familar with scooters are asked to contact Jessica Chase at jchase [at] harrisonburgva [dot] gov, call her at 432-8922, or leave a comment below.

 

  • Bicycle & Pedestrian Education Tent at International Festival. Having witnessed an increased number of bicycles in Harrisonburg and anticipating more to come, a collection of individuals are putting together a Bicycle & Pedestrian Education Tent at the International Festival. This education area will feature giveaways, bicycle maintenance demonstrations, advocacy information, tips and information on how to commute to work, rules of the road for bicyclists, outreach to motorists on how to safely maneuver around bicyclists, etc … The group needs volunteers to help generate ideas and to help with the tent displays. Click here for more specific information on needs, how you can help and contact info.  

3 Responses to “Bicycles & Scooters”

  1. Thanh says:

    If you can’t volunteer for the Bicycle & Pedestrian Education Tent, please come visit it at the International Festival on September 27 at Hillandale Park! :)

  2. kai says:

    Thanh- Thanks, as always, for taking the time to provide detailed information about what’s currently going on in the city. I think the scooter parking is a great idea, and a perfect example of simple things we can do to encourage transportation alternatives to cars. Accomodating the coming growth and doing what we need to acheive efficiency and reduce energy use will take a multi-pronged effort involving promoting walking, biking, riding buses, and encouraging use of vehicles like scooters.

    I wrote an account of meeting two strangers needing rides today, and my opinion that we need to reevaluate those routes to see if increased gas costs might make formally inefficient routes worthwhile.

    I also linked to the Pedestrian Plan and Bike Plan from http://www.KaiDegner.com.

    Thanh, is there a central (online) location to see every city-related upcoming meeting that welcomes citizen input? That might be a question for the Public Information Officer – I’ll ask her!

  3. Jeremy says:

    I rode a scooter for about a year and now have a motorcycle. I’d encourage the creation of dedicated parking spaces for motorcycles and scooters. San Francisco has them all over, and they are used heavily (no surprise — it is a major city). Motorcycles typically have a handlebar lock integrated into the ignition lock, so I don’t think locking devices are essential. Part of the appeal of riding a motorcycle is being able to park more easily, so I might be tempted to share a spot with a car (parked perpendicular to the road) if I had to walk more than a couple hundred feet.

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