Saturday, May 21, 2011

Next American City » Buzz » The Real Reason Why Bicycles are the Key to Better Cities


I thought I'd take a break from War of 1812 history and post a link to an article about the prospects of an urban future. Kasey Klimes' article on bicycles and urban living is really thought-provoking:
Yes, the bicycle is a stunningly efficient machine of transportation, but in the city it is so much more. The bicycle is new vision for the blind man. It is a thrilling tool of communication, an experiential device for the beauty and the ills of the urban context. One cannot turn a blind eye on a bicycle - they must acknowledge their community, all of it.
Next American City » Buzz » The Real Reason Why Bicycles are the Key to Better Cities

Anyone who's tried to cycle around Columbus (which is a typical Midwestern city) can attest to the fact that it was designed-- or grown, without premeditated design--  from the perspective of the automobile. The ring of highways that get us from place to place also hem us in. The large green spaces (Metroparks) are all marooned outside the ring roads. There are green corridors, mainly the "trunk road" bicycle/multi-use trail that runs alongside the Olantangy/Whetstone River from downtown to Worthington. However, only a fraction of the urban sprawl exists in any sort of proximity to these routes.

If we think of local history as a continuous body, or DNA, of a city, with a little imagination we can create the future of Columbus as an extension of its past. Whereas in 1812 roads were hacked out of the oppressive, endless forests of the frontier, now an urban wilderness separates Franklinton from Worthington, and Worthington from Delaware. Maybe in the future we will plant green highways of trees and arterial bicycle trails to reconnect the sprawling suburbs to the core, mirroring the process of settlement.