Tuesday, August 05, 2008

the iowa bike coalition says we're patient and understanding


breakfast this morning was disturbed by a front-page article in the des moines register, which--TWO MONTHS AFTER THE FUCKING FLOODS--has an article about the "rocky road to repairing water-ravaged rec trails" and sub-titled "years to build, months to restore, washed away in a flash." there's a photo of a cyclist--who obviously has ignored the barricades and closed signage--riding down the great western trail south of des moines. poorly designed, shoddily constructed, and then ignored--instead of maintained by the departments who should be ever-mindful of their use and needs, these trails are truly the bastard children of the city, county, and state.

now mind you, this neglect knows no season, as it just happens that the obstacles now causing grief to users and would-be users of these bicycling main arteries were the result of heavy rains and floods IN FUCKING JUNE, but damage also occurs at other times as the result of wind storms, downed trees, snowfall, and general neglect and failure to properly build and maintain 12 months a year because officials don't get that these trails are NOT just recreational trails but bicycle highways for many.

the register gets non-passing grades for not noting this in their coverage, but the biggest offender [seen in the above photo in the center, in red] makes his appearance on page 6a, when "mark wyatt, a bicycle enthusiast from north liberty, said bikers are being patient and understanding about the problem. ... during the floods in iowa city, the bicycle became one of the main ways to get around town because traffic was backed up so much, said wyatt, executive director of the iowa bicycle coalition, a non-profit advocacy group."


jesus christ, mark, you are PAID to ADVOCATE for us. bikes haven't just RECENTLY become a main way to get around. god dammit, man, light a fucking fire, would you?

i, for one, am NOT patient and understanding. not with the officials who build these shitty little trails to get us off their precious roadways and then do NOT maintain them but let them fall into dangerous states of disrepair, but also with the elected officials [remember crawford county, dallas county, dickinson county, and now madison county?] who try to legislate us OFF their precious highways onto these same shitty little trails because their fucking roadways aren't safe for us.

having YOU, mark wyatt, speak for US--the people who actually RIDE bicycles a LOT--is like having dick cheney invite oil company executives into the white house to devise and set the nation's energy policies. this post has been brewing in my mind for months, and the article in this morning's register set it loose.

mark wyatt must go.

he is NOT the voice of iowa bicycling, and has totally failed to live up to the goals--even just the reasonable ones, not the lofty ones that all cyclists that i know would hope for--that the iowa bike coalition holds for itself. i'm a paid member of the group [i coughed up my $25 at the continuing behest of steve goetzelmann, FORMER board member, who finally convinced me to join so i could have a legitimate voice with which to opine about the coalition's failures], and i think my $25 deserves a better--nay, MUCH better--advocate on behalf of bicycling here in iowa.

it sickens me to read, hear, and see all these civic leaders--NONE of whom i would rate above "avid" cyclist at best [and if you know or read me, you KNOW how i disdain the self-described "avid cyclist" label--it's right below "snake shit"]--go ON and ON about making des moines--and all of iowa--bike friendly. just last night, i saw des moines mayor cownie crowing about the virtues of "complete streets." des moines now has one, cottage grove, that stretches about 700 metres from the drake area over i-235, ending at mlking drive, just across the complete bridge.


complete streets do NOT make for a bike friendly community, people. i suspect that to be really "bike friendly," the majority of des moines motorists would need electroconvulsive therapy for a quite a good while. mind you, i realize that a "bike ride of a thousand miles begins with the first pedal stroke," but i SERIOUSLY believe that, no matter now well mark reassures us that his heart is in the right place, his HEAD is not, and that for mark wyatt, HIS bike ride of a thousand miles would begin with a drive to the trail head.

that's NOT who i envision as MY bicycle advocate.

now, i know that folks are gonna jump on me, saying that [as mark once told me] "this is not the time or place for this discussion," and he suggested that such matters were not what mark wanted when he took the position of executive director of the IBC. well, you know what, if we had actually HAD this discussion a couple years ago [the topic then was the IBC response to bicyclist deaths and the failure of prosecutors aggressively to respond], then maybe we now would HAVE a spokesman who REALLY understands the needs of iowa bicyclists AND who is willing AND ABLE to really act as an effective advocate. [to me, that means you're gotta ruffle some feathers, mark.] folks are gonna tell me that, once again, i'm not making any friends this way, and guess what? once again, i'm gonna say "i don't care. i'm doing and saying what i think--really, truly believe--is in the best interests of ALL who ride or would like to ride bicycles in iowa in a safe and welcoming environment.

and THAT is something i have yet to see mark wyatt do.


lost78 said...

it certainly makes me mad

Ryan said...

We are traffic; we need infrastructure.

"...only about 1.5 percent of federal transportation dollars go to fund bike paths and walking trails. In the meantime, 10 percent of all U.S. trips to work, school and the store occur on bike or foot, and bicyclists and pedestrians account for about 12 percent of annual traffic fatalities, according to the Federal Highway Administration."

Anonymous said...

i love it when cyclists engage in cannibalism :(

the mostly reverend said...

this isn't cannibalism, it's a matter of trying to find and then hire the most effective and pursuasive person out there.
cycling in iowa NEEDS a strong advocate right now, or we're ALL going to continue to be treated as second citizens or worse.
we don't need someone who says--on a regular basis--"oh, they're doing the best they can."
you have NOT seen cannibalism.

Anonymous said...

"Lighten up Francis!"

People in eastern Iowa don't have homes. Bridges & roads are destroyed.
Bicycles are a good, but having advocates? like you, no thanks. You have no credibility because you actually get your information from the Des Moines Register

the mostly reverend said...

i don't get my information from the register.
today, for example, i got heartburn.
i retain my credibility.

for what it's worth, i have flood damage,
and no fema assistance.

Anonymous said...

Why the fuck should fema help you out? because your fucking basement flooded? pussy! no wonder you are so angry, your entitlement hasn't been delivered-blame someone, find someone to blame, and steal from those that really need fema.

you are pathetic.

Steve Fuller said...

I do need to try and figure out what side you are really on sometimes Rev. On 4/28 you posted "i hate trails, and why i hate the official mentality that says we should have to ride on them?" Based on this, I would think that you'd be happy that it would be forcing riders out on to the streets where they will be seen and have to be dealt with by automobile drivers rather than being stuffed on trails like second class vehicles.

My opinion on the matter. Yes it sucks that the trails have suffered damage (like a lot of other things that were damaged by the flood). As a cyclist, I still think that we need to set proper priorities. I'd rather that the Feds got off their ass and come up with the funding to rebuild the levees that haven't been fixed for *15* years since the last major flood, before I'm interested in seeing the trails repaired. Yeah, it sucks that I can't get to Martensdale on a tree covered trail, but I'm a smart enough person that I can work around that using county or city roads (whether or not the county feels they are safe for me to cycle on).

Dave said...

Trails are nice for easy rides, but I don't like the way I'm told by some jackasses to go ride on the bike path.
Our government spends money on a bunch of stuff I don't use so the one thing I do use, doesn't get fixed that just pisses me off.

For the people that have lost their houses...Why are they building houses in flood zones in the first place? Or for the second time for that matter. DM has enough to buy them out AGAIN but can they fix or even clean off the trails?

Government builds the bike trails in flood zones but they hire companies that do poor jobs and don't put in any drainage tile so the water just flows over the trail. examples the Billy Riley trail and the new Johnston trail.

the mostly reverend said...

hey, anonymous--
if you would like to discuss my fema experience with me, i'd be happy to. but i don't really like being attacked like you did based on nothing i said or implied.
you have no idea HOW fema came to my place, what the circumstances are OR how the fema rep conducted himself during the "inspection."
if you DO want to talk about it, i suggest you tone it down a bit.
i just don't have the stomach for much of your kind of shit these days.

Z said...

The DSM Register article lists two issues with paths here in Scott County. They have both been fixed for weeks now. I suspect that the speed in which these problems are corrected may have something to do with how seriously the local government takes keeping the paths usable. It's not perfect here, but I think the locals here seem to get it.

Now if they could get the snow off within 24 hours over in Rock Island, life would be good.