June 9th, 2010 WW Editorial Staff | Letters to the Editor
 

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Bioswales Reduce Speeding


I am writing in response to Eric Fruits (“A Fecal Matter,” WW, June 2, 2010) and the rest of the apparent majority who misunderstand the strategy behind building bioswales in lieu of bike lanes and who falsely equate the value of one with the other. Bioswales are not bike lanes, thank goodness for that.

Bike lanes do nothing for street safety; all they accomplish is the act of tethering bicyclists to the edge of the road so motorized traffic can feel free to ignore them and speed by as usual. Bike lanes are not a solution to multi-modal road sharing but merely a band-aid application that serves to push bikes out of the way of cars and into the dangerous “door zone” without addressing the safety issues at all.

Bioswales, on the other hand, accomplish the grand feat of traffic calming; they cause motorized traffic to slow down, making the streets safer for vulnerable road users like bicyclists and pedestrians. With pedestrian and cyclist road deaths on the increase, it would be nice to assume that such safety improvements for our streets are desirable.

The tyranny of speed and its effect on the mindset of drivers is the real issue here, something which has been, sadly, ignored for too long. People need to get used to slowing down; a few extra seconds saved isn’t worth somebody’s life.

The fact that building more bioswales will keep stormwater from overfilling our aging sewer system should be the icing on the cake, even more so since this project is coinciding with existing sewer repair projects. It’s a win-win situation. Although I’d rather see the funding come from a federal grant through the BES rather than from our sewer bills, I think Mayor Adams should be praised rather than berated for finding such a clever solution to two problems. The misinformation being propagated around this issue is mind boggling.

Lisa Gorlin
Northeast Pacific Street

 
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