Tonight at 7pm the Newport Beach City Council meets to consider a Bicycle Safety Improvement Fund. I have a conflict with a Boy Scout meeting. In case I don’t get to attend, here’s what I’d like to say…
Tonight you must decide on a Bike Safety Improvement Fund. How did we get here?
Last month it’s the death of 2 women on bikes. The entire community is shaken – people demand safer conditions for cyclists.
This month it’s record high gas prices. Makes me wonder what will be next…
As gas prices zoom higher, how well prepared are we to deal with such circumstances?
The residents of Newport Beach – they’ll just dig deeper into their wallets to fill up the tank, but for some, perhaps more than we might imagine – families are wondering how they’ll cope.
The newspapers are chronicling the reactions. Some blame Obama, or Exxon – others more quietly think of alternatives.
In each of your districts tonight there are families considering leaving the car in the garage. The economics are compelling.
Some won’t be able to find alternatives, but others have already plotted their potential next steps.
For some fortunate breadwinners, home and work aren’t too far apart. They’ve seen others at work ride their bikes to the office – those that do, enjoy it.
As more and more people consider alternatives to driving, it’s up to you to make it safe.
Let’s look at the economic advantages: families that bike instead of drive will save hundreds each month. That translates into disposable income. Where will they spend it? Bike riders work up vigorous appetites and seldom turn down dessert. It’s not hard to imagine our local restaurants could actually flourish as gas prices rise and people find there’s another way to get around.
The next beneficiaries might be the clothing stores; as we all get more exercise and lose a few pounds – a new wardrobe will be in order. Doctors though would suffer, as more patients lose weight, have fewer heart attacks and diabetes starts going in reverse.
A crazy vision, impossible to achieve? Maybe not. Other cities are moving fast to offer their residents more transportation alternatives – yes biking and walking have a great future for our city. Money spent today could bring real economic opportunity for us in the short term.
Am I an impossible dreamer, out of touch with reality? Some will undoubtedly say so, but I was weaned on Wall Street and I learned to look for larger than average opportunities, sometimes in unexpected places.
Shall we continue to invest in the status quo of our automobile-centric society? Or is it time to hedge our bets, to consider a future with a more prosperous outcome?
I believe now’s the time.
I encourage your Yes vote for the Bike Safety Improvement Fund.