I spent the early part of the week dismantling and building decks. The later part of the week, of course, is when I get down to the serious business of making sure I can make the event.
Lately, my biggest problem has been fixing flat tires. A horrible seed with terribly effective thorns punctured another tire.
I am replacing my tubes with self-healing tubes in the hopes this helps. It has been an unexpected expense. Having taken the "beaten path" to my detriment, it makes me wonder when dedicated bicycle lanes will ever be a reality in Elko. Elko has a rather mediocre bicycle infrastructure.
There are many plans to add bicycle paths in Elko. According to the draft of the Elko master plan, "Elko’s transportation system should provide opportunities for residents to choose a variety of transportation modes including driving, bicycling, and walking. The complete street concept recognizes that transportation corridors have multiple users with different abilities and mode preferences. Approximately one third of Americans do not drive; providing for all modes creates access for children, seniors who do not drive, individuals who have a disability that limits their ability to drive, and those who do not have access to a vehicle. In addition to providing access, providing safe and comfortable facilities for all modes creates active, livable streets and contributes to a high quality of life."
Despite being included in other plans with objectives, the recent upgrades to fifth street did not include any addition for bicycles. The Elko Daily Free Press reported, "Assistant City Manager Delmo Andreozzi said this system is much like the one in place on Fifth Street between Pine Street and Spruce Road, although bike lanes could not be factored into that design due to space constraints."
The issue of bike lanes was further discussed at the Elko City Council on February 8, 2011:
"Councilman Rice referred to the bike striping; it was his understanding it would not be an actual bike lane, but a stripe that designates there could be bike traffic there. He understood Staff‟s concerns but there has been lot of talk about bike routes. Councilman Rice questioned the possibility of doing some striping, as a safety precaution, similar to what is seen all through downtown Salt Lake City; it serves to tell motorists there is bicycle traffic in the area. Councilman Rice stated there is bicycle traffic on Idaho Street. Mr. Fasana acknowledged with the striping configuration there is room for bikes; but we aren‟t encouraging bike riding on Idaho Street due to the high volumes of traffic through the downtown area. The new striping configurations referred to by Councilman Rice are done in communities that want to encourage bike riding and to let people know they want bikes and vehicles to comingle. Councilman Rice stated that was exactly his point; with redevelopment that type of traffic is something the community is encouraging. Councilman Rice saw this as an opportunity to embrace what is going on down there; this is a big bicycling town. Mr. Fasana acknowledged Council Rice‟s point but advised it is not part of the City‟s designated bike plans in the master plan; which may be in conflict with the RDA at this time. The reconfiguring we are doing now will make it easy for change in the future."
Finally, at the meeting, a citizen noted that the lack of bicycle lanes in some areas is a concern for children's safety concerning a different development.
"Kathleen Avery was opposed to the development and expressed her opinion it created a lifesafety concern for children walking to school; they will be at risk daily from traffic traveling at speeds of 45 to 55 mph, large trucks, mining equipment and flying debris. There is no sidewalk, safe bike path or walking path for them to get to school."
There are obviously a lot of reasons to increase the bike lanes throughout Elko. My own focus is simply to have paths that reduce my exposure to these somewhat seasonal seeds, nature's caltrops, on my studded kevlar lined tires.
Many local businesses do not have bicycle racks- including the Starbucks we hold the event at. I'm surprised they don't share one with the Gamestop next door as presumably many customers of both stores would use one. Smiths does have one, but the rack is across the parking lot. Walmart recently added a bicycle rack.