Annapolis City Council Meeting, January, 9 2012
Mr. Mayor and Council Members, thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Annapolis Bicycle Master Plan.
Auto-based transportation certainly has its place in our city and provides many benefits. However, auto dependence has many negative consequences, such as pollution, sprawling development patterns, unattractive urban development and can be disenfranchising to the young, old and less well off who cannot drive.
As such, I am a strong believer in the concept of non-auto dependent walkable/bikeable urban environments, one of the things I love about living in West Annapolis. Given the relatively compact nature of Annapolis, I believe the Bicycle Master Plan can have a significant impact on improving the rideability (AND walkability) of many areas around Annapolis that are currently very inhospitable except to cars. There is no reason one should not be able to ride a bike safely anywhere in the city. I ride bicycles around Annapolis as both a “spandex cyclist” and as part of my everyday life in street clothes (I rode down here tonight so I didn’t have to deal with finding a parking spot) and have experienced first hand the difficulty of getting around the city safely. From this experience, I have seen that there are many simple, inexpensive projects that can be implemented that would greatly enhance bikeability, such as providing bike/pedestrian only connections between non-through streets. In addition, as a parent of teenage children who are not old enough to drive, I wish there were safer options for them to get around the city providing them personal independence and social interaction with their peers without the need to be chauffeured around in a car.
The Bicycle Master Plan provides a broad spectrum of solutions for solving these problems, some relatively easy and some requiring infrastructure investment. Non-construction initiatives are also inexpensive and will help citizens understand the benefits of bicycles as transportation, which benefits everyone in the community. By approving the plan in its entirety, the city will have both an established strategic framework to guide future development and a list of projects which can be implemented piecemeal. These projects can be done as appropriate with available funding, as adjuncts to other infrastructure projects and as public opinion warms towards bicycling as a transportation mode in our ever increasing energy cost world.