Meet Your New Overlords

Like everything else, the first freeway started with a vision, an impossible, absurd, over-priced, and ridiculous idea.

When it came out many, many people found problems with it.

Yet, now we assume that freeways were always there; that they were inevitable.

The same is true for an excellent built environment.

The problem with many advocates is that they ask for far too little. Way less than people are willing to give. Way less than the average person thinks we should have.

This might be one of the reasons for the gap between what we say we want and what we have.

Here’s a great quote from Janel on this:

http://onthelevelblog.com/2010/05/26/the-subtle-censorship-that-defines-acceptable-discourse/#comment-4034

“@onthelevel: I agree, a sentiment often develops that the organizations who speak for and represent the movement are on top of the issues and are working in our best interest. That they know what they are doing so we don’t need to get involved unless we are told what to do.

This is not wise, especially when those organizations may not actually be doing much to further a cause, as is the case with many environmental orgs that are now getting funding from polluting corporations and other orgs that benefit from the status quo.

When those organizations that have a reputation for being progressive are depended upon for representing and acting in the best interest of the common good, but they don’t follow through, nothing gets done and nobody questions why.

I think this is a major reason for the expansive gap between what people want and our current state of affairs.”

Fantastic ideas, but what has she actually done to put these ideas into action?

The other day, I linked to a sad story about her, but there’s a happy part I’d like to focus on.

Here it is again for those who missed it:

http://onthelevelblog.com/2010/06/15/a-sad-chapter-in-bay-area-bicycle-advocacy-history/

“Many months ago, after being nearly knocked off her bike in front of the Arco station on Fell St., Janel asked the SFBC what was being done to improve safety along this critical thoroughfare…Janel plans to help mobilize a protest last Friday that captures widespread media attention and galvanizes the support of motorists and cyclists alike to finally close the dangerous gas station entrances on Fell…”

The reason I love this so much is that she points out the elephant in the living room. Motor vehicles are dangerous, and some things need to be taken away such as parking and entrances when they endanger our lives.

This seems like common sense, but there’s a fear out there. Not of motor vehicles, but of being seen as “anti-motoring”.

This fear is the kiss of death because it’s being used as a lever to bully cyclist advocates now. And we are falling for it. We are so willing to suck up to motorists so that they will give us crumbs, we can’t even properly articulate the problem.

While I do agree that we should have good social skills and advocate in a way which maximizes our chances at results, we won’t get what we don’t ask for.

And if we can’t even focus on the real reasons for our problems, how are we going to figure out a solution?

Following in the same vein as this advocate is Timur. He just came to San Diego from North Carolina. However, he has all ready organized the Ortiz ride, and he has tons more innovative ideas.

It’s no accident that both these advocates are forming their ideas outside the traditional power structure.

I am wondering how many more shake-ups we will see.

I predict that the future engine of cycling advocacy lies in the minds and hands of the younger generation while older people like me and others are further marginalized by these fresh, radical, and sane ideas.

I welcome my new overlords of advocacy!

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2 Responses to “Meet Your New Overlords”

  1. Steve A Says:

    I do not understand how failure to support free, taxpayer-supported car storage on public rights of way (parking) can be considered “anti-motoring.” IMO, those motorists ought to be out motoring and not lolly gagging about while leaving their cars temporarily abandoned. After all, we’ve paid for plenty of Interstates – as long as they have rest stops and more money to fill up the tank.

  2. Fred Says:

    I love it. Really funny. Let’s just keep moving at all times.

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