01 November 2011

Dodgy pedaling

My new work commute is great. I get to see Columbia blocks by bike that I never spent much time on before. Since Columbia is on a grid, when there is car traffic (which is almost always) it is these time I divert to alternate routes along residential streets. Modest houses with bushes and dogs and smashed pumpkins laying flat as a pancake in the street a sure sign that summer is gone and done for.

I cruise through the neighborhood along Worley Street to get to my new office on North Providence Road. The route is different from my commute to my former University office. My fellow bike and car and pedestrian commuters are different. Before I mixed it up in traffic with college kids and professors on bikes and running and in SUVs. While there are still a few of those types I now see more grade-school kids, ambling pedestrians, scary dumptrucks, monster trucks and muscle cars.

After a few days dodging glass in the Worley Street bicycle lane I called the City of Columbia Streets Division last week. The lady answering phones there took my information about debris in the lane and promised to call me back. Call me back?!?! I have never had a lot of luck getting responses back from various City staffers so I expected this was an empty promise. It was not. Well, sort of not.

The city worker called back within a few hours to tell me that a crew had gone out and checked and there was no glass where I kept spotting it and swerving out in traffic to avoid it. I suggested that maybe the neighbors willingly swept it up or perhaps I was hallucinating. She doubted my self-diagnosis and optimistically backed up the neighbor clean-up theory.

I asked her if the City crew had checked for my report of glass by riding that stretch on bike or did they drive it in a truck. One sees a lot more detail when moving in the bike lane at a bike rate of speed, much more than when one is whizzing down the street in a sealed up car at 30+ mph.

A ride to work the next day: the glass is still there. Perhaps I should carry a small broom and dustpan with me to clean up where some yay-hoo chose to toss his Budweiser empty or cashed-out salad dressing bottle. That's probably what it was. It was a salad dressing bottle. I digress.

Overall, the new commute is wonderful. I missed trash day this week but I am spotting oodles of wide, yellow-and-green swirled sycamore leaves. The new commute also provides me with a test for our willing City staff to see if they can find and clean up glass that remains in the eastbound bicycle lane on Worley Street immediately West of Hirth (I ain't makin' this shit up folks! Really.)

The new commute also gets me more familiar with a neighborhoods that are not mine but are full of residents with whom I may well work as a Community Organizer (this new job title is shared with one of Barack Obama's past experiences. I wonder how he got to work when he was a community organizer? If it was Chicago he probably availed himself of the El, huh? Now his commute involves walking down the stairs, I suppose. Is that telecommuting? I hope there isn't any glass on the stairs down to the Oval Office.)

See you in the streets,

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