23 November 2011

What's it take to get some service around here?

My new job features a new commute.

New neighborhoods to ride through and see strangers' lives being lived.

New bicycle lanes to savor and enjoy.

Columbia's Worley Street has a bicycle lane for a nice long stretch, at least from West Blvd east to Providence. The stripe is a generous 4' from the curb. Traffic is heavy at times but thanks to the bicycle lane everyone knows where they are supposed to be in the Daily Commute.

Bicycle lanes and neighborhoods require some policing. I don't mean in the militia-walk-around-packing-heat kind of way. Rather, when a responsible neighbor sees something that ain't quite right s/he deals with it. Or makes sure someone else deals with it. This brings me to glass and roadkill in our bicycle lanes.

The eastbound bicycle lane on Worley Street between Hirth and Providence has had a carpet of glass shards in it for the last month. I know because I have been dodged this hazard every weekday I go to my office.

My first week of work I called the City of Columbia's Streets, Sidewalks and Stormwater number (573.474.9145) to alert them to this problem. The helpful lady who I talked to took my comment. She even called me back later to say the guys couldn't find it. I told her that they had to get out of their truck and bike or walk that stretch to see where the glass was. She said she'd be sure and tell them. This week I got a flat riding my wife's bicycle in that same stretch. The chunk of glass was sizable enough to cut a chunk out of the tire. I called again and reported the same glass minus a piece that I collected with Lisa's rear tire.

While I was on the phone about this matter I shared with the Department of Public Works that there was a possum carcass lying in the northbound West Blvd bike lane south of Ash Street for about two weeks now. The staffer told me that they didn't clear animals from the bike lanes. I would have to call Animal Control. Who knew? I tried their number listed in the CenturyLink phone book (573.449.1888) only to get a message saying that this user has not set up their voice mail. It turns out I misdialed. I figured out my error after 5:00pm. This being a holiday weekend I probably won't reach a human on the other end of that line until Monday morning. That's in 5 days.

In the meantime I and other bicyclists can swerve out into traffic to avoid the rotting - yet chilled - possum but when will his soul be able to rest? It seems like it'd probably be tough to transcend on up to possum heaven or down to possum hell when your most recent physical form is still laying out in the sun and the rain and the wind waiting for Animal Control to come lay you to rest. St. Frances, pray for us.

See you in the streets,


  1. That's funny, I don't remember saying you could ride MY bike!

    (OK, you can. Just fix all those flats you're getting before I get home. Sheesh.)

  2. Possum?!?!? Them's good eat'n.