23 August 2012


The daily commute. Sometimes I could do it in my sleep. Often I think I do commute in my sleep. Being back at the University I fall into the familiar commute taken so many times now to several different posts held at the University of Missouri's flagship campus.

My daily commute is impacted by traffic (as is yours, surely) and construction. MU is building a lot of new stuff in the vicinity of Fourth and Stewart Roads. The latter street is even closed for two years while the MU Power Plant gets upgraded. More biomass and less coal burning can only be a good thing.

During construction there is a temporary sidewalk that meanders along a surface parking lot. The lot has been absorbed by the power plant's contractor for staging of materials. After a half-block diversion the temporary sidewalk deposits walkers and bicyclists onto South Fourth Street near the MU campus.

This is all fine. Some days some of the construction vehicles encroach on the sidewalk, but they are usually gone later in the day. Several months of construction trucks entering and leaving the power plant construction zone and adjacent Mark Twain Hall renovation zone have left the street tore up. A lumpy street is a difficult street for bicycle tires. Not so fine.

Recently the rental house adjacent to these construction zones became re-inhabited for the new school year by students. Students who drive. The City code says no more than four unrelated people can live in a rental house. This house has five cars parked outside. The drivers of these cars consistently park on-street in the no parking zone. This forces bicyclists and walkers to maneuver around the parked vehicles and pass through a slew of broken glass at the end of the rental house's driveway.

Now, call me an asshole if you will, but I called the police. I don't wish ill on the students. They seem like they might have hangovers judging from the quantity of empty beer bottles on their covered front porch. I want to cut them a break, but they have to cut me a break and not park in a no parking zone and definitely not store their broken glass in the path of my and others' bicycles.

By the way, a City of Columbia policewoman told me by phone that parking issues near campus in this location are the jurisdiction of the MU Police Department. A call to the MUPD learned me that the broken glass issue must be addressed to the the City Public Works' streets division. Their number is listed at right on this blog.

Maybe you have commute issues that irk you. Sometimes what irks me requires action and I took it and will continue to take it. I support all actions that make bicycling easier for me and those new to bicycling. If riding is difficult and results in frequent flats, new bicyclists won't stick with it. I count on more new riders joining me in the streets, making the intelligent choice and leaving their car at home.

Helmets on? Let's ride!


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