Leisure and Socializing and Uncategorized10 Jul 2008 05:04 pm

My office is closed today for an extended holiday weekend, so I don’t have to commute. My wife does bike to work as usual with a trip to downtown Chicago for an appointment. She uses the el down and back to the end of the Purple Line at Linden, from which she rides her bike. The wheelchair ramp at that station makes rolling a bike on and off the platform a snap.

A friend recently pointed out the ancillary but unpredicted benefits of accommodation. The Americans with Disabilities Act was intended to make work and transportation accessible for a whole population of people who had generally been excluded. Benefits to the rest of society were not part of the mandate. These same potential benefits were often ignored by those opposed to the expense and effort to accommodate disabled people.

But can a wheelchair ramp benefit a cyclist? How about a Mom or Dad with a baby stroller? How anyone just walking who finds it easier to walk up a ramp instead of stepping up or down a curb?

How would better accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians benefit everyone else, including drivers?
My thoughts are along the lines of, “less traffic for those who must or insist on driving, perhaps less pollution from stop-and-go traffic, and better controls at intersections that make life safer for pedestrians and less frustrating for motorists?” Could jobs be created? Would national heart disease rates decline? Might a city or suburb be a bit more livable, or a lot more livable? Can it possibly be so?

I rode my bike to a local restaurant and had dinner with my daughter, her friend, and one of my best friends. Two came in one car, one came in another car.

How deeply are cars embedded in our lives and our culture?

Pretty deep, I would say. Of course, I remember a time when smoking was ubiquitous, too.

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