False assertions about bike lanes are not helpful

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By Esther Goldberg, Alexandria
(File Photo)

To the editor:

I was astonished to read the audacious misrepresentations in Jonathan Krall’s column (“Pedaling toward the platinum level,” November 7). Presuming the intellectual inferiority of his readers, he obviously subscribes to the notion that if something is written, people will believe it.

So he asserts, without any proof, that receiving a bronze award for bike-friendliness has made Alexandria “more attractive to new residents and businesses.” I would wager that most of these new folks have never even heard of this award, much less made it the basis for their investment decision. And while no prospective business or resident would refuse to buy a property because it had plenty of street parking, many would refuse do so because of a lack of it — bike lanes or not.

Krall lauds bike lanes, “which separate bikes from cars, rather than adding ‘sharrows,’ which are road markings to suggest the lane position for cyclists riding among cars.” What he doesn’t tell you is that this cannot be done on King Street — as the city has suggested — without taking away the parking spaces on the thoroughfare.

Old Town merchants have successfully protested this plan, not buying into Krall’s idea that their sales would improve if customers can’t park their cars. Neither do King Street residents believe that the loss of parking spaces will somehow enhance their daily lives.

At the October 30 meeting on this project, King Street residents protesting this plan were families with young children and older residents concerned with safety issues.

Krall wrote that “more and more riders are using bicycles to drop off children at school and pick up groceries from the store.” Where’s the proof?

While King Street residents ride bicycles recreationally — and a few even use them to commute to work — moms continue to get their kids to and from school in the traditional way. And not one of them could possibly schlep home the groceries to feed their young families by bicycle.

Just picture a mom picking up her three kids and four bags of groceries and trying to figure out how to safely attach all to her bike, especially in the rain. Or maybe you just keep the kids home on bad weather days and starve them.

I submit that misrepresentations make rational discourse impossible. If you want to take something away from people, back up your desire to do so with facts.