Springfield letters-to-editor ask for more bike/ped friendly city

A recent series in the Springfield News-Leader about using bicycles, transit, and walking to get around the city resulted in a spate of letters to the editor about the issue:

Robert John McCoy:
With the price of energy spiraling upward at an alarming rate and obesity epidemic nationwide, wouldn't it be logical and appropriate for Springfield to become a bike-friendly city?

We have greenway trails and some city bike routes. The city bus system hauls our bikes. All of this and those responsible are to be applauded, but shouldn't more action be taken to reduce energy consumption and give our citizens a pleasant way of being healthier?
A News-Leader editorial:
Ralph Rongstad, Springfield's director of planning and development, says the city tries to encourage development that makes it easy for people to walk or bike to shopping and restaurants.

But the list of obstacles comes to mind for Rongstad too easily. The development community is too segmented. One developer does single family houses, another does apartments, still another does commercial. There's the expense of "carrying costs," the expensive practice of not developing land you own until a market is ready to support new business.
Damion Belk:
With high gasoline prices that will probably rise higher in the wake of Hurricane Rita, more and more people will be forced to find alternate means of transportation. Drivers need to be mindful of pedestrians and bicyclers. If being an attentive driver means waiting until later to make a cell phone call, eat something or talk to other passengers, then so be it.
Bruce Adib-Yazdi:
One is the fact that it is dangerous to engage in traffic with any form of vehicle. The other is that if cyclists on city streets conducted themselves as a vehicle (which is the recommended course of action from the League of American Bicyclists, http://www.bikeleague.org/, as well as city ordinances and state laws) they would have a much better chance of avoiding an accident.

Springfield is working hard to bring more bicycle-friendly streets and trails for the citizens to use. The stories last week on alternative transportation have been refreshing to see in your publication.
Michael Borich
Several years ago USA Today ranked Springfield as the worst city in America for bicycling. It's time we changed that.
David Bates:
Bad driver habits are my biggest challenge as a cyclist. I see drivers scan the road for cars or bigger and ignore everything else. I can be no more than 40 feet in front of a driver, and he'll look right through me, bright yellow vest, headlight, flashing lights and all.

And if he does see me, he may assume I'm not going very fast since I'm on a bike. I average 20-25 mph on flat roads, which puts me right in front of them before they know it.
Margaret Law:
It has been my own recent experience that many cyclists are of the opinion that the rules of the road do not apply to them.

I have seen as many of them as cars ignoring stop signs and red lights, sailing through controlled intersections without a sideways glance at who might have the right of way and otherwise acting as if they own the road.
[Thanks to Bruce Adib-Yazdi of SpringBike for the tip]

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