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I think the light program is great. I really fail to see what is wrong, however, with a sign saying "please [note the please, folks] don't park here." How is saying "give us freebies, but you can't ask us not to destroy your garden" not the height of the bike-advocacy-as-entitlement-without-responsability? It is certainly true that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but doesn't that work both ways?

Bring it on!

Well, I never said "give us freebies, but you can't ask us not to destroy your garden" so this is a poorly formed question. Please don't put words in my mouth.

It's not that people can't ask you not to park in the garden, they can and the point is not that the sign is wrong, the point is it's a bad solution. The better solution is to install a nice inverted U bike rack (which the city will gladly do for free if you just ask) next to the tree box.

Time for a story I once heard. On campus there was a billy goat path across the grass from the door to a building to the main street. The school wanted students to stay off the grass and walk on the L-shaped sidewalk instead. They put signs up and students ignored them. They planted bushes and students beat a path through them. They put up a decorative fence and students climbed over it until they broke it. Etc...Finally an architecture prof had an idea. They removed the sidewalk that no one used and planted grass there. Then they built a sidewalk where the path was. Problem solved.

It is often easier to reshape the world to fit human behavior than change human behavior to fit the world. The sign in the box is trying to keep people off the grass when instead they should rebuild the sidewalk.

I have no opinion on this particular topic. :)

I apologize if I put words in your mouth and your point about the billy-goat path has some merit. It can be used, however, to defend practically anything.

I think maybe you're assuming too much of a combative stance here, Quez. It seems to me that the point is about making design fit human behavior not about defending anyone who wants to park their bike in a flower box.

washcycle make an excellent and convincing point. Adding to that, yes, flowers are nice, but I'd trade six pansies in pristine condition if it means someone continues to ride a bike instead of driving a car. If locking up to a tree because it's the only solid thing around is what keeps a rider on a saddle instead of in a bucket seat, well, pansies are a small sacrifice in the greater ecological scheme of things.

And locking up to a tree and respecting the surrounding plantings don't have to be mutually exclusive.

More bike racks are indeed the solution. For a county that seems pretty pro-bike, Arlington has a serious dearth of racks in high pedestrian areas.


Read the original post. Defending a cyclist's right to park in such a location was exactly the point, or at least so it seems to me: "I don't want to park my bike in anyone's tree box, but if there are no alternatives..." (It would be interesting hear a little more about the location in question. Were there any alternatives or is it washcycle who is being combative? I see a mailbox, though that might not be a very secure location.)

I think it is time that we tried to understand the underlying logic here. Obviously, no one here is arguing as a general principle that the world should be designed to accommodate ALL forms of human behavior. I think, for example, that no one here would be in favor of spending large amounts of money to widen roads so that motorists no longer find themselves tempted to wander into bike lanes (to pass left-turning cars, for example). Reasonably enough, most people here would argue that motorists should simply deal with it.

The argument, rather, seems to be that the world should be designed to accommodate US, that is to say CYCLISTS. Why? Well iconoclast's post suggest one answer: because bikes are greener. I think this is a good point. However, I also think that is dangerous for cyclists to become the self-appointed arbiters of ecological virtue. This just annoys other people, as does any position that assumes a kind of de facto superiority.

I know others here disagree with me, but I persist in believing that some of the animus toward cyclists is created by cyclists' own attitudes/behavior.

Here's the original RPUS post


I wasn't so much defending a cyclists right to park in a tree box, I was trying to state the decision process in the average person's head. Perhaps that was unclear. I rarely park in a tree box and then only one that's a tree and dirt. I would never do it if their were a rack near by.

I would say that for a good 70 years, if not more, the world was not build to accomodate us, while it was built to accomodate cars. The last 10 years that has been changing, but that's a big backlog in accomodations that creates a derth of parking, facilities etc...

It's not that the world should be built to accomodate us and no one else, but that it is - at the very least - our turn for our share of accomodations. In addition, for the reasons we could all list about the social benefits of bikes vs. cars, we should probably get more than our share - since every public official when asked would probably agree with the statement "people should bike more and drive less." That's not a statement of entitlement (well it is, but there's nothing wrong with saying we're entitled to our fair share) it's a statement of policy.

All I'm trying to say is that I didn't read anything as suggesting that cyclists have a right to dock their trusty steeds on top of other people's flower beds; rather, that there should be more bike racks available.

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