Blog: Eli Cooper

Used to be that all roads led to private autos but now with the Ann Arbor City Council's commitment to a Complete Streets program, roadblocks to alternative transport are buckling. Eli Cooper, Ann Arbor's transportation program manager, writes on how Washtenaw's county's working of more lanes for moto, bike, bus, rail, and foot travel means a road map redesign by 2041.

Post 3: One car = A dozen bikes

Where is your bicycle?  I know you have one.  Is it hanging on your garage ceiling on a hook?   It was a bicycle that provided you the basic freedom to get out of the neighborhood when you were old enough, remember?  Was it your primary mode of travel while on campus if you attended UM?  Come on, freshmen aren't allowed cars. Bikes were and still are a great way to get around in our city and campus areas.   As a matter of fact, Ann Arbor has many folks who use bicycles as their primary way of getting around, and that benefits all of us!   Benefits all of us, you say?  Why might that be?  They just get in the way on our streets!

Well, a bicycle takes up a lot less room than another vehicle on our roadways.  Bicycles also require a lot less space for storage and parking.  Ever see the A2DDA gang rack in front of the Food Co-op?  In one car parking spot, a dozen or so bikes rest comfortably.  If each of those cyclists drove, the entire block would be consumed by their vehicles, not one parking space.   The same holds true if these cyclists were driving cars or SUVs around and further crowding our streets!   Worrying about the high cost of gas?  Know that folks that rely on bikes to get around are not competing for gasoline.  No, we are not back in the '70s with gas lines and limited supplies, but with cycling, less gas is consumed, leaving just a bit more for others.   Like to breathe clean air?  I've seen enough stickers telling me that cycling is pollution-free transportation!  

Ann Arbor is recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bike Friendly city.  In today's anonymous world, we have a vibrant cycling community.  If you are thinking about jumping back in the saddle to participate in a more active healthy lifestyle movement, if you want to just get a break from the high cost of driving and parking in our city, or if you want the luxury of finding a parking spot right next to the front door, come on out and join the fun.  The Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition sponsors a RAT (Ride Around Town) once a month.  It is a great way to meet several experienced cyclists, enjoy the camaraderie of the Ann Arbor cycling community, and become a growing part of the Ann Arbor community that enjoys a little more exercise, a little less hassle to park, and a few more cents, or dollars, in one's pocket.  Bicycling benefits everybody!    

Tomorrow: Train commute talk isn't just whistling Dixie