Monday, February 24, 2020

The 26th is Ash Wednesday

So in honor of T.S. Eliot


Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is
nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessèd face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to sateity
On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been
In the hollow round of my skull. And God said
Shall these bones live? shall these
Bones live? And that which had been contained
In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:
Because of the goodness of this Lady
And because of her loveliness, and because
She honours the Virgin in meditation,
We shine with brightness. And I who am here dissembled
Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love
To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.
It is this which recovers
My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions
Which the leopards reject. The Lady is withdrawn
In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying

Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends.

Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each
Under a tree in the cool of day, with the blessing of sand,
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.


At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below
The same shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapour in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitul face of hope and of despair.

At the second turning of the second stair
I left them twisting, turning below;
There were no more faces and the stair was dark,
Damp, jaggèd, like an old man's mouth drivelling, beyond
Or the toothed gullet of an agèd shark.

At the first turning of the third stair
Was a slotted window bellied like the figs's fruit
And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene
The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green
Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,
Lilac and brown hair;
Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind
over the third stair,
Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair
Climbing the third stair.

Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy

but speak the word only.

Who walked between the violet and the violet
Whe walked between
The various ranks of varied green
Going in white and blue, in Mary's colour,
Talking of trivial things
In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour
Who moved among the others as they walked,
Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs

Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's colour,
Sovegna vos

Here are the years that walk between, bearing
Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring
One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing

White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.

The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,
Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke
no word

But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream
The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew

And after this our exile

If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny
the voice

Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,
Those who are torn on the horn between season and season,
time and time, between
Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.

O my people.

Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit
of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

Monday, February 3, 2020

The Rally

Retired and highly decorated Army Sgt. Major William Apodaca-Fisk, on the left, was falsely put on a TX DPS gang database after he went to a motorcyclist's funeral and is sueing. Paul Landers (r) was charged in the Waco shooting but, along with most of those charged, had his charges dismissed.  We discussed profiling

Some local cyclists thought this rally was irrrelevant to them. But when's the last time you saw this many bicyclists at a political rally? One thing the biker crowd can do is get out the troops. 
Newhall and me in front center, Jennifer at the far back center. Can you see us now?

Former State Rep. Rick Miera is still in the thick of it, supporting two wheelers. He and I also discussed elderly and pedestrian safety.

Stephen Newhall (r) and Yours Truly (l). 
Jennifer Buntz and I spoke for the lycra and pedals crowd

It had to happen. On the way from Bike N Sport to the rally, Stephen Newhall and I cut through a parking lot to get to a side street in order to avoid making a left from busy Cordova. We saw a motorist with the right of way approaching from our left, so we stopped. The either annoyed or flustered motorist, alarmed at seeing a pair of bicyclists, rolls down the window and says "this is a busy place. too busy for bicyclists. what are you doing here?" I replied "I live here and pay taxes to support this place". The motorist glared back.

Is the road ahead to be shared?
Yep, that's why we need to do more than bitch and moan in emails about the irrelevance of political rallies. We need to get out there and be seen at the Legislature, City Hall, and on the road when someone questions our existence. Can you see us now?

All photos and video, at the link below, courtesy of the NMMRO Facebook page. Video and audio feed of all the presentations here:

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Santa Fe Road Rage Incident Results in Conviction on Multiple Counts

"A Santa Fe jury on Tuesday convicted a Moriarty man who prosecutors say backed into a group of cyclists during a 2018 road-rage incident. Jacob D. Brown, 41, was found guilty of great bodily injury by vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident involving great bodily harm and reckless driving.
Brown faces over four and a half years in prison if the judge imposes the maximum penalties against him at his sentencing hearing, scheduled for February."

 I won't reprint the whole article here out of deference to the copyright laws but here is the link to the Santa Fe New Mexican article. A tip of the hat to the New Mexican for following this incident.

Moriarty man convicted in road-rage incident 

This time the jury got it right.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Two Wheelers Rally at the Roundhouse: Saturday, Feb. 1st. Save the Date

Click picture to see full size
The annual Roundhouse Bike Day at the Capitol rally sponsored by the New Mexico Motorcyclists Rights Organization will be on Saturday February 1st. The event goes from 1 to 2 p.m.  Once again, the bicycling community has been invited to share center stage. Jennifer Buntz (Duke City Wheelmen) and I have been invited to represent cycling concerns.

Once again, Tony Farrar at New Mexico Bike N Sport has volunteered to host the get together, so plans are now being formed to take advantage of his hospitality. Folks will be coming up from Albuquerque, likely most of them on the Rail Runner although some are known to ride up.

Lots to talk about and make sure our legislators see us. Last year, a promising five foot passing bill was damaged badly by last minute language that police could have treated as equivalent to a mandatory sidepath provision. Gov Lujan-Grisham vetoed it so we need to make sure future bills are not poison-pilled. In Texas, a motorcyclist and distinguised military veteran who joined a motorcycle club was labelled a gang member and put in a statewide gang database because the TX Dept. of Public Safety can't discriminate lawful motorcycle clubs from gangs. That is headed to court.

So although its a thirty day session and not too much is on the agenda as far as bills, plenty is on the agenda as far as rights and the need to be engaged and visible. Be there if you can.

I'll update this post as more details become available.

As an NMMRO member, sometimes I'm not pedaling

Friday, December 20, 2019

Traffic Cameras?

I like to get home in one piece, thank you.
First full day of winter ride, 2019.
 There is a discussion underway in Santa Fe to deploy traffic cameras to catch speeders. This has been met with the usual resistance such as offered in the Letters section of today's New Mexican. Speed cameras are an imperfect solution to a real problem: speeding.

Although motorists may feel safe while speeding in a 5000 lb vehicle equipped with air bags, crumple zones, seat belts, and a lot of mass, its tough to be a pedestrian or bicyclist hit by a car. Several studies are readily available (Science Direct here and the AAA Foundation version here) indicating the rapid rise in mortality suffered by those hit by cars as vehicle speeds increase. Quoting from one paper, "...The average risk of death reaches 10% at an impact speed of 24.1 mph, 25% at 32.5 mph, 50% at 40.6 mph, 75% at 48.0 mph, and 90% at 54.6 mph. Risks varied by age. For example, the average risk of death for a 70-year-old pedestrian struck at any given speed was similar to the average risk of death for a 30-year-old pedestrian struck at a speed 11.8 mph faster...."

Yet major arterials in Santa Fe (Cerrillos, St. Francis, St. Michaels) are typically posted at 35 mph or higher. Actual travel speeds are likely in excess of posted speeds, giving pedestrians hit by cars a fifty fifty chance of ending up in the morgue.  This is a social justice and traffic justice issue, if we wish to promote alternative transportation (biking, walking, mass transit). Of course these are state roads and not subject to traffic cameras.

Cameras, however, are a tricky solution for several reasons. One, they perpetually lead to assertions that they are forms of "policing for profit", since cities often contract with for-profit companies to run the cameras rather than manage the systems themselves. Policing for profit is big business in some jurisdictions that are under-capitalized and which rely on fines to balance their budget. Balancing the budget with fines often puts the costs on the backs of the poor and minorities. The death of Philando Castile during a botched traffic stop is one of the worst examples of worst case outcomes.

Cameras are also problematic because motorists are getting mixed signals. We design roads to be wide, fast, and efficient for motorist travel.  You cannot then post a speed limit inconsistent with design and ticket drivers for what comes naturally to them.  There is ample literature saying that wide roads that look like highways will be driven like highways and this encourages speeding. You can post a road at a low speed limit but this conflicts with that old "85th percentile rule" that says if 85 percent of motorists think a road should be driven fast, it should be posted fast. For example, St. Francis Drive or the SW section of Cerrillos.

The best way to lower traffic speeds is to engineer roads so they look like they should be driven slowly. Unfortunately, this is a costly transition and subject to a budgetary process. Maybe in the future we can, in addition, mandate that all motor vehicles be equipped with GPS-linked speed limiters. But like making "smart guns", making "smart cars" that don't speed is a tough sell and made even tougher since the average life of a car is now about a decade.

For now, we use a patchwork of enforcement mechanisms. If we are to use traffic cameras, the first thing to do is make sure the city owns and operates them. That takes away the biggest accusation against the city, to wit, that we are not interested in safety so much as in lining the pockets of a for profit traffic camera company.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Is the River Trail Safe to Share, Vol II? Or, Where Is The Eastern End?

In the last post, I discussed the Santa Fe River Trail, covering the segment from St. Francis SW to Siler Road. Today, after putting a pair of Schalbe Marathon Plus tires on the Long Haul Trucker and having a former BTAC member gently remind me to look at the eastern end of the River Trail, I  took a look at the trail from St. Francis Drive towards Downtown.

Mounting those tires was indeed a bit of a marathon. They were so tight on the rims that I ended up using motorcycle tire levers to mount them. My buddy Pat O'Brien concurs.  If I ever flat on the road, I think I might just call a cab.

Back to the trail. I hopped on it at St. Francis. For the most part the trail is plenty wide and the sight lines are excellent.

Between St. Francis and Campo, looking W.

Between St. Francis and Campo, looking E.
 However, when you are passing Campo you start seeing suggestions that the trail will soon end. But where?

Sensing impending end of trail, I kept riding eastward. Finally, when I was approaching Galisteo, the trail precipitously narrows to about five and a half feet and there is a sign indicating cyclists can take the full lane. Presumably, since at this point the trail is not of minimal AASHTO width to share and the sign indicates we can take the lane, this is the end of the multiuse portion of the River Trail. At that narrow width, I would not attempt to share it in a busy downtown area.

I think the City should put up a sign or signs indicating that the multiuse portion of the River Trail ends where the sidepath narrows below AASHTO minimum.  I wonder if this is the area where the older gentleman who spoke at a recent BTAC meeting felt genuinely rattled sharing what at this point is a sidewalk with cyclists.Not sure, but at any rate, we ought to recognize that at this point the sidepath is actually a sidewalk.

Of course it is legal to ride on a sidewalk unless there is signage posted to the contrary as per 12-8-15 ("Riding on Sidewalks") of the Santa Fe Uniform Traffic Ordinances, (downloadable pdf here) and I didn't see any signage as required telling cyclists not to ride on the sidewalk. That said, I would think, as an LCI, that one's underlying assumptions would change just a little bit. Its now a sidewalk rather than a multiuse trail facility. Be more careful as there is less space to share and you therefore will not be able to give other users as much distance from yourself when sharing that space.
Vandalized sign at W. Alameda and Campo
 indicating trail ends soon,

Wayfaring at Campo

Approaching Galisteo from the West, 
you see the sidepath narrow and are invited to take the lane.
Maybe we should add "multiuse trail ends here"

Just W. of Galisteo, the sidepath narrows 
to sub-AASHTO width. End of the (multiuse) Trail?
Long Haul Trucker with difficult to mount Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires 
is ~65 inches long (five feet five inches) for scale,
so "walkway" is about five and a half feet.