Sunday, August 30, 2009

Paging the Secretary of the NM Dept. of Logical Inconsistencies

The State Dept. of Health's Anna Hargreaves, who runs the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program's efforts to promote walking and other physical activity is likely to see her efforts fail if we do not treat pedestrians and cyclists as integral parts of our mobility system. She therefore needs to have a chat with the State Dept. of Transportation's Gary Giron, head of the agency famous for designing wide urban roads with few and dangerous crosswalks (S. St. Francis, Cerillos, Trinity), and rural roads with dangerous shoulders or roads completely lacking in same (NM-4). Such designs don't do much to encourage walking or bicycling and point to the hopeless stovepiping of government agencies working at cross purposes to each other.

I suppose the cynic would say that the NM DoT's designs actually weed out the slow runners and walkers among us who cannot make it across the street, thus encouraging survival of the fittest. That's actually not my comment. It was made at a state Bike-Ped conference a few years ago by one of the Espanola representatives, discussing the two main drags running through his city, which as Federal highways fall under State jurisdiction.

This is what Complete Streets is all about--designing transportation that promotes the public welfare in more ways than by moving cars, e.g., moving people in a way that benefits the greater good, including considerations of health, energy efficiency, intelligent urban planning, and less pollution. Its about time someone explained that to our Dept. of Transportation. And, to some of our parents around here who create massive gridlock at our schools every morning by carting Dick and Jane to class in Old Belchfire.

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