Making it Through a Transportation Public Meeting

Reminder that the third/last in a series of public meetings regarding the area’s 2040 Long Range Transportation update happens this evening. Here’s the info:

2040 meeting info

If you’re like me, it’s a great excuse for a fairly long bike ride, one made up of trying to stay focused on drivers and the road while primarily consumed with drafting, revising, and cringing over the 37 seconds of public comment soon to be made by your humble blogger.

Public meetings are the most direct democracy we have that involves talking to people (pleasantries with voting officials aside). As a markedly introverted person, this talking to people thing matters, but so do public meetings.

Often, to get over the shyness hurdle, I imagine that instead of saying what are sure to be unpopular things like, “People should drive less and understand they aren’t in traffic, they are traffic,” I offer wildly popular sentiments that get a round of applause afterwards.

In my not terribly long experience of speaking at public meetings, my comments have yet to ever be followed by a round of applause.

So in riding up from the South Valley this late afternoon, I will overcome my strong inclination to turn the bicycle around and head back to the Better Burque bunker by reciting, perhaps out loud while riding, something like the following:

“This is supposed to be a long range transportation plan, and I tell ya what’s long…the time I spend stuck in traffic. What’s up with that? And you’re telling me we can’t build any more bridges to get me from the Westside? And did you know that there wasn’t even a public meeting about this so-called plan on the Westside?!? So you’re making me drive way over here and not even offering my fellow citizens a chance to speak about the plan in their own neighborhood? What is wrong with you people? Until we widen Paseo and Montano, do the same with Coors and probably Unser, given this is a plan for the next 20 years, and build at least another bridge or two, me and my neighbors will continue to suffer from daily bumper-to-bumper that could easily be avoided by just adding some more bridges and driving lanes. And speaking of lanes, instead of the added driving lanes we so desperately need, you’re building putting these worthless bike lanes everywhere? That nobody ever uses? What incriminating photos of you government folks does the all powerful bike lobby have that is forcing you to serve those three or four wackos while thousands and thousands of us wait in traffic every day, all of whom pay taxes including gasoline taxes that right now are just getting thrown in the toilet to pay for those useless bike lanes. I see my two minutes to speak are up, which is funny, because I spent way more than two minutes waiting in traffic to get here! What do we want: LANES! When do we want them: NOW!

Despite the exhortations from the facilitators, chants of “LANES!” and “NOW!” extend on for several minutes as I am put on the shoulders of those chanting and ceremoniously paraded around the Mesa Verde Community Center meeting room. The applause and general lauding of my person is only drowned out by extended use of an air-horn by facilitators warning that they will be forced to call security, all of which is somewhat strange, as I have been wearing bike clothes (including a particularly bike-dorky safety vest) and a bike helmet (with nerdy mirror attached) all this time.

So if you see/hear a cyclist in a safety vest shouting “LANES!” out loud to nobody in particular while you’re heading up Zuni Blvd. about 5:30 this late afternoon, rest assured the cyclist is not a crazy person. Well, not that crazy.






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