I recently read this article while at work. As I was reading it, I found myself imagining all the things it mentioned. What would it look like if all of these things happened in my city? What if all the streets were turned into green spaces with small lanes on the sides for bikes? What if cars were a novelty?
Here’s what I imagine it looking like:
I take the bus across the river (in my imagination I’m still afraid of crossing a bridge on a bike…) and into the city, entering the city in Georgetown, lovely in its brick buildings and streetlamps. In the middle of the road is a long park, with benches and trees and flowers – bright, blooming flowers. The brick store fronts holding large stores like Barnes and Noble and Banana Republic give way to the small local shops I wish I walked past everyday.
Because time moves slower on a bike, there is time to stop at that corner book store with used books outside that tempts me everytime I walk past. I spend less, because I have less space to carry things, just my basket on the front of my bike.
My fear of biking in the city is gone, as cars only pass on the large thru ways (that I avoid because let’s face it, I’m still a big scaredy cat). Breathing is easier – there’s more green putting lovely oxygen back into the air and there are fewer cars spewing pollution and smog.
I get to my destination where my biggest hassle is finding room on the bike rack for my awesomely bright bike. It’s hard to find a space in between all the bike share bike racks. (although I picture the racks empty and the bikes in use!) I’m breathing hard from my workout, but it feels good. It feels like those long runs I used to take in college – 8 miles of woods and trees, alone with my thoughts and burning legs.
With more people biking, there are more conveniences for bikers – water fountains along the mall, more food trucks for quick food stops. All the things I love actually put into place, an infrastructure that supports taking life slowly, spending less time and money on individual space, more focus on community sharing.
I know, it seems far fetched and too far off. But cities are doing this, bike activists are fighting for these visions. What we need is more support for those working so hard to bring about this vision. I have worked on campaigns to stop reliance on fossil fuels. But these campaigns focus on other ways to make cars run, other fuels to burn in car engines. What if we redefine that vision? Instead of swapping one fuel for another, why not swap fuel for people power?
My vision is changing. I’m choosing to redefine the way I move forward. What’s your choice?