LJWorld.com weblogs New Ideas, New Possibilities
A New Vision for Lawrence - Scooters, Pedestrians, Bikes, Cars - and Short-Term Insurance
Cities have been undergoing new developments in the past several years. In particular, there are now car companies which allow for a person to rent cars for only an hour or two. The same thing is true with bicycles.
in Paris. for example, bicycles can be picked up or driven to more than 1,200 bicycle stations throughout the city at very low cost. London also has a bicycle system, with drop off or pick up at 400 "docked stations" spread over the city, as does Montreal.
The newest thing is scooters. If San Francisco has it way, Scooters will also be available for short periods of time.
All this, if the DMV and Insurance Companies go along with it, is a very good thing.
Insurance companies must be making changes, because there are lots of cars available for 1 hour or 6 hours, at not a large cost.
The possibilities for a city like Lawrence to have scooters, bicycles and cars available only as needed will make the city much more liveable than ever before. For at least half of the year, many students and residents could forgo cars altogether, and use the scooters and bicycles instead. It's a liberation which, at first thought, is hard to believe.
A wonderful Kansas video has been made about riding a bicycle. It's in another post on Well Commons:
And may I suggest another post, from a larger city, which also has an extremely active bicycle program:
And here's the new yike bike:
But drivers have to be constantly alert for scooters, bikes and pedestrians
Drivers, however, have to be much more careful to watch out for bicycles and especially for scooters and pedestrians. There need to be changes made in the roadways themselves, as well as driving habits, if these possibilities - and a better Lawrence as a result - are to be successful.
Pathways have to be created for bicyclists on major streets, or the next street over to a major street, so that bicyclists feel safe.
Major signs should be put up for bicycle and scooter routes:
There are also problems which need to be solved, including theft of bicycles. Many cities are working on this.
And - all motorists, bicyclsts and scooters need to know the rules of the road, quite possibly in more detail than before:
Pedestrians (and bicyclists) need more paths to walk and ride on
There needs to be more pedestrian walkways, especially along the river and between towns - Baldwin City, Lawrence and Ottawa being a good example. The result would be an influx of tourists from out of town - making northeast Kansas a place to come for bicycling, scooters, and walking.
A Different Approach to Car Insurance
At the same time, there needs also to be a different approach to car insurance. Car insurance companies won't like this, but it's happening in other cities, and sooner - not later - it needs to happen in Kansas, too, especially for cars and scooters. This may require legislation to enact.
Maybe the worst problem is road rage
I drive a car myself, as well as walking and riding bicycles. So there is a tremendous problem of road rage. Many of the streets in older cities, especially, just aren't wide enough. Motorists - and officials - need to work on making road rage accessible and to be talked about, especially when scooters and bicyclists become even more popular.
Everyone has to give some things, including time. Bosses can't always be sure their employees will arrive right on time. In general, motorists have to much more careful and attentive, at all times. Opening the car door once at the wrong time could cause a terrible bike crash.
This could be a different town to live in
But - if we put these new rules into effect, this could be an entirely different city to live in, in the future. The climate is perfect for long distance riding and scootering - eventually going clear across the state. People will have much more to do on weekends. Many new businesses eventually be created. People won't have to have cars for at least one half the year - they can rent scooters or cars, or take bicycles to work. There are also fold-up bicycles which can be put in cars and used for shorter distances to and from the car.
This will also help innovation, and bring new firms to the city. Much high tech work is careful attention to detail. When people are off work, people need to ride their scooters or bicycles to relieve tension and enjoy themselves, to achieve balance in their lives.
Lawrence has a good start in this area. We have some great parks and the downtown is first rate, especially when there are more places for bicycles and scooters.
All of Kansas - not just Lawrence - has possibilities, once you have a different mindset about things. But Lawrence would be a good place to start things on a serious note, to make streets and the whole town liveable for all kinds of people