A little about "freedom"...

 An actual sign that exists, seen here at the intersection of Old Hammond and Airline. 

An actual sign that exists, seen here at the intersection of Old Hammond and Airline. 

Let’s talk a little about the concept of freedom.  It’s the essence of the American Dream, right?  The freedom to do what you want as long as it doesn’t hurt others.  Yeah.  

Freedom is mentioned when discussing all manner of civic and governmental affairs and this includes transportation policy.  Transportation innovations, historically, have all been sold with a big side helping of freedom.  After all, what greater freedom is there than freedom of movement?  When first selling the idea of the automobile, manufacturers were basically selling freedom.  “Go where you want to go!” they said.  There was and is a certain amount of truth to that.  The car lets people get where they need to go… or at least it does now, as transportation systems and entire metropolitan areas were designed and planned around the car.

Here is where that old saying “Freedom isn’t free!” comes in.  A transportation network designed solely with the automobile in mind might make it easier to drive to places (at least for a while) but what happens when the speed limits keep getting higher, when the sidewalks are replaced by turn lanes, when the roads keep getting wider….  One day, we woke up and realize we designed a system where you aren’t free to walk across the street. 

Indeed, at certain intersections, after realizing they’ve been made too dangerous for pedestrians (what people used to call “people”) traffic engineers simply outlawed walking across the street.  So much for freedom.  When you are standing on a road not 100 yards away from your destination, yet you can’t walk there… does that sound like freedom to you? 

The act of walking is the most basic form of transportation.  It requires no money, pollutes no air, endangers no one else and is actually good for you.  (Did we ever mention how beneficial biking is as well?)  Yet in certain parts of our city- and Baton Rouge is hardly unique here- people feel compelled to drive to destinations they could hit by throwing a rock. It’s the height of absurdity.  It’s the epitome of irony as well; we wanted to be free to go places far away very fast, so we traded being able to walk to places located very close.  We traded away our most basic transportation freedom. 

I used the word “trade” so what did we get in return?  More driving.  How many have used the words “trapped” or “stuck” when referring to driving in a traffic jam?  An average American can spend a total of 17,600 minutes (over twelve days!) stuck behind the wheel.  That’s more annual vacation time than most Americans have.  Is this freedom?

One word often used to describe one’s situation vis a vis financial debt is “mired.”  Yes, mired in debt.   Yet, many thousands of our lower-income residents feel they must own a car in order to get around, thus incurring debt to purchase an instantly and constantly depreciating piece of equipment that requires endless funds to run and maintain.  A low-income family being forced to spend 25% - 50% of its income on driving cars is hardly freedom.  It’s the opposite. 

Freedom, true freedom, starts at the most elemental, the most basic.  If we aren’t able to walk to places, if we aren’t able to simply cross the street, are we truly free?  Something to think about.

Click here to tell your metro council member that you’d like more sidewalks, pedestrian crossings and… if you’re in the mood…bicycle infrastructure. 

Doug Moore

President, Bike Baton Rouge

"How can I help"? Glad you asked...

Hey all!  First off, thanks to everyone who came to our fundraiser earlier this month.  It was a huge success, as we raised nearly $1000!  This was enough for us to get our Economic Benefits of Bicycling in Baton Rouge report designed and printed...which we'll be unveiling soon.  If you wanted to come but couldn't make it and would like to donate, you totally can here.  We're still trying to raise money for our Light the Night program, where we donate bike lights to those in need.  And if you need to renew membership, you can do so here.  If you're not sure if you're current or not, email us and we'll let you know.  

Also, there are a series of public meetings coming up and we need our people there!  Future BR is having a series of open houses where they will take public comments and suggestions.  Future BR will inform policy and transportation decisions and projects for years to come.  These meetings are our last chance to get our views into the record:

THURSDAY, APRIL 26TH - GOODWOOD MAIN LIBRARY -7711 Goodwood Boulevard

TUESDAY, MAY 1ST - DELMONT GARDENS BRANCH LIBRARY -3351 Lorraine Street

TUESDAY, MAY 8TH -JONES CREEK REGIONAL BRANCH LIBRARY -6222 Jones Creek Road

And...drumroll...The long awaited Ped/Bike Master Plan is having its first round of public outreach meetings.  This is your chance to tell them where you would like to/need to bike and where you maybe can't.  There will be polls, maps and general discussion.  You can bet that those who are generally against what we do (should they hear about these meetings) will be there and will make their voices heard.  We need to be louder, but in a productive way.  Those meetings are...

  • Monday, May 7, 2018 - 5PM to 7PM
    Greenwood Community Park
    Waterfront Theater
    13350 Louisiana 19, Baker, LA 70714

  • Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 5PM to 7PM
    Perkins Road Community Park Recreation Center
    Meeting Room 3
    7122 Perkins Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70808

If you can't attend, you can submit comments here.  Bike Baton Rouge has representation on this plan's Steering Committee and Technical Advisory Committee, so if you want us to convey anything to the good folks crafting this plan, you can always email us at info@bikebr.org .  

Lastly, this year will be Baton Rouge's first Cyclofemme! which is an all-ladies, all ages bike ride on Mother's Day.  Details here.   Ladies, come out for a leisurely ride and bring your daughters if you want!  

Thanks for everyone's continued support!  

Yeah Bike!

Annual Fundraiser!...and other stuff

Hey bike folks!  We are in need of volunteers to staff our bike corrals at the downtown festivals this year.  If you've never done it, it's actually a pretty fun way to kill some time.  Plus, it allows us to reach more bike folks and allows them to be able to bike to the festivals and avoid the parking/walking headache.  Click the links below to volunteer:

Ebb & Flow, Saturday 4/7

Ebb & Flow, Sunday 4/8

Baton Rouge Blues Fest, Saturday 4/14

Baton Rouge Blues Fest, Sunday 4/15

Fundraiser Poster.jpg

Also, we'll be at Radio Bar on Thursday 4/12 from 5 - 7 for our annual fundraiser!  We're raising money for our soon-to-be-unveiled Economic Benefits of Cycling Report as well as our Light the Night program, where we donate bike lights to law enforcement, youth organizations, other non-profits and any organization that shares our goal of having people be seen and ride safely at night.  Every donation of $10 or more gets you a free beer, courtesy of Tin Roof Brewery.  And the first 75 people to donate also get a sweet Bike Baton Rouge pint glass!  Come on out and have some fun with some bike folks at the best Happy Hour in town!  

Meet the board - Danielle

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Who are you and where are you from?

Hi, My name is Danielle LeBlanc. I'm from New Orleans. 

 

Why do you love bicycling?

I like being outside, and bikes give me more time to do just that. When I wake up in the morning, I'm excited to get my blood flowing and feel the wind in my hair on the way to the office or wherever I happen to be off to for the day. It's far more rewarding than commuting in a car. 

 

Why did you join the Bike Baton Rouge board?

Since starting as student at LSU back in 2011, I have been biking around Baton Rouge. This has opened my eyes to the lack of awareness there is for cyclists in the area. Whether it's triathletes along River Road or commuters through campus, every cyclist deserves the same respect as the vehicles they ride alongside. When I discovered BikeBR, I thought joining the board would be a great way to take a more proactive role in spreading bike love and awareness throughout the city. 

 

What do you see as your role within Bike Baton Rouge?

As an engineer by trade, I am always looking to innovate and develop new solutions. I hope to bring some fresh ideas to the bike community and help cultivate a cohesive cyclist culture in the city. Specifically, I hope to make moves towards establishing ubiquitous bike racks and paths, so everyone feels encouraged to ride around town.

 

What do you do and what are you good at?

I'm an environmental engineer by day and a coffee-and-beer-drinking-bicyc list by night and weekends. I consider myself pretty skillful in all of those roles. 

 

What will bicycling in Baton Rouge be like in 1 year's time?  In 5?  In 20?

1 year - Less accidents involving cars and cyclists. More bike racks at local business. At least a few new cycling faces.  

5 years -  Bike lane on River Road. Ambitious? Maybe. 

20 years - Everyone owns and/or bikes around town! Exceedingly ambitious? Absolutely. 

 

What does your "ideal" day of bike riding in Baton Rouge look like?

I bike to a coffee shop where I then read and sip java until my heart is content. I then bike around the LSU lakes and down the levee with my bike-mates to get some grub. In the evening, we bike to get some brews and talk about how much we biked that day. 

 

Anything else you want us to know?

That bottle basket on your bike is actually made to hold your burrito. 

Meet the Board - Emily

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Who are you and where are  you from?

My name is Emily Deshotel and I am from Lafayette, LA.

Why do you love bicycling?

I love cycling because it allows me to be active while also providing a serene outlet for meditation.

Why did you join the Bike Baton Rouge board? 

I joined Bike Baton Rouge so I could continue my Bike Advocacy 

What do you see your role within Bike Baton Rouge?  

I hope to be an asset when it comes to sponsorships and ideas

What do you do and what are you good at?

I am currently an Assistant Store Manager at Local Charm and I am generally good at bringing people together and presenting out of the box ideas.

What would you consider the greatest challenge to bicycling in Baton Rouge?

I think one of the greatest challenges in Baton Rouge when it comes to cycling is the lack of knowledgeable and responsible drivers.

What are you and the Bike Baton Rouge board doing to tackle that challenge?

Increase awareness about bicycle laws and general safety specifically targeted to drivers.

What does your "ideal" day of bike riding in Baton Rouge look like?

70 degree weather, nighttime and on backroads.