Let sanity prevail on Michigan Street
After an experiment on Michigan Street that has proven to be not much more than a major inconvenience to motorists, It is time for the city of Sturgeon Bay to allow sanity to prevail and ELIMINATE the special painting for bicycle lanes.
(I am very glad the city used low-cost paint that has not weathered well!)
I travel Michigan Street on an almost daily basis, and can count on one hand the total number of bikers seen out in the painted center of the roadway bicycle lane (not counting the special bike events when many hundreds of bikers are in the area).
Most all school-age kids on bikes use the sidewalk on the north side of Michigan Street, not the painted bike lanes out in the traffic lanes. It IS much better to have young kids just learning how to ride a bike well out of the motor vehicle portion of the roadway. It is very unsafe to have young kids wobbling around on bikes right next to huge trucks lumbering down the narrow roadway.
A much better solution for bicycle events, instead of permanent painting of special lanes on the road, would be for the city to pass or modify city ordinances to allow special marking of streets for special bicycle events, and to purchase (or better yet, have the sponsors of bike events purchase) special "no vehicle parking allowed" cones and barricades to create special bike lanes just on the days of bike events.
It makes no sense to paint the roadway for special bike events that only happen a few days a year, and force motorists to have no parking on one side of the road, and force vehicles across the center line of the roadway to hammer tires and suspensions on uneven manhole covers.
Allow normal vehicle traffic for the 360 or so days a year there are no special bike events, And then allow temporary barricades for bike events on those special bike event days only.
I fully support bicycles as a mode of transportation, And support and encourage the creation of special bike paths WELL OFF the traveled portion of roadways designed and built for motor vehicle traffic. Install paved bike paths out near the roadway edge of right of way.
Kenneth J. Meyer
Give the street back
It's a nice little controversy.
Should the city of Sturgeon Bay restrict parking on Michigan Street to create extended "bicycle lanes"?
It's no secret that almost nobody uses Michigan Street to ride their bikes to work. And maybe there's a handful (at best) of kids who use Michigan to ride their bikes to school. No wonder people who regularly drive their cars down Michigan rarely, if ever, see a bike rider within the current car-limiting bike setbacks. (It's almost as rare as seeing a bicyclist stop at a city street stop sign.)
Let's face it. Kids don't ride bikes as much they used to, the number of school-age kids is declining, and fewer than ever workers rely on bikes down Michigan for transportation to work. And if there are a very few that feel that it is absolutely necessary that they bike down Michigan, well, they have lawful rights of passage that have nothing to do with "bike lanes."
So what or who is pushing this proposed restriction of local automobiles our main streets?
I think it is the growing number of high-end, out-of-town bike enthusiasts (and those who think that they can make money off them), who have a decent amount of political and economic power, who bike for sport with their four-figure-costing cycles and fancy helmets and outfits. They get their exercise by pedaling around while enjoying a constantly changing landscape. Which is fine, but is it necessary that we restrict local parking rights to accommodate these bikers, who visit here only rarely, and who already have full rights to our few well-traveled city streets?
As I young teen, I lived on the East Side and I biked around Sturgeon Bay. All my friends did, too. We didn't ride down Michigan very often; we preferred Rhode Island, or Eighth, or 12th. To avoid automobile traffic. Which is what any bike traffic should do. Bikes are not allowed on interstates, because it's too dangerous. Neither should they be encouraged to frequent main city arteries.
Compare the sporting bikers to the folks that enjoy, for example, ATV trails. Is it up to the government to create trails for these folks (on the sides of existing roads?), or is it up to these folks to privately create their own trails on private land at their own darn cost? Our transportation infrastructure is in place to facilitate commerce, not to provide recreational opportunities for the elite.
Let's let the sporting people pay their own way for their entertainment.
And let the locals use their road.
Mansion concert was special event
All who live in Door County or visit know that this is a very special place. Our natural beauty, the deep love of our residents for the county, and the abundance of social, cultural, artistic opportunities is what sets our county apart from other communities and make it such a wonderful place to live and visit.
On Labor Day, my wife, Marge, and I were fortunate to attend Midsummer's Music's classical chamber music concert at the Ellison Bay Manor. The concert was a joint benefit with United Way of Door County. The venue was provided courtesy of the Frank Spitzer estate and offered a spectacular setting for some really outstanding music. The musicians were extremely talented, and the energy exchanged between the musicians and over 150 people in the audience was very obvious.
Midsummer's Music was founded in 1990 by Jim and Jean Berkenstock, longtime summer residents, to perform classical music in Door County and provide residents and visitors quality classical chamber music not available to very many communities of our size anywhere. The musicians were definitely world-class.
Events like this do not happen without a lot of work, and Mark Kuntsman of Midsummer's Music and Amy Kohnle of United Way were instrumental in helping put this event together. Assisted by many other volunteers, the event went off perfectly and an exciting musical experience was enjoyed by all.
An additional beneficiary of this event is the various agencies supported by United Way of Door County. The board of directors and staff of United Way are very appreciative to have been given the opportunity to participate in this wonderful event. The needs are great, and when we can package great entertainment with a benefit for those less fortunate, we all win.
Thank you, Midsummer's Music and everyone who participated.
United Way of Door County