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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Wheel appeal: Biking creates urban public spaces
Biketoberfest emphasizes benefits of streetscape
 
Published Thursday, October 6, 2016 8:27 am
by Ashley Mahoney

See Charlotte by bike instead of driving.


Sustain Charlotte presents its second annual Biketoberfest Oct. 15 from 12-5 p.m.

“You talk to people about the need for great public space,” said Jordan Moore, bicycle program director for Sustain Charlotte. “One of the things I always say to people is, imagine being in Paris, and you are walking around, you have been there all day, and you stop, and you pause, and you reflect. You take it all in. Well, where do you do that in Charlotte? Where are we building in moments into our public space where one can imagine stopping and reflecting? That is what good public space does.”

Biketoberfest encourages people to see riding in an ecofriendly and health friendly way.

“We thrive on seeing interesting things,” Moore said. “That is our favorite thing to do. When you have humans going by at human speed, your city just becomes a more interesting place.”

Crossing busy, traffic-laden streets  should not leave pedestrians concerned for life and limb. Another biking benefit: It tames the thoroughfare experience.

“When it is just large metal objects that are threatening your life going by, you immediately feel like you do not want to be on that streetscape anymore,” Moore said. “It is loud. It is toxic. You are threatened. It does not feel comfortable, but when you slow it down to the human pace, then you begin to address that this is not just racing for your life. It is not just trying to get good cardiovascular exercise. You are actually a part of this cultural vibrancy that is supposed to be taking place in something called a dense urban area.”

While biking in the Queen City is still viewed as a form of recreation rather than a form of transportation, Sustain Charlotte hopes to change that.

“Protected bike lanes and facilities for pedestrians allow more moments in our society and in our city, for people to actually be human-scaled,” Moore said. “When you are standing next to Bank of America, it looks great here in South End because it fits your eye, but when you are standing directly next to it, you need something more interesting in order to be a real human. We have to have that.” 

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