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If dad rides his bike work | Federal Way letters
(Re: “Lakota’s parking inconvenience doesn’t make the grade” by Nandell Palmer, Feb. 2)
I hear you, Mr. Palmer. But we get wrapped up in the convenience of automobiles at our peril. Whether the lack of parking was by design, I don’t know, but I do hope it was. Studies show that people with higher levels of education have higher rates of physical activity, smoke less and earn more. Since Lakota has this fabulous program, what a great opportunity for the students and teachers to use their noggins. As the primary influence on their children’s education (contrary to the beliefs of various blamers), parents would probably have an enormous effect on their children’s behavior with regard to transportation modes: bus, bike, walk, carpool...
If dad rides his bike to work, the kids start to see (because dad becomes more fit, sees more of his community, uses less petrol, starts to feel good about his choice to bike, etc.) that, “Hey, it’s kinda cool. Dad’s busting his hump, doing the right thing. I used to think it was dorky to ride my bike to school, but I think I might try to do it.” There’s a certain pride and attitude that comes with biking or walking or using public transportation, and that direction is the one that beckons us.
Obvious hurdles and needs must be met: handicap parking, covered bike parking, bus stops nearby, etc. And not everyone lives close enough to make these options work. But therein lies another opportunity — one to work, shop and be social within our communities and support them. We can break the cycle of feeling like we have to be able to get somewhere quickly, at auto speeds, or without walking or busing. Maybe I can muster the gumption to take the Interurban Trail, ride to work and get the feeling I used to get from riding. But it’s about 22 miles. It’s not always practical to not drive. We are trapped in our schedules, and sometimes it just isn’t doable.
I hope to see Nandell Palmer riding, walking or skipping to his destinations, thereby inspiring others to do the same. We have too much pavement already. This sounds like an excellent project for middle school students to explore. Maybe they could check in with the city on their new grant to make Federal Way a more pedestrian friendly city. I’m not trying to be righteous. I just know that the path of least resistance is too easy, too quick and too costly in the end.
David Shumann, Seattle (Federal Way business owner)