Letter: More bikes, fewer cars needed on Portland's Park Avenue

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I agree with letter writer Michael Liff’s assessment of Park Avenue (“Interesting idea, disastrous execution,” Oct. 17). It’s not an effective design for heavy traffic. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad design. It just means there are too many people using cars.

Cars play an important role in our society. They’re an invaluable assist for some people with disabilities, and trucks of various sizes deliver the goods we use every day. In most of Maine we live spread out and public transit is rudimentary or non-existent, so people still have no choice but their cars for daily errands. All that said, one of the nice things about living in Portland is that we can leave our cars parked for days or weeks at a time. Cars kill people, both in the short term, obviously, and in the long term by releasing carbon dioxide.

When I ride my bicycle there are a couple things I can do to stay safe. First, I can convince more of my friends and peers to ride; each additional cyclist improves the safety of every other cyclist. Second, I ride out in the street. The safe, legal way to share the road with cars is to be far enough onto the road that they can’t pass me without leaving their lane.

The layout of Park Avenue will probably get tweaked some more. In the meantime, use the road safely and enjoy the ride.

Mako Bates