Is Chattanooga's Bike-Friendly Movement Going Flat?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Chattanooga is hard on bike tires
Chattanooga is hard on bike tires

Dear. Mr. Mayor, 

This is a follow up to the letter I recently sent you requesting that the Department of Public Works get on the ball in sweeping bike lanes and road shoulders throughout Chattanooga.  I just experienced the fourth flat tire on my bike in the past three weeks. 

I pointed out that particularly along Amnicola Highway the shoulders are heavily covered with sharp, jagged rocks, broken glass, pieces of metal, nails, screws and many other hazards. There are areas along Amnicola that have not been swept in well over a year.  Rossville Boulevard was wonderful when freshly paved, but I don't think the shoulders have been swept since then.  This is true all over the city.

Another safety hazard lies in a dangerous encroachment of dirt and grass along Amnicola in front of the Coca-Cola plant from the narrow bridge to Stan's Air Systems.  In some stretches there is just about 12-15 inches of shoulder for bikers to ride along.  This needs to be shoveled back at least two-three feet.

The community applauds your efforts in promoting the healthful activity bicycling.  However, there is a past-due, immediate need to clean the debris from our streets.  It has become quite expensive this month to commute across the city.  The first flat was adventuresome, the second a nuisance, the third a real pain in the back side as well as expensive with the ruination of a $60 tire.  Now with the fourth flat, I have pretty well lost my sense of humor for the lack of basic maintenance of our city streets (and you may have noticed I haven't even touched the broad subject of potholes and poorly paved streets throughout the city.)  I know budgets are tight, but perhaps some labor assistance could be obtained from some of the scores of city/county inmates, or the thousands of unemployed.  I know of one bike shop owner that took it upon himself to blow some road shoulders clean with a yard blower before one of his sponsored races.  That's sad.

Mr. mayor, it's spring now.  It's past time to clean up our streets and make them safe for local and tourist bikers.  It would be nice to keep them perpetually clean for us that ride year around.  We are so close to being a wonderful city.  The difference is in the details.

Dr. Tom Hammett

A Chattanooga bike-friendly tire
A Chattanooga bike-friendly tire

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