Monday, December 29, 2008

spokes news..

Ok, crazy time: we have had a bunch of meetings, with the chief, with the mayor, with the sag harbor village board: with reference to rescinding the ban on cycling on main street..then Christmas then a trip to Ireland to see my family (pending on Wed night, new year's eve..) Oh my GAWD, did anyone see the responses to the proposal to review the current (illegal) law baning cycling on main street? Following Marrissa Meiers article, the Sag Harbor Express reported the MOST ONLINE POSTS EVER in response to an article in the press! SURPRISE SURPRISE, some resistance to the notion that cycling is a STATE AND FEDERALLY PROTECTED method of TRANSPORTATION in this country.. and NO, we are NOT planning to take over the world.. as seemed to be the reaction to the DEVASTATING notion that we, as cyclists, be accorded safe, protected and LEGAL passage through the village. Letter to FRED THIELE (asssemblyman, who received my vote, despite being a republican {indie??}..) Dear Mr Thiele, As a consituent of yours and a founding member of SPOKESPEOPLE, (an east end cycling advocacy group), I am anxiously awaiting information about the status of the Sag Harbor-Bridgehampton turnpike Bike Lane. We will, as you know, be having a hearing on Jan 13th regarding the restriction on cycling on main street in Sag Harbor, and since the sag harbor bridgehampton turnpike is one of the main 4 feeder roads into the village, our group of 200+ east end constituents feels that it has an important bearing on the development of safe cycling routes in and around Sag Harbor village and beyond. I realize that Hank De Cillia, Reynolds Dodson, the Southampton bike lane advisory committee and many others have been pressing you to move forward on this important issue for many years, but we truly feel that now is the time to formalise such a commitment, to the environment, to alternative transportation, to congestion reduction, to the health and safety of your voters. I urge you to contact me at your earliest opportunity to discuss the matter, and inform our group of the current status of this important route.Yours Sincerely, Sinead FitzGibbon Letter to Tim Bishop (Congressman NY State) Congressman Tim Bishop Room 1133 Longworth HOB Washington, DC 20515 December 16, 2008 Dear Mr. Bishop: As a founding member of SPOKESPEOPLE, an avid cyclist, and a constituent of yours living in Wainscott, I urge you to meet with us to discuss the dearth of progress in the provision of safe cycling facilities on the east end. We have met with various members of town appointed committees (Southampton bike lane advisory committee) and Planning boards (JoAnn Pawhl EH town planning), highway planners, (Bill Masterson) Mayors (Sag Harbor’s Greg Ferraris) Village Board members ( Sag Harbor, EH, SH)and local police chiefs (Chief. Fabiano)in our efforts to come to some resolution in the lack of plans for improvement of this ongoing situation. The common theme echoed by the majority of these people, over years of meetings, is that without political will to resolve the issues, little will be achieved, and certainly little of any importance. When there is money spent on projects, it is done haphazardly and without the consultation of experts, i.e. cyclists, bike lane advisory groups, local citizens. We invite you therefore, to be part of the solution, as opposed to being part of the problem. This is the reason for the existence of our newly formed group: we hope to bring together the politicians who can be the movers and shakers, with the local cyclists and concerned road users to facilitate the legitimate use of roads by cyclists, in a way that fosters safer cycling, and more cycling. We understand that your position on the Congressional Transportation and Infrastructure Committee puts you in a strong position to both influence legislation and to assist us in procuring the funds to direct towards the many local projects that are “shelved” for lack of funding. We trust that the lack of your involvement to date may reflect tha lack of organized groups to assist in designing and using such facilities, but again, we can change this. Our group, SPOKESPEOPLE, is already 208 people strong, ALL RESIDENT ON EASTERN LONG ISLAND, and growing daily as we spread the word and our issues get more local press. We know you can provide the leadership to make the position on cycling more to the fore of your actions on Long Island, and we can assist by pressuring Ken LaValle, Fred Thiele, and Linda Kabot and their colleagues to act, following your lead. We are proposing to you as the current leaders of Spokespeople that you arrange for a meeting with us, at your earliest opportunity. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Yours, Sinead FitzGibbon Haha we are on a ROLL: this letter accompanied at least a dozen more, possibly even more++ as we posted the letters with a template to our 200+ members.. follow the lead to this week in the Sag Harbor Express.. KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN FOR CYCLISTS! BRING YOUR BIKE TO THE HEARING, Jan 13th 6pm...Sag Harbor Municipal building, 2nd floor..Be there or be quadrangular..

Friday, December 12, 2008

This week, as a representative of SPOKESPEOPLE, our newly formed east end cycling advocacy group, I attended the Sag Harbor Village trustee meeting, with the intent of presenting them with a proposal to rescind the current ban on cycling on main street in the village.
This proposal was initiated by the chief of police, Det. Fabiano, and was wholeheartedly endorsed by the mayor, Greg Ferraris, at a meeting the prior month. On proposing the change to the village ordinance, trustee Tifany Scarlatto and trustee Ed Deyermond roundly condemned the proposal, refusing to give the mayor a vote for consideration to come before a public hearing. This, despite the voicing from the floor, of the chief, to "give it a try, at least on a trial basis". By a slight margin, the board, with the support of a few villagers on the floor, agreed to put forth the proposal for a review at a public hearing, Jan 13th, 2009.
We are proposing this change to the village law, as a component of making the village more cycle friendly, to make cycling into town a viable alternative to driving, and to follow in tandem with the vision of the mayor to promote a "green" sag harbor. He after all, was the initiator of the 725Green committee, the group charged with doing its utmost to improve the transport, air, water and general life choices with a vision of making the village a beacon of green-ness on the east end.
Now comes the hard part: many of the village trustees, and many of the villagers, have some weird notion that RE-introducing cyclists onto main streeet is going to wreak havoc on the village, causing mayhem, death and destruction, with likely theft of properrty..
It is our job to present the rescinding of this ordinance, as part of a proposal to improve cycling access to the whole village as a reasonable idea, complete with proposals for other bike routes in the village, safe locking sites for bicycles and introduction of SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOLS with a bicycle component.
PLEASE ATTEND OUR MEETING, tomorrow, at ZIGGYS, 3pm, to brainstorm ideas and to develop a strategy to convince the village that we, as reasonable TAX-PAYING, VOTING residents, believe that retraction of this (in the chief's words, "unenforcable out of date law") is a good idea, and one that will contribute to a better quality of life in our town, on our beloved east end.
PLEASE CUT and PASTE into an email for anyone you know who rides bikes!!
Oh Yes, and to the wierdo who stormed my office today, yelling at my staff about this being "a stupid idea" and "trying to get people killed".. get a life.. and don't you dare invade my place of business again....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Def:"irony": being irish and without blather

Ah so, into the silence I go: after a weekend sitting in air-conditioned hotel rooms in florida, I returned to Autumnal New York (read: cold, raining, windy 35 degrees) with a distinct scratch in my throat. Monday in the office wasn't too bad, Tuesday I opted for riding easy on the rollers in the basement instead of the usual brisk run with Dennis, Wednesday I was noticably hoarse, achey and unable to think about getting on the bike..then cough ,sniffle, croak..and then, silence.. Today, I cancelled patients, unable to even whisper without feeling as if my throat was being slit. At 8am, I stopped in with my neighbor, my MD, Oppie, who took a look down my gullet (from the other side of the room mind you), and told me to go home. Or at least, shut up. That was it, no hallucinogenic drugs, no sedatives, no antibiotics. Just silence. Being a Jewish New Yorker, I thought even HE might have some idea about how difficult is is to be completely without words, pantomiming my way through the day. But there I sat, sucking down Ricolas until my jaws ached, swallowing hot cups of peppermint tea after hot cups of chamomile tea, and filing papers, returning emails, sorting out office folders, dossing off on facebook, doing all the things that I put on the telescoping finger..all while my lovely staff stopped into my office to laugh, do some Marcel Morceau imitations and generally relish the fact that I was finally shut up. Lunch at the Golden Pear was almost funny, writing my order (for porridge and honey) on napkins then noticing how the staff whispered back to me in low tones as if they too were struck by laryngitis.. As for tomorrow, we shall see: tonight some over-cooked pasta to suck down, some more Ricola's for desert, then a nightcap of Theraflu: I might squeeze out a couple of patient evaluations before my larynx decides to crap out totally for the weekend. At least my urge to ride is returning, and I don' t need vocal chords to hit the woods on my singlespeed.. Here's to enjoying the silence, while it lasts..