From the Deseret News (Salt Lake City), 01.26.07:
Whatever else Rocky Anderson might be going down for in history, make no mistake that he is decidedly going to go down as the best mayor a Salt Lake bicyclist ever had.Whatever else one might think about his proposals--such as the dubious mandatory helmet requirement--it seems that Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson is sincere in his desire to make the Utah city more bicycling friendly.
With a year to go in his eight-year run as mayor, Anderson cemented that reputation with his executive order last week mandating that all future road designs and redesigns must include adequate planning for bicycles and pedestrians as well as motorists.
Think of it. No more streets without shoulders. No more places where the 3-foot rule means either that cars have to swerve into oncoming traffic or bikes have to detour through the 7-Eleven parking lot. No more second-class status for 20-pound bicycles in the constant give-and-take with 3,000-pound automobiles. (Read more.)
Many of the cities that have made the most progress in recent years tackling the traffic challenge and encouraging alternatives such as bicycling have done so in part due to strong leadership from their chief executives. These cities include London (with "Red" Ken Livingstone, pioneer of congestion charges in the city core), Paris (with socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoë, pioneer of Paris Plage and other innovations), Los Angeles (under avid bicyclist Richard Riordan and transit advocate Antonio Villaraigosa), Chicago, and Portland, Oregon.
Unfortunately, in San Francisco, we have generally made progress in spite of, not because of, our mayors. Former Mayor Willie L. Brown had to reluctantly swallow bicycling enhancement, after years of relentless advocacy from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and direct action such as Critical Mass. Our present mayor, Gavin "Chicken" Newsom, gives lip service to "greening" San Francisco while eagerly avoiding critics of his non-visionary traffic leadership.
Grass roots advocacy for better bicycling is always the key to improved conditions. But it never hurts to have supportive leadership in City Hall.
Visit: Pushed too far, cyclist press charges, Salt Lake Tribune
Visit: Utahns use variety of methods to get around, Deseret News
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site