Tuesday, November 11, 2014

On Veterans Day, Think about Genuine Mobility for Vets

Donnie, a vet, talks about his new bike
via Northwest Hub
In an interview for the bike coop, Northwest Hub, Donnie, a veteran, talks about difficulties making connections by bus in Salem and how helpful is a bicycle for him.

You may recall Congressman Schrader's visit to the new Social Security office and location of a new Veterans Affairs Community Based Outpatient Clinic on McGilchrist, a site poorly served by transit and difficult to reach.

A new Union Gospel Mission shelter is proposed for Division and Commercial, also a place difficult to reach on foot or on bike.

For all our rhetoric about "heroes," we don't do a very good job of actually treating veterans like heroes in their day-to-day lives. At public events we put them on a pedestal. Out on the street and away from the symbolism of public events or bumper stickers, our troop worship founders and collectively it seems like we wish they'd disappear, just be normal and invisible.

It's almost like we want to make things as difficult as possible for veterans.

There are lots of substantial and meaningful things a person might do for vets. Bikes might not be at the very head of the list, since if you don't have good enough mental and physical health to bike, you can't really use one. But for those who are able, bike repair, bike recycling, and bike barter are quite valuable, and supporting programs like the Hub's helps with this.

Also useful is asking the City to give up on giant capacity projects like Wallace and Glenn Creek, or Market and Lancaster, or epsecially the Third Bridge, and instead to focus on basic connectivity like sidewalks and bike lanes so all users of the road feel like they have options.


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