My Turn: Avoiding name-calling and patronizing tones on both sides of the trail
In the Sierra Sun on April 11, 2007 a writer submitted an inflammatory column (“Paving the Legacy Trail caters to the Spandex-set”) with his thoughts on paving the Legacy Trail along the Truckee River. He made several important points, which are absolutely correct, but unfortunately he dilutes his message when he stoops to name calling (those in favor of paving are referred to as “Spandex wearing Lance Armstrong wannabes”) and resorts to a condescending attitude (99 percent of cyclists “are in it for the fashion show.”)
He further obfuscates the issue by spending the bulk of his column suggesting the primary reason to pave the trail is the “Green Thing.” There may be some people who will use the trail cycle to commute into Truckee rather than drive, but this is clearly not even one of the primary reasons to pave this trail.
The writer then wrongly asserts that if this trail is paved our town will then have “100 percent” paved trails. This statement is so wrong as to be absurd. There are many miles of both single-track trails and dirt roads throughout Truckee.
So, to get to the real issues here and have a serious discussion I propose we avoid the name-calling and patronizing tones on both sides of this discussion. Firstly, as the writer correctly points out, town money will be used for this project, therefore the will of those living here must account for the decision ultimately made on this issue.
What are the reasons for not paving this trail? It will allow trail users a softer surface to travel on, and likely be more peaceful as minimizing cyclist use will markedly decrease the amount of traffic on the trail. So, we will have a community trail, but designed to minimize use as much as possible.
Advantages of paving? Paving this trail will most importantly provide safe access for cyclists and pedestrians to get from Glenshire to Truckee. Biking along Glenshire Drive involves a level of danger akin to diving with sharks wearing a chum suit, and there is not a single parent who would think of allowing their offspring to ride this road.
There are many trails and dirt roads where one may find solitude in Truckee, but this trail will connect our town together in a manner other trails cannot, and in addition, with our town’s dependence on tourism, such bike paths are quite an advantage in a community such as ours.
If we are to use community funds on a project, should we not attempt to design it in a manner so as to be of benefit to as many residents as possible? We are not talking about paving a pristine single-track trail through the woods, this will be a road-size trail, and the only issue is paved or not.