Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cycling in Jackson

Jackson Free Press Editor Lacy McLaughlin writes a pretty good column on how challenging Jackson is for any cyclist:
"It seems pretty absurd that I would still need to depend on my car for transportation. I find this sentiment shared between myself and several other city dwellers. So why aren't we riding our bikes to the farmers' markets, work or museums?
Sadly, a cycling community Jackson is not. The thought of riding my bike up State Street to work invokes visions of a game of chicken with cars, trucks and SUVs that ends in death. Potholes, and broken sidewalks abound, and bike lanes are scarce.
The good news is that all this can change if a small group of determined cyclists and the city work together to promote a bike-friendly community.
The League of American Bicyclists, a national non-profit that promotes cycling, ranks Mississippi number 47 out of 50 for the league's ranking of bike-friendly states." Column

Ms. Mclaughlin is right as riding a bike in Jackson should qualify as combat training in someone's army, and anyone doing so should automatically receive the Combat Cycling Badge. There are biking-friendly areas nearby such as the Natchez Trace, the Reservoir and Ridgeland. However, it defeats the purpose of cycling when one has to load a bicycle on the vehicle and carry it somewhere else when the whole point was to ride the bike in the first place.

It's no surprise Madison isn't keen on cycling as Mary hasn't been able to convince the bicycle manufacturers to paint all bikes in a color that perfectly matches her beloved bricks. However, some leaders such as Mayor McGee are a little more progressive in their thinking:
"Ridgeland Mayor Gene F. McGee, an avid cyclist himself, has worked closely with a task force made up of community members, the city engineer, parks and recreation services, and the local police department to promote and establish Ridgeland as a biking destination.
The city currently has plans to expand its multi-use trails, and each year it hosts several biking events such as the Natchez Trace Century Ride and the Mississippi Heatwave Triathlon. These events not only promote fitness but also draw thousands of visitors each and give the city's tourism economy a boost...."

The main problem is Jackson is already built-up and it's easier to add bike lanes and more bike-friendly features when an area is being developed. Adding bike lanes to Old Canton Road was a good start but it's hard to see how streets such as Ridgewood, N. State Street, and others could be changed to better serve local cyclists. (I can hear some Two-Lakes Jihadist now screaming how Two Lakes could help cyclists as Mr. McGowan emails me a dozen charts in the next 30 seconds showing how cycling can be incorporated into the Two Lakes project.) However, change takes place when people look at a problem and then start working on a solution. Any change in this direction would be a welcome improvement to Jackson and make it more friendly to young people and families.

Note: Would someone tell me why out of the $800 billion dollars in so-called stimulus money that was passed there was none for a biking trail between Baton Rouge and New Orleans on the levee?


Anonymous said...

You mean they don't have bike lanes in downtown Creativille? Say it ain't so.

Kingfish said...

Haha. I think its something worth discussing. I don't buy into the creative class arguments and have noticed there is not much evidence to support them in terms of numbers but it would be nice to have some amenities in Jackson such more cycling-friendly areas. May not be feasible but I think its worth discussing.

Anonymous said...

When I was at LSU in the late 80’s I rode on River Road a lot and there were few cars and the ones that were there got out of the way. I gave up riding a couple of years after returning to Mississippi for law school because it seemed too dangerous. I was chased, cursed, almost hit and had stuff thrown at me. A lot of rednecks don’t get exercise in any form and a bike getting in their way pisses them off. I live on Old Canton in Fondren and someone is going to get killed in that bike lane. Many cars don’t move to the left when the lane starts at McDades and top that hill completely in the bike lane.

Anonymous said...

The old GM&O railroad line from behind the old capitol building to somewhere near the waterworks would be a good place for a biking trail.

Anonymous said...

There is a long range plan to develop that old railroad line as a rails to trails project. It'll connect the Belhaven Heights Park with Laurel Street Park. As a cyclist, I'd love for it to extend even further.

Anonymous said...

LMAO. Alan Lange reams another blogger in the bung with his liberal interpretation of fair use. Bend over Kingfish.

Anonymous said...

@11:50, I'm Yall P's intern and I posted Kingfish's article in full because I thought it was good. I hope it doesn't both The Kingfish, my goal was to bring exposure to the issue at hand. I usually try to just post a tad bit of an article, I didn't mean to disrespect this blog.

Anonymous said...

How does anyone here know you are the intern anonymous?

yallpintern said...

@12:19 Because I said so. I'm not a liar and don't appreciate being called one. Just take me at my word that I am indeed the intern at yallpolitics, and that I did indeed post Kingfish's story because I liked it. I am from a Texas city where biking has become King because of ole Lance and I have seen what good can come out of "giving bikes the right."

Kingfish said...

Its cool guys. Nice to know I have some peeps out there though. ;-)

give credit to Ms. McLaughlin. good column and brought up a good issue.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS