By Terri Hall l July 18, 2011
A decade ago, the word Cyclovias, meaning bike path, was not part of the America lexicon. Its source and meaning are foreign to the American way of life. So much so that its slow but steady creep into common usage is taking on different labels, due to a growing public awareness of its true intent.
Now, as the Cyclovia movement goes global, there is increasing concern about these once seemingly innocent community events to the extent that organizers are renaming Cyclovias all across the country to: “Saturday in the Park” in Wayne County Michigan; “Bull City Summer Streets” in Durham, North Carolina; “Summer Parkways” in Spokane, Washington; “Sunday Parkways” in Portland, Oregon; and, “Sunday Streets” in San Francisco.
The San Antonio Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization recently held a meeting to discuss Cyclovias. If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of such a thing. Well, it’s where government closes a road – whether temporarily or permanently – to autos and gives free rein to bikes and pedestrians to move about ‘safely.’ Whatever happened to learning to interact safely with motorists, while both use the roads?
Cyclovia, ‘complete streets’ policies, and the planned massive network of toll roads (particularly public private partnerships) make it obvious that a war on the American culture of automobiles has ensued. It also shows that our politicians aren’t really interested in solving congestion for which they argue the need to toll America’s highways and Interstates – roads American drivers have already paid for and continue to pay for upkeep through the gas tax. These politicians – both Democrats and Republicans – want to manipulate congestion for profit and for political control. Cyclovia may start as a temporary closure for a community event, but turns into permanent road closures over time.
In Tucson, Arizona, for example, Mayor Bob Walkup at a recent Cyclovia event said, “This may be the start of greater things to come. Shutting down some of these streets and just enjoying Tucson.”
The new trend in transportation is to implement an agenda, specifically the United Nations program launched in 1992 called Agenda 21, ostensibly in the name of ‘safety.’ How many stories do we read on an almost daily basis that tells of yet another atrocity committed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in regards to airport pat downs? Groping Americans’ private parts, even asking elderly cancer patients to remove their adult diapers, is being done in the name of ‘security’ and ‘safety,’ yet these enhanced techniques wouldn’t have caught the underwear bomber (the reason we’re told the new techniques are necessary) and violate our Constitutional rights, where the protections of the Fourth Amendment are clear:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
So why are they doing it?
Government control of our freedom to travel is the plain and simple answer. In his radio address to the nation on highways and transportation in 1982, President Ronald Reagan stated quite plainly, “Freedom of travel and the romance of the road are vital parts of our heritage, and they helped to make America great.” More and more of that freedom to travel across America, whether by air or roadway, is being slowly but steadily eroded by growing government rules and regulations on a local, state and federal level.
If you want to know where Cyclovias lead, just look to Colombia. According to Wikipedia, Cyclovias originated in Colombia, where the government has used them to supplant the ‘dominance’ of cars in the name of safe cycling: “Mayor Enrique Peñalosa deserves some credit for turning Bogotá into a safe cycling city by taking on the dominance of automobiles in the late 1990s. In 2007, a Colombian congressman, Rep. José Fernando Castro Caycedo, proposed a law restricting the hours of Ciclovias all over the country to between 5 a.m. and 12 noon, charging that it caused traffic jams…The proposal was defeated.”
The UN’s Agenda 21 initiatives call for restricting mobility and it’s being implemented through plannedauto congestion under the auspices of bicycle and pedestrian ‘safety.’ We can all agree that America’s streets need to be safe for pedestrians (curbs and sidewalks) and cyclists. But Texans like their cars, and they LOVE their freedom.
Americans need to be aware of these anti-car policies to change the tide before it can’t be reversed. That’s why it’s important that you let your representatives know what kind of policies you expect from them to ensure they balance all modes of transportation without discriminating against motorists.
Terri Hall is the founder of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF), which defends against eminent domain abuse and promotes non-toll transportation solutions. She’s a home school mother of eight turned citizen activist. Ms. Hall is also a contributor to