Thursday, May 28, 2009

Letter to Johnathan Maus of BikePortland


I've been trying to get Safeway to donate flowers for the ghostbike across the street memorializing Eric Davidsons' death at the hands of a drunk driver leaving their parking lot. So far I've been met with open hostility and a lot of ambivalence. I don't think it is too much to ask for a multi-billion dollar corporation to spend <$10/week to show respect for a death that occurred outside their door. I understand of course that Safeway has no obligation to do anything at all about this, but I feel strongly that it would be the right thing to do on their part. As I am sure you are aware, big-box corporate stores like Safeway are part of the reason why development that is so antithetical to neighborhood livability occurs and I am hopeful that you might help highlight this issue if only to embarrass Safeway into doing the right thing here. I'm not sure your aware, but my neighborhood has seen 2 bike deaths in the past few months (within 5 blocks of my house), and our neighborhood committee has been pushing for the city to pay attention the traffic concerns we have in our area with very little success thus far. The ghost bike for Eric has been there for about 2 weeks and in that time the wheels have been stolen. Just today, while trying to exit the Safeway parking lot with my 1 year old daughter on-board my bike I had to wait several minutes for a break in traffic which never came until two opposing cars kindly stopped for me (exiting onto Fremont at ~70th). As I started to cross with a friendly wave of thanks a car pulled violently around the east-bound car that had stopped and bore down at me and my daughter while accelerating at a high rate of speed. What is wrong with people!!!! Thankfully, even though my momentum had already gotten me partly across the intersection, the car missed us, but it left me very shaken and frankly more than a little depressed about the livability of my neighborhood.

I know that you have been trying on your blog to avoid these sorts of negative stories to highlight the positive developments in our city, but I hope that you might lend some space to this issue. There are a lot of cyclists that live or pass through this area (Roseway); I watch them from my front porch everyday. We as a neighborhood are trying to get organized, but it is slow and we are met only with resistance from the city and the businesses on Sandy Blvd. We as community members fighting for a safe neighborhood could really use the publicity that your blog can provide. Please help turn the tragedy of the death of Eric Davidson (as well as the many other individuals injured or killed by poorly designed car-centric streets in our neighborhood) into something positive.

I wish I was more eloquent, but I hope you get the gist of what I'm saying. Thaks again for everything you do for our city.

Matthew Hickey (hickeymad)

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