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letters | headwind in the bicycle debate

Cyclists, not just motorists, shop at local stores

Joan Vennochi, in “Don’t mix bikes and politics” (op-ed, Dec. 26), believes those pesky Hubway bike racks are taking up space that could be used to park shoppers’ cars. By making that statement, she is indulging in the all-too-common fallacy that people who don’t drive cars also don’t patronize local merchants.

Safer and more convenient options by foot and bicycle, not more parking for cars, will lure customers away from sprawling malls. Studies of similar urban shopping areas in San Francisco show that only 17 percent of shoppers arrive by private motor vehicle, the rest coming by foot, bicycle, or public transit. Instead of designing streets to cater to a minority causing gridlock (and, no, bicyclists and pedestrians don’t cause gridlock), we should design streets for the majority of people using them.

Ari Ofsevit