Who Needs Sidewalks

I just got back from Istanbul, nearly thirty years after my only other visit. The city presented to me my first exotic erection, a Grand Market with Byzantium gold gates, an Egyptian market of spices unknown to me, and those things are still there, as are the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, I visited for the Istanbul Bienali, which because of the pandemic has been delayed for years, although it’s the 17th edition, so they made it a celebration of community and local arts, with the layered theme of composting, their means of an art method. The city is exuberant, nightlife never ending, a population of 20 million at the Bosphorus Strait that joins or divides Europe and Asia depends how you travel it, continues to be a channel of immigrants and trade, no Ukraine wheat or Russian oil tankers can reach their destinations unless they travel the strait, but it’s not so crowded compared to any street or highway in the city most hours of most days, lane to lane traffic stopped in formation, as ugly as cars can get. They should be banned from city streets, covered in black cloth like many Muslim women, return the streets to the people.

I was also in Berlin, where everyone rides bikes, unfortunately people still smoke wherever they can, bars and restaurants, which was occasionally a problem in Istanbul, but what I really wanted to say is that Denver should start shutting down streets – they did it for the pandemic, in a few paltry places, and now the car hounds are howling them back for their gasoline alleys. Capitalize that: DENVER NEEDS TO BAN CARS FROM LOTS OF STREETS! There’s a sidewalk ordinance on the ballot, so the city can charge homeowners to upgrade, maintain, install pavements around their lots. This will take forever, and cost people a bunch. Everyone should turn in half their cars for the city to auction, turn the streets over to the people, so we needn’t worry about the walks – bicyclists shouldn’t be on the walks anyways, and I’m just looking for a safe way to ride the bici around the city. And while I’m talking about shutting down streets, banning cars, turning the pavements over to bicyclists, allow me to mention that a good start might be to put four way stops on every corner in every neighborhood, except for some arterial streets where busses travel. In Baker my neighborhood of standing, if people can speed for two blocks at a stretch, they will, getting up to 40 mph, twice what the city is now recommending on residential routes. STOP THE SPEEDING! Slow it down, slow food, relaxed vacations, span time, get on your bike, walk the flagstones, don’t let the traffic pile up and exhaust you out.

elk bellows