Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Open Letter to the City Governments of Batavia and Geneva, IL

Do something today that you've been afraid to do. A decision based on fear is the wrong decision.
- Nathan Fillion

The following letter was sent to appropriate members of both affected municipalities on 23 September. I will continue to send it regularly until I receive a satisfactory reply.

For residents journeying from Batavia or North Aurora into downtown Geneva and St Charles, either by foot or by bicycle, there are exactly two safe possible routes. One, the Fox River Trail as it follows the river, and two, Western Avenue. Beyond these two, all other routes trespass onto high-traffic streets with minimal, if any, shoulder and no sidewalk. 
I describe the Fox River Trail as one and only one possible route, due to the merging of the west and east trails at the Fabyan Forest Preserve. 
Private programs, such as full or partial marathons and similar events, who schedule significant occupation of the Fox River Trail between Batavia and Geneva often do not provide sufficient advance notice of their presence to allow non-participatory traffic to choose the alternate, out-of-the-way route. They also seem to be failing to notify their participants that their event takes place on public property where non-participatory traffic may exist.

I myself regularly ride my bicycle from my home in downtown Batavia to do business in downtown Geneva and the surrounding area, and find myself assaulted, harassed, and obstructed by these programs to navigate safely to my destination, despite my liberal use of a bicycle bell.

My goal is simply the safe use of provided routes for myself and others, but programs that occupy the Fox River Trail are hindering my ability to do so. Any signs notifying the existence of a hosted event are not posted sufficiently far from the event to allow non-participatory traffic to choose the alternate route of Western Avenue, and that is the purpose of my letter: to formally request that all programs that are permitted to occupy significant portions of the Fox River Trail or municipal committees responsible for approving and scheduling these events be required to provide sufficient notice in the form of signage of their presence such that non-participatory traffic can safely navigate to the alternate route. 
For northbound traffic on the west side of the river, the last opportunity to cross safely to Western Avenue is at the south side of Fabyan Parkway, before the Fox River Trail passes underneath it. For northbound traffic on the east side of the river, the last opportunity to cross safely, if at all, to Western Avenue is on North River Street, between the blocks of East Spring and East State. 
In areas where such programs close streets to motor vehicles, municipalities post detours for said motor vehicles. Why should non-motor vehicles not be accorded the same respect?