About 5 months ago, I told the City of Mt. Vernon and the Mayor, Bud Norris, in a very professional, well written letter, that the very busy boulevard College Way is dangerous for cyclists, while there is a bike path that is a gorgeous green bike haven parallel to it, in fact, a short cut. I asked for a sign west bound pointing to the path to guide cyclists onto the path. Any bicycle tourists coming in from the South or East would end up on College Way and they would have no way of knowing that there is a bike path that leads directly to town. It is a strip full of commercial entities and not that appealing. I gave several good, solid reasons why a sign was desperately needed, and mentioned that there is a sign Eastbound that points to the last bit of the path (leading nowhere) but this sign would be seen only by someone LEAVING town, not arriving. It is the most stupid place for a sign. I explained how a bicycle tourist first arriving Westbound would wind up at I-5 and conclude that Mt. Vernon is a shit hole and keep riding, unless guided to the bike path which would lead the cyclist into the better part of the city, where they would be charmed.
The little City of Mt. Vernon has a small quaint down town with a lot of law offices, trinket shops, and a nice coop – in fact, the food coop is the best thing about the city. The surrounding sprawl is a blight. I lived there for about 9 months and was never yelled at or shoved around by drivers more in my life. I was going to do an interview of a retarded guy that rides around with a radio, an antenna, and a safety vest and call it: “Mt. Vernon’s other cyclist” but that would have been too scathing. There are many weekend cyclists there, with road bikes and kits, but literally only a handful who choose to ride as primary transportation.
There are no bicycle racks at most of the businesses, including the DSHS building where the poorest of the poor go to get benefits, yet there are heavy duty bike racks along the path where no one would lock up a bike. The city spent money on those racks but not on guidance to get people to the path.
I stated three times during various communications (including him returning my call) the mayor that TWO signs were needed – but especially one on College Way, and WEST BOUND – I made this clear. You can see the bike path entrance from Riverside but not from College Way. Some months later I was emailed and told that one of the signs would be installed “for me” on Riverside, but the one on College Way would need to be brought up at the next committee meeting in a couple of months because it was forgotten.
Mt. Vernon claims it is America’s most live-able city. I lived on the wrong side of the city, surrounded by noise and pollution. I had to cross College Way every day – it is a very busy boulevard.
One thing is for sure – the City of Mt. Vernon could give a rat’s ass about its cyclists. I was paid lip service by the mayor about how he values recreation and exercise and I stated that bicycles for me, and a growing number, are main transportation. I told him the sign isn’t for me, but for the betterment of the community. Three or more people told me it was weeks before they even knew there was a bike path! A sign getting people off of the busy road and onto the path could save a life, I stated.
After waiting about 8 weeks to hear back about my sign request and then finding out that the sign that I had put the most emphasis on would not be put up, I wrote an angry letter back to the mayor. Since that day, I have not heard back from him. All communication with these insular, petty people has to be organic sugar coated or you are ignored.
Mt. Vernon, Washington – this cyclist has left your regressive city and hopes to never return. I tried to do one thing to make it a better, more welcome place, and truly – it should not be like pulling teeth to get one fucking sign up. I put a lot of effort and patience into this activism. I was professional and nice as long as I could be, but it got me nowhere. My honey did not work, so I got out the vinegar.
If you care to support my cause for a sign SPECIFICALLY on WEST BOUND COLLEGE WAY write to this guy. Hugs and free sunshine enema kits to all! Have a puppy kisses and laughter filled day!! :-) :-)