December 2013

Would you like to get a raise in 2014 and improve your standard of living? An article in the Post-Dispatch on Thursday, December 19, gave a clue on how to get a guaranteed raise. The article was entitled “Prius Tops Consumers Report Value List”. Here’s part of what the article said…

“Consumer Reports said the Prius had the best combination of reliability, resale value, fuel economy and driving performance of the cars measured by the magazine. The five-year ownership cost of the hybrid amounts to 47 cents per mile.” It also mentioned the worst value: “The [Nissan] Armada [SUV], by comparison, will set its owner back $1.20 a mile.”

Did you catch that? For the Prius, rated the best value, the cost of ownership is $0.47 per mile. How many miles do you drive in a year? Take that number and cut it in half and that’s about how much it costs you to operate your car for a year…if you have a Prius! Anything worse than a Prius costs more. Drive 10,000 miles in a year? $4,700 with a Prius, $12,000 with an Armada. 20,000 miles? $9,400 with a Prius, $24,000 with an Armada. Holy smoley!

And that’s where you can put extra money in your pocket and improve your standard of living: convert some of those high-cost automobile miles into low-cost bicycle miles! Bicycle ownership costs are in the low hundreds of dollars per year, not thousands per year as it is with even the best of motor vehicles. One of the best raises you can give yourself, one of the guaranteed ways to improve your standard of living, is to convert high-cost automobile miles into low-cost bicycle miles.

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It was another bad year for predictions. When reviewing my predictions for 2012 I surmised that maybe the Mayan calendar, which predicted the world to end on December 21, 2012, was responsible for my lousy predictions. Now in reviewing 2013 I don’t have that excuse.

I’ve got to get out of the prediction business! And I figured out how to do that. Instead of predicting the future, I’ll just review the things that happened in the past…that I just knew would happen! You’ll be able to verify each thing “that I just knew would happen” by going to and looking up the references to the online columns given below.

  • “An Earn-a-Bike program for young people will be started in Ferguson.” This program did start up last February. Five groups of young people took the 6 week course and earned bicycles by learning basic repair and safe riding skills. The Ferguson Bicycle Shop is donating a % of sales to support the program, St. Louis Bicycle Works is sending an instructor to lead the classes, and the Ferguson Youth Initiative (FYI) is organizing the effort and supplying the space for it. You can learn more about the program on the FYI site: And you can read about the first class in the April 2013 column.
  • “Safe riding classes will be offered in Ferguson through Cycling Savvy.” Yep, classes were held in Ferguson last April. Read about them in the May 2013 column.
  • “Bicyclists will help keep runners safe during the Ferguson Twilight 5K/10K run.” The June 2013 column has the details.
  • “I will reminisce about the past.” That’s a no-brainer, of course I did. Check out the March 2013 column for some major reminiscing.

The list could go on and on (as Mike Shannon would say), but I think you get the point. My hindsight is way better than my foresight!

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Complete Streets. Why capitalize both words? Because “Complete Streets” is the name of a policy that is being widely adopted in cities around the U.S. For the last month or so it has also been considered for adoption by St. Louis County. This has generated a lot of controversy.

Here in Ferguson we adopted a Complete Streets policy by passing an ordinance in November, 2008. In the City of Ferguson Code of Ordinances it’s Sec. 40-8. You can read the entire ordinance for yourself, but I’ll give you part of it here. See if you can see where the controversy is:

“The purpose of this policy is to set forth guiding principles and practices to be considered in public transportation projects, where practicable, economically feasible, and otherwise in accordance with applicable law, so as to encourage walking, bicycling and transit use while promoting safe operations for all users.”

“A complete street is designed to be a transportation corridor for all users: pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and motorists. Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe continuous travel networks for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and bus riders of all ages and abilities are able to safely move from destination to destination…”

“The city manager shall consider the incorporation of one (1) or more complete streets elements in each public transportation project to the extent that such is economically and physically feasible.”

Can you see where the controversy is? I can’t.