My mom sent me an interesting OpEd from the New York Times this weekend:
Bicyclists vs. Pedestrians: An Armistice by Robert Sullivan
The essay is full of potential discussion topics, but this is the tidbit that grabbed me:
…a very brief history of transportation on the Brooklyn Bridge, which opened in 1883. By 1902, when it was fully operational, it accommodated horses, horse-drawn trolleys, trains and pedestrians, and they were — all of them — charged a toll: one cent for pedestrians, two cents for livestock and 20 if you had a carriage pulled by horses. More than 340,000 people crossed daily that year, according to a chart published in 1988 by the Federal Highway Administration (and recently rediscovered by Streetsblog). By 1907, the bridge’s peak year, 426,000 people crossed every day. The toll was abolished in 1911.
In the 1940s and ’50s, as more cars crossed, trains and trolleys were removed. By 1989, the number of people who crossed daily had dropped to 178,000.
The rest is about the conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians of varying speeds and purposes who are smooshed together to accommodate the cars.