Rant — A verb: to speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way. To hold forth, fulminate, bellow, vociferate. A noun: a tirade.
This is a rant. Come on people, the lakefront sidewalk is shared space!
We are past tourist season so I know I’m talking to neighbors here. When you walk your dog, your baby stroller, or just yourself at the city lakefront please, please pay attention. You cyclists too, and I am one, the sidewalk is not your freeway.
The state park section isn’t a problem because it is mostly a wide open road. Cars that go faster than fifteen miles an hour can be kind of threatening there, but for the most part it is a wide enough promenade. People can spread out, and those who act like there is no one else in the world but them, can be maneuvered around.
From Lake Tunnel to the boat access just past the Finger Lakes Welcome Center is another story altogether. While it is a wide sidewalk it hosts runners, walkers, gaggles of family and friends, bicyclists, skaters, skate boarders, and electric scooters.
If you are going to do your thing with music or books playing in your ears, then be hyper vigilant about paying attention to what is coming from behind as well as ahead. So many times I have furiously rung the bell on my handlebars and said loudly, “passing on the right (or left)” without any impact because the person is blithely walking or running with earbuds.
You know I am a dog lover, but I don’t feel love toward humans that seem to have no awareness that their dog has wandered to the end of its twenty foot leash spanning the sidewalk, while others are seeking egress from both directions. But not only that, not everyone loves dogs or feels safe around them. When there are other people around, keeping your dog on a short leash is simply considerate. Plus, as much as I enjoy dogs, I do not know if your dog is safe. When I go by on my bicycle will your dog lung at me or even bite me? Showing some recognition of the diversity of human need and behavior when in public spaces with our dogs is just basic kindness.
I also recognize that bikes can be a huge problem on the sidewalk. Especially E-bikes going way too fast for the situation. The waterfront is a place to stroll and people move slowly as they enjoy the beauty. Bikes can go fast, too fast for the company of pedestrians. Slow down. That section from tunnel to launch means slowing way down to almost a creep when people are around. And, if you are using the new bike lane that parallels 5 & 20 and coming down that little hill to make a turn into the Lake Tunnel — slow down! People, pets, and bikes coming out of the tunnel cannot see you coming from around the corner and you can’t see them. Cool it.
It is awesome to walk or ride along the lake. Whether a mom or dad getting a moment of freedom walking their baby in the stroller, a group of family or friends having time together, running, walking, or riding — it is wonderful. But please, remember you are sharing the space. Thank you.