Monday, December 9, 2013

Letter by Professor Olga Yokoyama

After our recent conversation with Vice Chancellor Parker, Professor Yokohama, a long-time bicycle commuter, added her own voice to the concerns raised last month. Her letter encourages the University to address the many challenges and barriers faced by cyclists approaching the campus. With the Expo Line coming in 2015, the Chancellor for Government and Community Relations appreciates hearing from the campus community and to learn that bicycle infrastructure surrounding the campus is fast moving up the agenda. Please add your own voice and share your letters with us.

Dear Director Brannon and Vice Chancellor Parker:
I write to you in support of the bicyclers among the UCLA community. I daily ride a bicycle to work and daily I think how nice it would be if bicycle riding culture spread in the US. It is healthy, it is “green”, it saves money and, often, it even saves time. I hope the university supports it in deed, not just in word, just as the university has finally embraced a no smoking policy. Please consider doing the right thing!

This past summer, I found a picture of a lovely graying cyclist couple on the cover of one of UCLA Health Care pamphlets and called the editors of this publication to tell them that those idyllic pictures are very nice but the whole campus, including the Medical plaza, has insufficient bike parking spots. It took me several calls and many pushed buttons to get to talk to people who were willing to listen. But it still didn’t get me anywhere, because the brochure turned out to be outsourced. The obvious incongruence (not to say hypocrisy) of such pictures does not ring a bell with those nice folks who design promotional brochures and posters. So the university’s one hand does not know what the other hand is doing: championing healthy bike riding, on the one hand, and making bike riding dangerous and uninviting, on the other, are two contradictory stances that the university’s administration routinely takes, not realizing that they are contradictory. Please give some consideration in your busy schedule to the ways in which bicycling culture can be supported at UCLA, and find a place in your admittedly tight budgets to support bike riding.
Olga T. Yokoyama
Distinguished Professor
Department of Applied Linguistics
University of CaliforniaLos Angeles

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