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Thread: Arlington National Cemetery Banning Bikes

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_s View Post
    They rely on the help and goodwill of Arlington County in many ways as well - for instance without Arlington's transportation infrastructure none of their employees would be able to get to work.
    Let's be realistic with the rhetoric--ArlCo doesn't do that out of goodwill, it does it because (like any community) it doesn't bite the hand that feeds it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Let's be realistic with the rhetoric--ArlCo doesn't do that out of goodwill, it does it because (like any community) it doesn't bite the hand that feeds it.
    If I'm not mistaken, every single person who works in the fort or the cemetery is paid through the taxes that you and I pay. In fact, the very existence of those facilities is paid for by you and me. Their showing a bit of accommodation to the many hands that feed them hardly seems to be unreasonable. I am in total agreement with Chris. There is no "good" reason why these institutions cannot sit down in a collaborative way and work with the community within which they exist--and have for more than a century--to establish and maintain a positive working relationship. Sure, they can (and do) thumb their noses at anyone they want to. But that doesn't mean we cannot request that they stop.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    In fact, the very existence of those facilities is paid for by you and me.
    This is my biggest peeve with the whole situation. After I read "The Army disagrees with and rejects these comments ...." I halfheartedly skimmed the rest. The Army clearly thinks it owns and makes all the decisions for ANC, and I reject their assumption of authority. It's a public property, and the public ought to at least have a voice in when/how it is accessed and enjoyed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    If I'm not mistaken, every single person who works in the fort or the cemetery is paid through the taxes that you and I pay. In fact, the very existence of those facilities is paid for by you and me. Their showing a bit of accommodation to the many hands that feed them hardly seems to be unreasonable. I am in total agreement with Chris. There is no "good" reason why these institutions cannot sit down in a collaborative way and work with the community within which they exist--and have for more than a century--to establish and maintain a positive working relationship. Sure, they can (and do) thumb their noses at anyone they want to. But that doesn't mean we cannot request that they stop.
    Hey, if you think that you can convince a majority of ArlCo voters to side with cyclists over DOD in defense of a demand to allow ANC to be a commuter route then go for it. I think you'll find that you won't get a majority in which case you can't claim to be representing the will of the people. (The "many hands that feed them" argument cuts both ways: if that's what you're basing this on, you've got absolutely no ground to stand on if a majority either doesn't care or rejects the idea, and I suspect you'll find that's the case.) Yeah, your tax dollars pay for it, but that doesn't mean you have a right to do whatever you want there--that's a principle long established in law and custom. DOD has the responsibility for maintaining that property. They had a public process at which people who disagreed were given a chance to be heard. DOD rejected the criticisms and explained why. Unless there's something new to add, or you have enough public support to force them to do something they don't want to do, you run the risk of playing into the worst stereotypes of cyclists (optics again). DOD does spend quite a bit of time and attention on community relations, but that's generally for issues outside the fence; especially in a post-9/11 world there's just not much public support for overriding any policy on restricting access regardless of whether some people think the restrictions are unreasonable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ginacico View Post
    This is my biggest peeve with the whole situation. After I read "The Army disagrees with and rejects these comments ...." I halfheartedly skimmed the rest. The Army clearly thinks it owns and makes all the decisions for ANC, and I reject their assumption of authority. It's a public property, and the public ought to at least have a voice in when/how it is accessed and enjoyed.
    Not quibbling - and not entering debate - but just making a procedural note. SOMEBODY has to be the decision maker in any administrative setting. It may be public [FILL IN THE BLANK]. Sure. But someone is charged with caring for and making decisions for that public [FILL IN THE BLANK]. Does the public get a voice - of course - but "a voice" is not the same as "who decides." Someone is designated at the entity that listens to the voices and decides between those who say GREEN and those who say YELLOW.

    That an entity is charged with making decisions and operations is not in opposition to the notion that the subject is public.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Hey, if you think that you can convince a majority of ArlCo voters to side with cyclists over DOD in defense of a demand to allow ANC to be a commuter route then go for it.
    The Arlington County Board officially weighed in on this in favor of maintaining the status quo of allowing bikes to use the current commuter route. So the citizens of Arlington County, through their elected representative, did in fact make that case.

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    I laughed aloud at the Army's safety argument. The last time I visited, I waited 25 minutes in the heat with my daughter this summer to get on their shuttle service. I decided to walk back with her from the Columbarium, figuring the wind beat waiting a half hour for them. On my way back, one their shuttles passed us with less than two feet and no oncoming cars.

    And decorum respect? They take private tour buses full of people with selfy-sticks out looking for the best photo moment. I'm happy they're learning the history, but seriously, I think they way overblew that one.

    Oh well. Now I'm going to make a point of biking and having them issue me the temporary pass each time.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_s View Post
    The Cemetery is so big, it is a barrier to movement in the County. It is especially a barrier to people on foot and on bicycles. It is even more of a barrier because it is directly adjacent to Ft Myer which is also a barrier. It is even more of a barrier because it almost immediately adjacent to the Pentagon which is also a barrier.

    These institutions need to be good neighbors.
    I'd like to go back in time and kick the urban planners who put all three of these properties together, across the river from the nation's capital. But they're not moving anywhere, so access through or around them is an ongoing negotiation with Arlington residents.

    I live just a couple miles south of the Pentagon, and actually the roads through and around their property are open to the public, including bike commuters. I ride there regularly, and as long as you don't go through any security gates, nobody blinks an eye (though I don't doubt there are cameras and well armed guards watching). The Pentagon 9-11 Memorial attracts visitors on a daily basis without any special pass. Metro subway and bus commuters come and go in droves through their massive transit center. Just putting this out there, that despite typically tight security, the Pentagon should get credit for being a good neighbor.

    ANC is another story.

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    Remember that Arlington was a backwater 'burg back in the day - filled with chicken coops and dairy farms. It was rural. And at times questionable. ANC's history is well known. Fort Myer's dates back to the civil war as well. Fort Myer hosted demonstrations of the Wright Brother's plane for Congress and the military. Fort Myer also was the home of the first high powered radio antenna, built by the Navy, that could communicate with the Eiffel tower. Point is - all this stuff has history long before the modern Arlington. The urban planners that you speak of - there was no urban. There were cows and chickens. There was lots of land that was available for use by the war department - particularly in the context of the civil war.

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    Default Comment for radio story about restrictions

    Hello - I'm a producer with WAMU News, and I'm working on a story about the bike restrictions in the cemetery. I'd love to include your perspective, as someone who has family in the cemetery. Would you be willing to chat? My email is mlefrak@wamu.org. - Mikaela

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