Wednesday, March 11, 2015

42 years ago - "Climb on a Bike and Wheel Into the Future"

From this version and the original. Credit to Sam B for unearthing this gem.

T O W N     T O P I C S     "Outdoor Living" special supplement - Spring, 1973.

MR. BIKE: Henry Arnold poses symbolically before a map of Princeton's
proposed bike-paths. Mr. Arnold, a landscape architect, has become the town's
foremost proponent of the two-wheeler.

Climb on a Bike and Wheel Into the Future

Bike! By riding a bicycle, you take a dramatic individual stand against damaging the
environment, and besides. . . .

Henry Arnold, the dynamic young landscape architect who has become Mr. Bike in
Princeton, doesn't even own a car. (But he admits he cheats a little: his wife owns one.)

When you cycle, he points out, you release your own frustrations, reap the benefits of
physical exercise and enjoy the pleasant feeling of doing something healthy and healthful
to help the environment.

"The most fun is riding in the rain," smiles Mr. Arnold, "and in hot weather, dressed
lightly, you air-condition yourself as you ride. Also, it's so much quicker for short
distances than a car, especially in Princeton, and you are closer to nature."

"In fact," be continues with a sly smile in his eye. "I have listed 16 ways in which
automobiles can damage the environment. Although I'm not against cars: only
against their USE.

The 16?

— Cars reduce the land to islands, cutting them off with roads. This means fewer
plants and animals.

— Cars bring about changes in the ground water because there is erosion during the
     construction of highways,

— Cars mean highways, and highways generate the need for more highways.

— Cars mean noise pollution.

And so on.

Simultaneous Solution

"Cars and the development patterns are linked," he says seriously, "and this is the
frustration because all problems must really be solved together."

Basically, he thinks, we are faced with a social problem requiring  us to change the
ways we live (bikes, not cars). This means, of course, that change won't come quickly.

Mr Arnold is best known, aside from his advocacy of the bicycle, for saying that all
cars should be removed from Nassau Street.  He also has said, loudly and In public,
that the temporary closing of Palmer Square simply isn't radical enough: if you're
going to do it,  DO IT, with a grand and imaginative plan. Spend a million, he said once,
and the benefit would be reaped ten times over.

Abandoning the city and "escaping" into suburbia is very negative, Mr. Arnold
believes, by destroying the quality of the landscape, reducing the number of
species of plants and animals. We are, in his words, "stealing from the future"
and causing effects that may not truly be felt until the next generation.

Nine Years In Vermont

An ex-paratrooper Mr. Arnold holds his degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He
has studied under lan McHarg, well known In Princeton for his unorthodox environmental
pronouncements, and spent nine years working in Vermont with landscape architect Dan Kiley.

Work on city parks in Singapore, Nigeria and Chicago: on a master plan for the campus
of the University of Vermont and on proposals for permanent housing In the ski area
of Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, are projects which have given Henry Arnold a
broad outlook on the world.

He got involved in bicycles in Princeton, he says, because he's had experience "in getting
things done — you must be a practical visionary, and if you haven't had experience, you
don't know how to bypass the obstacles...."

Practical visionary?

"The bicycle," and the sly smile comes into his eye again, "the bicycle is more a step into the
future than a moon vehicle!".

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