My name is Jack Glodek and I’m from Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, which is a suburb of Philadelphia. Even though we are so far (33 miles) from downtown, we still have great bike infrastructure near our house. There aren’t many options for people to bike on the roads, as there isn’t really a main “town” to bike around, but there is a well-kept bike path that runs along a creek by our house. One can take this path to many parks and destinations, but if one is feeling up to it, the path can be taken all the way to downtown Philadelphia.
Most of the time, our family would just go for small bike rides along this path, but once I did make it all the way to Philadelphia and back. It was so much fun to complete the challenge, but I remember it was also fun to see how the path had been created. They had taken an old rail corridor all the way down to the city and turned it into a bike path, which I thought was awesome. The only place where the path wasn’t on an old railroad right-of-way was when it went through a town about 5 miles from the end. The path just ended in some parking lot and it was expected that riders would then just ride through these bustling roads with almost no shoulder or sidewalks. There were also no signs directing me through the town, which made it even more difficult. It was so bad that I almost had to turn around, only a few miles from my destination.
I think it’s amazing that there could be so much money put into this path, making it look very nice and encouraging ridership, but then there be a major chokepoint through a town with no signage and infrastructure. This was not encouraging people to bike.
I’m most excited to learn about the way the Netherlands handles similar bike infrastructure and how they avoid situations like this. I’ve travelled abroad only once (on the Pacific Program) and my absolute favorite part was the public transportation network in Sydney. It felt a billion times nicer and entirely different from the transportation options in both Philadelphia and Atlanta. It’s interesting to me to compare a not-so-well planned network (like in Atlanta) with a very well-planned network (like in Sydney), so I’m hoping to notice similar parallels when comparing the United States and the Netherlands.
Me looking very excited on the trains in Sydney.
I’m extremely excited to take this class and travel to Europe. I hope to get as much as possible out of it as it will be a unique learning environment and be totally different from any class I’ve ever taken.