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July 1, 2017 / bikesbytesbites

The more things are different …

…the more they are the same.

You think you’re in a foreign country, on a different continent.  But you’re in the same world, with the same socio-economic problems, both macro and micro.  So, I’d be walking (or riding my bike) around the streets of Bologna and see something that was distinctly European/Italian/Bolognese, but which reminded me of something from back in the US/Virginia-DC. To wit:

The immigration problem/refugees

The US has the impending wall along the Texas-US border. Italy has the impending closure of ports to refugee boats. And the problem of saving people off rubber dinghies that go down somewhere in the Mediterranean and Adriatic.

Public vs Private Entertainment (very close to home)

Arlington’s Cinema & Drafthouse has been having problems booking live acts, because of competition/pressure from the publicly financed Kennedy Center.  The multiplex movie theatre near the train station has just closed, because (so says the poster on their building) the commune di Bologna gives unfair advantage to the Cineteca — the HUGE undertaking that’s sponsoring the movie festival that got me to Bologna in the first place. The headline: “The same old story…”


Bicycle Parking

The DC and Virginia governments are trying to encourage bicycling. But they seem to have forgotten that if you bicycle some place for an errand, you need a secure place to park your bicycle while you run that errand. The result: A shortage of bicycle parking/racks, especially in some neighborhoods.  At first glance, it looks like Bologna should have sufficient bicycle parking — there are racks all over the place.


However, some of these are used for overnight/semi-permanent parking, and given the amount of bike traffic,  bike parking is very scarce in some places.  I feel like I’m parking a car:

  • I have to look around for a parking spot, hopefully near where I’m going.
  • I have to make sure I can lock up the bike securely and not have it impede the flow of foot, automobile, or bike traffic.
  • Worst: I have to remember where I parked it.  At least twice I spent about 5 minutes thinking I had had a bike stolen, because I started looking in the place I first thought I would be parking the bike, only to end up a few buildings/bike racks/no parking signs away.

Bathrooms in Movie Theatres

This must be a universal absolute: There are never enough.


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