Saturday, August 18, 2018

My trip to Europe -- Redmond History & urban transportation

Two long rows of "scooters" blanket a plaza in Sorrento
credit/ Pam Yoder
On July 23, our family burst out of the Redmond bubble for an eye-opening visit to Ireland and Italy.  After 40 years of life in Redmond it was about time to gain new perspectives!

Our trip was instigated by my nephew, playing the Irish in a  Aussie Rules Football. tournament.  We lost both games but the Guinness, Jamison and lively pubs made up for it.

I had my eye out for the McRedmonds in Ireland.  None to be found.  Luke McRedmond immigrated to America during the potato famine and homesteaded here in 1850.  Upon becoming postmaster in 1882 he renamed the town from "Salmonberg" to Redmond.  [Click on the hyperlink to read a fascinating accounting of the early development of Redmond up to Microsoft's presence.]

My daughter Lexie, and her boyfriend had to leave after the tourney.  Pam and I extended our trip to visit Venice, Rome, Sorrento and Capri.  Great times!! but the biggest negative was a plethora of noisy, invasive "scooters" in Sorrento (pop. 16,500.)  They appeared as a scooter-motorcycle hybrid....not the kind we know...and often drove only feet from back-street restaurants.  As opposed to Ireland, Italian streets have no curbs so the "scooters" can drive and park most anywhere,  Cars had less presence. I saw a handful electric bikes and bicycles but no bike shares.  Rather, the streets and plazas were loaded with many large scooter parking spaces, as seen in the photo.

Electric bikes and bike shares have a smaller parking footprint than scooters and our curbed streets make these bikes less invasive and more controlled.  Electric bikes and bike shares are more appropriate than scooters for our urban centers and are the wave of the future for Redmond.

B. Yoder, opinion

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