Short takes on the week’s news

0

Cheers to Bob Roy Jr.’s vision, energy, pride and persistence in restoring the former Maine Central Railroad passenger depot into the awesome Ironhorse Court.

Roy’s reason for spending personal funds to bring this old station back to life?

“It’s a beautiful building with tons of historical relevance to this area. People came here on the train for the first time in this building. People left for war there,” he told the Sun Journal.

And, some still remember those days.

Advertisement

In recognizing Roy’s efforts at a special award ceremony at Ironhorse Court Thursday afternoon, Lewiston Historic Preservation Review Board President Bill Clifford told the assembled audience that he holds dear boyhood memories of riding the train from that station to attend Red Sox games. Others in the room nodded in agreement, probably remembering the same exciting journey.

In accepting the honor, Roy said that he’d had an unannounced visitor the previous day, an elderly man who operated the telegraph at the station in its heyday and wanted a quick look at the renovation. The man toured the building, remarked on the restored historic detail, and showed Roy how the ticket counter had been set up and how he’d dash around the counter to hold the train for last-minute passengers.

Trains were, some remember, central to Lewiston’s day-to-day commerce and recreation. Those days are long gone, but Roy’s painstakingly detailed restoration of the railroad station offers a splendid dose of nostalgia in our hectic world.

The rails outside the building remain, and the passenger trains are long gone. But, now, memories of the busy station and its importance to Lewiston have been restored.

Roy did that.

Cheers to Maine’s third-place bike-friendly national ranking by the League of American Bicyclists.

The League ranked Maine tops in the nation for its infrastructure available to cyclists, including bike lanes, trail miles and the percentage of state highways that have bike-friendly shoulders.

We ranked lower for education available for cyclists and motorists, such as questions concerning cyclists’ rights in state drivers’ exams, and for legislation and regulations that govern cyclists’ legal use of shoulders or riders’ ability to leave the right-hand portion of a road to guard their safety.

Among the six categories evaluated by the League, we ranked lowest in enforcement, coming in at 15th in the nation. The League suggests Maine should do more to train law enforcement officers and traffic court judges to ensure protection of cyclists’ rights and safe travel on shared roadways.

OK. It’s a sweet ranking that might encourage cyclists from out-of-state to tour our countryside and enjoy our trails. But, is the ranking real?

Every regular cyclist could probably share a horror story about an encounter with a pedestrian or motorist, so while we may be bike-friendly on paper, the reality on the road is not overly bike-friendly. And, to a large degree, cyclists have only themselves to blame.

Maine law is very clear that bikes and cars — all vehicles — share the same rights (of way) and responsibilities of travel. Too often, though, cyclists ignore the law and blow through red lights or ride side by side along rural roads, impeding travel. If cyclists did that while driving their cars, police would take note.

The cyclist mantra to share the road is — quite literally — a two-way street.

If Maine is ever to be truly bike-friendly, cyclists must conform to the same traffic laws with the same commitment they demand of motorists.

editorialboard@sunjournal.com

Advertisement
SHARE