The Planner Guy and I were up early this morning in order to be a to be at the Flagstaff Farmer's Market where he, his coworker Kim, County planners and volunteers from the Citizen's Advisory Commission were holding an Open House to gather public comment for the Flagstaff 2012 Regional Plan update. Public opinion about a variety of community planning topics is gathered, including that pertaining to transportation and sustainability. Members of the community can ask questions, share thoughts and concerns about the regions current direction of growth, and obtain resources for further learning about the issues and how they can be involved in contributing to the process. Among the issues important to me, as one might suspect, is the further expansion of bike (wider)lanes and the Flagstaff Urban Trail System. I'd also like to see greater emphasis on expanding public transit so that living and working car-free (or at least car-lite) is an easier option for more people. Being married to a City Planner and a city employee myself, I've had ample opportunity to give my input, but kept a low profile at Bob's booth in favor of capturing photos of the market and its patrons, especially those on bikes.
Bob and I made ready our bikes the night before since we needed to do some shopping ourselves for the coming week - our usual front porch dining needs, Dr. Hummus, Rainbow Valley Farmer's Cheese, Village Baker bread and fresh produce. I anticipated needing two panniers, Bob's saddlebag and my bike basket for all our bounty for the return ride home.
The Flagstaff Farmer's Market could the perfect place in Flagstaff for interacting with die-hard bike commuters and Sunday bike commuters. I refer to some as Sunday bike commuters since I suspect that many attending the market travel to the market by bike more for family recreation than as part of their lifestyle. In no way do is this a criticism since everyone has to start somewhere and Bob and I are from from being independent of our car. I wonder how many will eventually make that leap from biking to the farmer's market to biking to their weekday errands and to work?
It would be naive to say that making the transition from driver to pedaler is a simple task. A considerable amount of planning and preparation can be involved. After all, as progressive as Flagstaff is compared to other communities with with respect to supporting bike infrastructure, it is still a community developed with the car in mind. This woman I spoke to lives in Kachina Village, outside the City limits, and typically parks her car close at the nearest FUTS access and bikes the rest of the way in.
While recently a number of the cycle chic blogs have taken some unfair hits for allegedly only featuring youthful female bike commuters, I was really happy to have the opportunity to capture several "this is what 50 looks like" women modeling the benefits of the active, bike commuting lifestyle. They are women closer to my age and the women with whom I would like to identify. They prove that getting older doesn't have to mean slowing down or settling down.I loved this woman's casual little bag. A great wicker basket from Arizona Bikes on Aspen Avenue adorned the front of her bike, too.
But let's face it, many Flagstaff bike commuters are young - and male. This young gentleman was particularly well-dressed. Perhaps he just came from church? Maybe he's channeling Gene Kelly? Or maybe, he just knows how to dress. A crisp white shirt and khaki pants always work.
Many at the Flagstaff Farmer's Market chose to travel in pairs. Better for carrying large bags of produce back to the homestead? Or maybe it's just more fun that way to get to know one another.
Back at the Regional Plan booth, I found Bob and Kim in constant discussion with visitors to the market. Scanning the comments, I noted many suggestions related to bike infrastructure and public transportation. Bob told me that one person he spoke to works at Flagstaff Medical Center, which provides their employees with financial incentives to bike to work, thus encouraging healthier living and providing more parking for patients.
Eventually, it was time to do our shopping.
I cannot leave the market without some delicious Dr. Hummus. Required eating for our front porch.
Bob requested tomatoes and some veggies to saute with pasta. I like the little basket the vendor provides to carry selections to the cashier.
Brian of Manna, local makers of handmade soaps and lotions, sold me a tin of Rosemary Shea Butter. Fresh and heavenly. I couldn't live without rosemary.
After rounding out my shopping with four Molly's Tamales, a loaf of French bread from the Village Baker, and two butternut squash, I was exhausted and needed a newspaper and a cool watermelon cocktail. A perfect rest before helping Bob pack up and head home for homemade blackberry pie with fresh whipped cream and a front porch napping session.