Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Decline Delusion: Slope Misjudgment in Great Falls

My blood is boiling. I can no longer remain silent on this issue. Months of harboring this odious, loathsome misguided, delusion has left me livid and misanthropic. Before going off on a tirade against the City of Great Falls and their marked inability to appropriately label slopes, I will take a deeeeeeeep breath, relax the pressure valves and provide the back story to this polemic.

Though Great Falls provides little in the way of bipedal transit options, what the City does provide for its pedestrians is rather well done; the river walk, crosswalk signage, thru bike routes, etc. The problem with the cities pedestrian infrastructure is this; over estimation and excessive over exaggeration via hazard signs of declines, slopes and hills. Great Falls seems to label all hills, greater than five feet in elevation exchange, with 'decline warning signs'. What's more, on two hills I am thinking of in particular, the city has gone to the trouble of measuring and labeling the grade of the slope - these two slopes I am referring to are less than ten feet in exchange. Firstly, this seems to me a great misappropriation of recreation funds in the city. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, this act of 'crying wolf' on slope values is both dangerous and misguiding for the pedestrians of Great Falls. With mountains within sixty miles on all facets of the city, this conditioning of Great Fallsians - to labeled slopes of less than ten feet of elevation change - is likely to numb the slope judgement sensory receivers in the rear of the brain, so that a sign designating a slope that may well be in excess of several thousand feet in the mountains is taken as a subtle suggestion to 'slow a bit'. Surely, you see how misleading this can be. Alright, I am done with this subject. It only angers me.  Achtung!

Today has been great. It looks like this week will conclude at 130 miles. Feeling great. Had a nice morning drinking coffee at Morning Light, well talking to some rock solid folks, then headed to the library to do some web browsing. Put in 13 miles this morning. This evening Don and I are going to the Great Falls Symphony. They are playing a smattering of pieces; from Dvorak's five to some new, hip, contemporary stuff. Should be solid. Love it. Off to the races. Peace and stuff.

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