Saturday, September 06, 2014

How paved roads came about

Most people don't realize that many of the first paved roads in New England came about as a result of political pressure from bicycle riders in the late 1800's, well before cars showed up. Here's a pertinent story of the rising interest in that mode. An excerpt:

Cycling was not without its detractors, who viewed the new machine as a menace and wanted it banned from parks and public roads. Realizing that the new sport needed advocates as well as promoters, [Albert] Pope organized the Wheelman Club to fight for cyclists' rights. Declaring American roads "the worst in the civilized world," he financed courses at M.I.T for road engineers and lobbied the state to set up a highway commission. He even paid to have a stretch of Columbus Avenue paved in his campaign for better road surfaces.


e-Patient Dave said...

Ha - cyclists started the movement to pave roads to make them better suited to wheels?? And now many auto drivers consider cyclists the intruders??

I can't help but notice parallels with Euro-based Americans who think this was THEIR place first, and want others kept out.

Ah, humanity. :-)

(And isn't there something about the 3-year-old's view of the world? "If I see something, it's mine. If I have something, it's mine. If I want something, it's mine." Human nature, I guess ... but subject to upgrade, I hope!)

Ron said...

Wow, that is very interesting I have always wondered how paved roads came to be.