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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesA MODEST PROPOSAL FOR ST THOMAS

A MODEST PROPOSAL FOR ST THOMAS

In 1729 Jonathon Swift wrote his controversial Modest Proposal for preventing children of the poor in Ireland from being a burden to their parents and the country and also for making them beneficial to the public.
Swift’s suggestion for the abundance of babies of Ireland’s poor was that at one year of age they should be roasted and eaten. This Modest Proposal became very famous for its satire and for way that the public was provoked.
My modest proposal for St. Thomas is not as draconian but is probably
just as inflammatory to most people. Since we may very soon have gridlock from the waterfront to Red Hook, I propose we get rid of all the cars on St. Thomas and use bicycles, monorails, water taxis, and even horses for transportation.
As I know most about bicycles , I’ll concentrate on cycling. Since my first ride at five years when I crashed my brother’s bike, I’ve loved the feeling of freedom and independence that bicycles give. Granted cars give that feeling too but they also dump 90 percent of the carbon monoxide we don’t need into the environment as use up 30 percent of our energy sources. And selfishly, with all the traffic on St Thomas, I cannot enjoy riding a bicycle here; therefore cars must go.
Using bicycles as transport will help us all. Aside from not adding to our global warming, riding a bicycle is good for our physical condition. Looking at St Thomians in general, being fit is not a priority. I’m naive enough to think that if a community is more fit they may be happier and more productive.
Riding bicycles will also bring a feeling of accomplishment. After arriving somewhere disheveled and sweaty, we are also darned proud of arriving under our own power. We will have a real buzz from having more oxygen in our brain from the exertion. A feeling of accomplishment will be good for us. Along with that, some our young people can benefit from physical accomplishments other than driving cars with blackout windows that reverberate with music. They can excel can even at a tour de St Thomas.
The tour de France certainly conducted isn’t in lowlands. Studies show that a success aids self esteem more than shopping or driving.
Bicycles are humbling. If we have to get off and push our bike up a hill, we jolly well won’t have a false sense of importance as we do when we power over it. And going downhill, the ride can be exhilarating but without care and respect for gravity, we will be painfully humbled. I will love to see some of our government officials on bicycles. It will bring me wicked joy.
Bicycles are good for community spirit. I have taken cycling trips around countries where bicycles are still the main mode of transportation, such as Cuba and north Vietnam; the people are exceptionally friendly and helpful. Granted, I’m not naive enough to think that they wouldn’t rather be in a Buick; but until that time they are likely in better condition and happier than much of the developed world. In Cuba after I had a flat and was walking down the road carrying my tire ,several cyclists offered to give me a lift on the back of their bikes. The Malecon, the famous waterfront highway, in Havana even has bike lanes. No doubt Fidel doesn’t use these himself, but at least he did provide them for the worker masses when he had the bikes shipped from China.
Some industrialized countries are looking seriously at their traffic problems and are having car free days in their city centers. In Rome recently, cars were banned for a day. The city center was reported to suddenly be a wonderful place for pedestrians without the noise and clutter of traffic. Wouldn’t Charlotte Amalie, especially Main Street be a lovely to walk around without the cars?
In Japan where both city pollution and space are issues, business people routinely ride their bikes around the cities. The train stations have parking garages just for bicycles. When I lived in Japan, I had a bike with a basket for shopping and a bike for travel.
I realize that there can be problems with having go places on bicycles ,such as our clothing and carrying all our important thins, as well as our children. But I propose to you that we pay too much attention to our clothing and our stuff. Cycling will also help us simplify our lives. Maybe if we can’t accomplishment as much on bicycles, we just shouldn’t be doing it. Maybe we should stay in our communities and with our families more. Maybe schools, daycare centers and markets should be in our neighborhoods.
And what will we do with all our cars, especially the new sport utility vehicles (that by the way are big time polluters)? Maybe we can send them to FEMA in lieu of our debt? Maybe some poor countries that have truly suffered from natural disasters can adapt them for shelter.
I’m sure when St. Thomians realize how much we have to gain from adopting bicycles as our transport we will adopt a new lifestyle and mindset. With better attitudes and less time and anger spent in traffic, we can work on our monorail and water taxi system. We will gain worldwide recognition as being a progressive and independent community. Tourists will flock here. We will show the U.S. that’s what is good for General Motors and taxi associations is not necessarily good for St Thomas.
Editor's note: Betty Story is a librarian and an avid cyclist. This proposal given as a speech recently at the Virgin Islands Toastmasters Club which meets the first and third Wednesday of each month at the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce.

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In 1729 Jonathon Swift wrote his controversial Modest Proposal for preventing children of the poor in Ireland from being a burden to their parents and the country and also for making them beneficial to the public.
Swift’s suggestion for the abundance of babies of Ireland’s poor was that at one year of age they should be roasted and eaten. This Modest Proposal became very famous for its satire and for way that the public was provoked.
My modest proposal for St. Thomas is not as draconian but is probably
just as inflammatory to most people. Since we may very soon have gridlock from the waterfront to Red Hook, I propose we get rid of all the cars on St. Thomas and use bicycles, monorails, water taxis, and even horses for transportation.
As I know most about bicycles , I’ll concentrate on cycling. Since my first ride at five years when I crashed my brother’s bike, I’ve loved the feeling of freedom and independence that bicycles give. Granted cars give that feeling too but they also dump 90 percent of the carbon monoxide we don’t need into the environment as use up 30 percent of our energy sources. And selfishly, with all the traffic on St Thomas, I cannot enjoy riding a bicycle here; therefore cars must go.
Using bicycles as transport will help us all. Aside from not adding to our global warming, riding a bicycle is good for our physical condition. Looking at St Thomians in general, being fit is not a priority. I’m naive enough to think that if a community is more fit they may be happier and more productive.
Riding bicycles will also bring a feeling of accomplishment. After arriving somewhere disheveled and sweaty, we are also darned proud of arriving under our own power. We will have a real buzz from having more oxygen in our brain from the exertion. A feeling of accomplishment will be good for us. Along with that, some our young people can benefit from physical accomplishments other than driving cars with blackout windows that reverberate with music. They can excel can even at a tour de St Thomas.
The tour de France certainly conducted isn’t in lowlands. Studies show that a success aids self esteem more than shopping or driving.
Bicycles are humbling. If we have to get off and push our bike up a hill, we jolly well won’t have a false sense of importance as we do when we power over it. And going downhill, the ride can be exhilarating but without care and respect for gravity, we will be painfully humbled. I will love to see some of our government officials on bicycles. It will bring me wicked joy.
Bicycles are good for community spirit. I have taken cycling trips around countries where bicycles are still the main mode of transportation, such as Cuba and north Vietnam; the people are exceptionally friendly and helpful. Granted, I’m not naive enough to think that they wouldn’t rather be in a Buick; but until that time they are likely in better condition and happier than much of the developed world. In Cuba after I had a flat and was walking down the road carrying my tire ,several cyclists offered to give me a lift on the back of their bikes. The Malecon, the famous waterfront highway, in Havana even has bike lanes. No doubt Fidel doesn’t use these himself, but at least he did provide them for the worker masses when he had the bikes shipped from China.
Some industrialized countries are looking seriously at their traffic problems and are having car free days in their city centers. In Rome recently, cars were banned for a day. The city center was reported to suddenly be a wonderful place for pedestrians without the noise and clutter of traffic. Wouldn’t Charlotte Amalie, especially Main Street be a lovely to walk around without the cars?
In Japan where both city pollution and space are issues, business people routinely ride their bikes around the cities. The train stations have parking garages just for bicycles. When I lived in Japan, I had a bike with a basket for shopping and a bike for travel.
I realize that there can be problems with having go places on bicycles ,such as our clothing and carrying all our important thins, as well as our children. But I propose to you that we pay too much attention to our clothing and our stuff. Cycling will also help us simplify our lives. Maybe if we can’t accomplishment as much on bicycles, we just shouldn’t be doing it. Maybe we should stay in our communities and with our families more. Maybe schools, daycare centers and markets should be in our neighborhoods.
And what will we do with all our cars, especially the new sport utility vehicles (that by the way are big time polluters)? Maybe we can send them to FEMA in lieu of our debt? Maybe some poor countries that have truly suffered from natural disasters can adapt them for shelter.
I’m sure when St. Thomians realize how much we have to gain from adopting bicycles as our transport we will adopt a new lifestyle and mindset. With better attitudes and less time and anger spent in traffic, we can work on our monorail and water taxi system. We will gain worldwide recognition as being a progressive and independent community. Tourists will flock here. We will show the U.S. that’s what is good for General Motors and taxi associations is not necessarily good for St Thomas.
Editor's note: Betty Story is a librarian and an avid cyclist. This proposal given as a speech recently at the Virgin Islands Toastmasters Club which meets the first and third Wednesday of each month at the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce.