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Corvallis cyclist aims to counter city’s broken glass

An advocate for Corvallis’ bike community found a way to alleviate the issue of broken glass debris that many cyclists say litter the city’s bike lanes.

Dan Crall, owner and operator of Corvallis Pedicab and a bicycle commuter, made a $140 personal investment in mini plastic brooms and dust pans on Aug. 1 and gave them to cyclists to use when they notice glass in their paths of travel.

“It’s a pretty small price to pay for what an affect this could have,” Crall said. “It’s something I see so often, and I know there is an immediate solution to it. I wanted to make it happen.”

The idea was conceived around 2006 when Crall began to notice glass near where he lived along Highway 99. He eventually decided to take a push broom on walks and began to clean it up.

“This is one of those things where I feel like it has been a big enough problem, and I have enough financial resources as a business person to put into this,” he said. “This is a town of people who care, and I really wanted to tap into that by doing this.”

The mini yellow brooms and dustpans, which Crall bought for four dollars each from Robnett’s Hardware, are small enough for cyclists to carry in bike baskets. Each dustpan handle has a small rope loop so they can hang on bike handlebars.

“Small slivers are the problem,” he said, because cyclists are less likely to see small pieces of glass before they ride over them. “Often time when you find the culprit of a flat tire, it’s a mere sliver of glass that’s small enough to pull out with tweezers. A detailed spot sweep should take care of that.”

Because some messes he sees are too big for a little broom, he bought 40 stickers at SP&B Reprographics printed with the phone number for Corvallis Public Works as part of his investment and placed them on the back of every dustpan.

“I honestly just want cyclists to know that’s who they can contact in case of larger messes,” Crall said.

The Corvallis Farmers’ Market on Saturday provided Crall an opportunity to test the significance of his idea. He found it well-received by other cyclists after a box of 25 mini brooms and pans he took to the market was empty within 20 minutes.

“It’s been pretty positive,” Crall said of the general reaction. “Most cyclists I approached, I assumed before approaching them that they would probably care enough to participate.”

He stressed, however, that his goal is not to obligate every individual who rides a bike to stop and clean up glass. “I want people to feel inspired and (take) responsibility and just do what needs to be done.”

Several recipients thanked Crall for taking initiative. Corvallis resident David Eckert was one of a couple individuals who paid Crall for a broom and pan at the Saturday market.

Eckert, who lives near the university, said that glass is a definite problem, specifically on Van Buren Avenue between Kings Boulevard and Arnold Avenue.

“My transportation is nearly 100 percent bike,” Eckert said. “When you go down certain streets, (they’re) almost consistently filled with glass.”

Crall said riding a bicycle instead of driving a car has made him more aware of litter problems in the city.

“Being on a bike, you feel your town more,” he said. “We need to make this city as bike friendly as possible.”

Joce DeWitt can be contacted at 758-9510 or joce.dewitt@lee.net.

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