Q Will you join me this week in a brief moment of silence to remember that all of us must share the road?
A May is National Bike Month and Thursday is Bike to Work Day, and Ronna has a good idea: Name a bike path in the South Bay for the Rev. Mark Catalana, the pastor of St. Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Church in San Jose, who was hit by a car a year ago while riding his bike on San Tomas Expressway. He died three weeks later of injuries he sustained that led to a blood clot.
She tells his story well.
Q This would put a face on a street, making us more aware.
I never fail to think about the life of a person for whom a highway is dedicated, wondering about their lives, when I see their names. It slows me down, makes me ponder -- that's good. Takes the focus off a highway and ourselves and places some emphasis on another person, and on their lives, their contributions to our community.
Father Mark followed all the rules of the road, but he was gracious to those drivers that sometimes showed attitude to him and that had no mercy for bicyclists. In a sermon, he once told us he'd give a blessing (in a hand gesture) to the occasional impatient or unkind motorist he encountered while on the road.
A There is a precedent for this. In Palo Alto, part of Bryant Street is the "Ellen Fletcher Bicycle Boulevard." Fletcher served on the Palo Alto City Council for 12 years and was responsible for the bike boulevard.
In Cupertino, the pedestrian-bike bridge over Interstate 280 is named after Don Burnett, an avid bicyclist who died of cancer in 2010. He helped envision the bridge and galvanized much support for bicycling in the city.
Q Father Mark rode all over the San Jose area, even up to Menlo Park regularly, going to St. Patrick's Seminary. He'd qualify for a "Bike Boulevard" named after him! People all over San Jose knew him well.
A Columnist Scott Herhold wrote an article last year about the "Miles for Father Mark" effort, in which his parish completed 100,000 miles by bicycle, by his 50th birthday, which was his goal.
Q When I see a biker now, I remember Father Mark and my patience level goes up. I think somewhere in San Jose, Campbell, Santa Clara or any other city where a new bike lane is installed on a major street, a "Rev. Mark Catalana Bicycle Boulevard" would be a super reminder to so many people that knew him, to slow down, and to get along with each other, in peace.
Father Mark knew everyone, and everyone loved him back. I'll never look at another bicyclist without remembering him, and of thinking about how he died. His death was a wake-up call, serving to draw attention to the need for drivers to give bikers their space.
A This would be a fitting tribute, and it's one in which San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo has expressed interest. Cities are expanding bike lanes across the Bay Area, and naming one after Father Mark is a great idea.