Take, for example, bicycling. I wrote last week about the Bicycle Advisory Committee's slant towards recreational, rather than transportation, cyclists. Many of the other committee members also proudly state that they are "commuters," but note that wayfinding is (in their minds) less important for commuter cyclists. The committee chair told me that
If you're a commuter, you can plan out your route, look at the maps beforehand, learn the streets, maybe even drive it a few times before you commit to it.*
First, note the auto-centrism. Many cyclists in this city, especially transportation cyclists, ride bikes because they can't drive, can't afford a car, or choose not to use an automobile for other reasons. Second, and more importantly for this post, is the assumption that a cyclist riding for transportation would be riding the same route, between home and work, over and over and over without deviation. This sort of view makes no provision for cycling to other destinations, such as the grocery store, social activities, or government meetings like those of the BAC. Thus there is a fundamental difference between panning infrastructure for bicycle commuters, and planning infrastructure for transportation cyclists- the latter being those who bike, not just to work, but to everywhere. Furthermore, our city will not be bicycle-friendly unless and until her residents can safely make, not only their work trip, but all of their day-to-day trips on a bicycle.
I once again encourage everyone to be very careful in their use of the word "commuter." It implies a very particular sort of travel, with often devastating impacts on alternative transportation.
*I wasn't taking notes when he said this, so this quote may not be verbatim. It captures the spirit of his comments.