What Does It Sound Like When ChainLinkers Speak ‘Double Talk’


Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty.

Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty.

You really cannot succeed as a politician or a cycling advocate unless you can sling excuses and double talk with the best. The eerie this though is that the ChainLink Crowd has begun to talk this way as well. Recently CDOT has done an about-face on how it set up Madison Street. They are removing a bike lane to make room for a BRT redesign.

The first question to ask is why did it take so long to derive the BRT design? The next question is why was the bike lane put in if you knew you would be taking it out later?  My guess is that nobody was thinking that far ahead. So the short answer is, “We Are Winging It“. A response that is refreshingly honest but would never cross the lips of an erstwhile politician. And it seems now that the Trained Seals of the Church of Urban Cycling have learned their lines, they too are ready to converse in ‘Double Talk‘.

The latest example of this comes in the thread on the Madison Bike Lane redesign:

Change to Madison bike lane?? Bus Rapid Transit plans…
Posted by JeffB (7+ miles) on February 21, 2013 at 11:47am

I saw this today:

from the article:

“…On eastbound Washington, there will be two car lanes, a dedicated bus lane and raised bus island, and a bike lane.
Westbound Madison will have a similar configuration, but with a curb-level boarding area, and the bike lane will be relocated to Randolph.”

The affected areas are between Michigan and Clinton. Anyone have more info? Doesn’t start until 2014.

The fun begins with:

Reply by Davo on February 21, 2013 at 11:50am
I think that would be great if it is anything like the sketch. The only downside is no bike lane going the opposite direction. These are one way streets though.

Davo likes the ‘sketches’. Sketches are a bit like shiny baubles dangled before the eyes of babies. Sketches keep your attention long enough to sip your champagne while at the launch party. If there is money being raised then the sketches help contributors feed good about their wasted money contributions. It would seem that it worked in this instance as well.

Reply by Lisa Curcio 4.0 mi on February 21, 2013 at 12:05pm
From the perspective of coming from the LFP into the loop, Randolph makes more sense for a westbound bike lane since Madison starts at Michigan in the middle of the park.

I am having difficulty translating this sentence. There is something of value here, but I cannot understand it. However since we are all ‘buzzed’ on champagne it does not matter. At any rate, she agrees with relocating the bike lane.

Reply by JeffB (7+ miles) on February 21, 2013 at 12:11pm
While Randolph could certainly use a bike lane east of Michigan, I don’t think that’s in the scope of this project. I think it covers between Michigan and Clinton. I finally got tired of dealing with traffic on Randolph and started taking the riverwalk from LFP to Wabash

Now I am very confused. It appears that there is some discussion about ‘project scope’. At times like these you simply stare at the sketch and keep drinking. Surely the truth will be revealed.

Reply by Cameron 7.5 mi on February 21, 2013 at 1:13pm
There already is a bike lane on Randolph east of Michigan, so relocating the Madison lane creates a continuous lane from the LFP through the Loop. I was never a fan of the Madison lane, it was so disjointed, starting and stopping without really connecting to any other routes and the floating lane configuration felt less safe than a normal street. I view this as a gain for both cyclists and bus riders.

Now things seem clearer. If the Madison lane was so terrible, why did no one speak up? Surely someone from StreetsBlog would have made the effort to expose this problem?

Reply by Anne Alt on February 21, 2013 at 2:34pm
I agree. There’s so much bus traffic on Madison, and traffic gets even hairier with all the cab and other traffic at Ogilvie Station. Randolph could offer a LOT more bang for the buck when you consider the aspect of creating a better route network, as Cameron suggests. Of course, it also means that we need some enforcement on Randolph…

So there is agreement that Madison’s bike lane was a ‘bad idea’. I searched the archives of ChainLink and the poor design of the Madison bike lane seems never to have been the topic of a thread. That seems curious. Surely the fellows at StreetsBlog would have pointed to this problem?

Reply by Steven Vance on Friday
The project doesn’t address how people riding bikes will access their destinations on Madison Street. The bike lane on Madison Street had a stupid design and barely gave people riding bikes any of the space they need to bike safely and comfortably, so I’m not sad to see it go.
But the removal of a bike lane doesn’t remove people riding bikes – there must still be an accommodation for people riding bikes. Otherwise it’s an incomplete street.

Where was this outrage before the announced changes? But the last sentence is another causing me confusion. What does “the removal of a bike lane doesn’t remove people riding bikes” signify? Waiter, more champagne. Any canapé to go with it?

Okay. So the StreetsBlog guys thought the previous design “stupid“, but said nothing. Now we learn that when you remove a bike lane you are not removing people riding bikes. Okay. So that means that people can still ride bikes on Madison? If so then why was it ever necessary to paint a lane in the first place? Are we suddenly falling back into the Effective Cycling camp?

I just love these opening parties. You get to hear all sorts of new and fresh ideas. ‘Double Talk‘ is the lingua franca here. Ah, the fresh drinks have arrived and the canapé are divine. Carry on, people. Oh, I see the Mayor over there. Be back in a moment. Ta ta.