It is time for the Active Transportation Alliance and the rest of the Chicago Urban Cycling Movement to take ownership of their part in pushing the current mayor to do things which benefited them but not the City of Chicago as a whole. We watched as more lanes were added to areas of the city where frankly few people valued them, while at the same time closing some 50+ schools.
Groups like StreetsBlog are constantly pushing the city to find more money for Protected Bike Lanes generally at the expense residents who do not even ride bicycles for transportation. We have managed to show an ugly uncaring side to the general public for which we should be truly ashamed.
Given that Urban Cyclists represent less than 1% of the transportation landscape we are looking at our own ugly 1% scenario. In cities like Chicago we are trying to convince the South and West Sides of the City that adding bike lanes is Equity and not Gentrification. But we know that really is not true.
It is time for the Urban Cycling Movement to get off its collective saddle and become less dependent on government largesse and more capable of supporting its own. As a rule we are far more likely to keep brewpubs thriving than we are our own bicycle shop infrastructure.
That my friends is appalling!
Done On The Cheap! But Costing Too Dearly
We see all over the city the aftermath of laying down pretty green paint and separating that lane with PVC bollards which are bad for the environment. All this so that we cyclist do not feel threatened when we ride along streets whose intersections we enter on red lights. We clamor for the removal of car parking but refuse to pay a farthing for bike parking. We rant about motorists who drive without licenses but refuse to even consider being licensed ourselves.
And we have Active Transportation Alliance to thank for having our back on such issues. We do not plan to give a single inch when it comes to infrastructure. We complain because sooner or later the bill for mass transportation will come due. And we refuse to admit that the ridership is going to have to pay higher fares. Instead we blame the Governor for wanting to cut the funds being provided for a system which overall is existing by means of ‘smoke and mirrors‘. But those days are likely to be over. Special interest groups like the Urban Cycling Movement are going to have to suck it up and share in the pain with the rest of society.
We are not going to be coming after motorists anytime soon with carte blanche in hand. Everyone from motorists to cyclists is going to have to share the suffering of trying to deal with a system which is not sustainable and probably never has been. We cannot claw our way out of this with Federal Government funds. Having made few friends in Washington we are going to be on our own. For once in our lifetime the true cost of mass transit versus private automobile usage is likely to be better understood.
Mass Transit systems (on paper at least) should be more efficient than driving private cars. But that has been obscured by government subsidies designed to coax people out of their cars and into buses and trains. But with a more ‘level playing field‘ we might just find instances in which the only calculations make little sense.
Certainly it costs the taxpayers far more than they realize to have bike lanes installed alongside on sidewalk parking for private bikes. And the worst thing is that the users of these services are unwilling to pay their fair share. They refuse to be licensed or taxed in any way to have new infrastructure which we clearly cannot afford installed on their behalf. Perhaps those days are over?