Wednesday, September 29, 2010

McGinn's Pander

It was somehow fitting that Mike McGinn wouldn't see much value in a historical museum. After all, if people studied history, would he be mayor?

Less fitting was his assertion, last week, that money should be spent on the poor first, and his decision this week to spend $13 million on bicycling, walking, and a Transit Study. I mean, really, can you imagine anything that requires less government assistance than your decision to take a walk or ride your bicycle?

The Seattle bicycling community should proudly refuse this 'help' and set about increasing ridership by a variety of private and club ventures- but they won't. The offer of money and jobs will attract some, who will then accuse any dissidents of "hating bicycles", etc etc etc in the style we've come to know so well of McGinn supporters.

What kind of private programs could increase ridership? "Each one teach one" training about bicycle repair and maintenance, training rides so the young can become accustomed to riding 5-10 miles as a normal ride, group rides with extra monitors to help deal with traffic, a buddy-system registry for riders who want one, or just a few, partners for riding, programs to give your old but still good bicycle to people who can't afford them, help for employees who want to negotiate bicycle parking and locker facilities with their employers, 'adopting' parks and keeping them clean, as destinations for popular city rides.

These are just a few ideas to increase ridership, and increasing ridership is the best way to change things. Ok, maybe the second best way to change things, but we already put the police on bicycles, so we can't play that card again.

Where increased ridership and vocal pedestrians have already forced the city to plan, as, for example, with sidewalks, spend the money and build it. But don't take something we can do, like bicycling, and turn it into something we can't do without spending a lot of money on studies. We've done enough of that already.

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