Non-preener Esther Goldberg, one half of Alexandria's Mega Powers of Crazy, penned an article on - you guessed it - the "Bike Lane Wars" of Northern Virginia. It borrows heavily from her husband's piece in the Wall Street Journal, but she's not content to just borrow his unbaked ideas, unsubstantiated claims and complete fallacies - she must include her own. Before I go any further, comments to the Alexandria City Council have been heavily against bike lanes on King Street so, please, contact the council and let them know that people do support them.
But back to the article. A lot of it is just so jaw-droppingly ridiculous that no response is possible - and what is up with these people and calling people preening. Here is the most important line:
As with the adherents of any belief system, such as environmentalism—and indeed liberalism—[bike lane supporters] are impervious to facts and uninterested in practicality and rational discourse.
Really? Let's see.
Looking out of the front window of my house on King Street, the main street in Alexandria, Virginia, I might easily be misled into thinking that I live on a complete street: pedestrians stroll along the sidewalks, some pushing baby strollers or walking their dogs; and two narrow traffic lanes accommodate 15,000 cars a day, as well buses, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles.
For the 23 years I’ve lived here, this street seemed to work beautifully for everyone. It gave our neighborhood a welcome diversity.
I'm confused, because your husband spent a lot of time talking about how cyclists do not favor King Street and how cars speed at nearly twice the limit and buses run red lights and it isn't safe for man nor beast. So which is it? Is it the Australian highways of Mad Max or is it the idyllic roads of Mayberry?
Instead it’s an exercise of raw power by the politically well-connected to mandate their vision about how we ought to live.
Yes, we - the all-powerful bike lobby - want to change how she lives. Our sinister plan will require that she live her life exactly as she does now (if she wants) except that her maid will have to park one block away. "Remember when we were free," people will say.
For the activists of the movement, our streets won’t be “complete” until cars are eliminated entirely or, for the less doctrinaire amongst them, radically reduced.
Actually, there is no one really pushing either of these agendas.
All this is to be done on the model of the frog in the boiling pot, with the temperature raised by small degrees until the frog is quite cooked
[This was shown to not be true, FYI].
Step 1 is to convince City Hall to paint “sharrows” on a road, indicating that the road is to be shared with cyclists. Only the road is already shared with cyclists, so what’s the point?
It's pretty easy to find the point of sharrows, and it's much more than she's described. Lazy or deceptive?
Step 2 occurs when the road is repaved by the City. At that point, the sharrows are replaced by dedicated bike lanes.
I actually can't think of a single place where bike lanes later replaced sharrows.
Where the street is too narrow for both on-street parking and bike lanes, the parking spaces disappear.
This is the exception, not the rule. Usually there are just no bike lanes.
Step 2 is usually opposed by businesses and homeowners.
Sometimes. But then later those same people agree that the road is better with bike lanes.
Homeowners want to invite their friends over for coffee, set up play dates for their children, and accommodate the carpooling arrangements that transport them to and from school.
Some do. But others want to run prostitution businesses out of their home, cheat on their spouses and manufacture meth. Homeowners really run the gamut.
That’s when the “Bike Wars” start, and that’s also when Step 3 is invoked.
I have no idea what step 3 actually is, because Goldberg never says.
We have great bike lanes in Northern Virginia, perhaps the nicest in the country, a 35-mile stretch along the Potomac River from Mount Vernon to Great Falls.
Fact: those aren't bike lanes. Fact: the trail she's writing about doesn't go to Great Falls. Did she do any research at all?
Instead, we’re talking about cyclists who commute to work or school, and they’re only one percent of American adults.
No, we're talking about people who bike for any reason whatsoever. Some to commute. Some to go to the store. Some aren't even adults. Even recreational cyclists have to get on the road. And something like 50% of Americans will get on a bike at least once this year. So it's far more than 1%. That's a fact.
One “PM” suggests on a bicyclist blog what’s to be done if they don’t get their way
I don't know if GGW is really a bicyclist blog, but I'm not sure we can reference blog comments as representative of any group.
it’s frightening on a dark night to have a cyclist dressed all in black lycra and helmet, only a small tail light visible, suddenly pull out in front of your car
Why is the cyclist "suddenly" pulling out in front of the car? That's not what the commenter suggested and where are they pulling out from.
I’m not enamored of these guys, but I don’t want to hurt them either.
No, of course not. You do want the street to be less safe so that your plumber (or meth customers?) have easy parking though.
Another, more widely copied tactic is something called Critical Mass
No, this is very much a fringe movement and if there is a critical mass ride in Alexandria, I've never heard of it.
Under Chairman Mao, the Chinese got around by bicycle, but now an increasingly middle class Chinese society has ditched its bikes for cars. We, richer than they, are asked to give up cars for bicycles.
Who's asking? Keep your car. But you know all the talk about communism, and Karl Marx and Chairman Mao is funny, since in the end what she's fighting to keep is the right to use public roadway for her parking. Isn't free, government provided parking that's available to all kind of, well, communist?
Cyclist Sarah Goodyear traced the anti-bike sentiment to “the destructive urban renewal policies of the ’50s and ’60s.” The problem, however, is that liberals were on the wrong side of that one as well.
Actually, Goodyear was talking about anti-gentrification sentiment. And I don't think adding bike lanes to King Street has anything to do with gentrification.
Now the same impulse to improve the life of the lower orders can be seen in their dedicated bike lanes. If the lower orders balk at being improved in this way, why we just have to nudge them, don’t we? And until then, it’s our lot that gets to use the bike lanes.
Nope. This is really about helping people to safely get where they want to go on their bike. That's it. No nudging.
Like any respectable religion, the bike community has is martyrs, such as 24-year old Amelie Le Moullac who was struck by a food truck in San Francisco on August 14. Ms. Le Moullac didn’t see the truck’s blinker signaling a right turn and the driver didn’t get into the bike lane to make his turn. Trucks and bicycles are not a happy mix, bike lanes or no. In fact, Ms. Le Moullac would have been better off had there been no bike lane for then she would have been behind the truck rather than on its right.
In fact, we don't know where she would have been. But we do know that bike lanes make people safer. That is a fact. Anecdotes are not data. And she has conveniently left out the fact that the driver was "driving too fast to safely make the turn." The problem in this tragedy is not bike lanes, it's bad driving. Bad drivers and cyclists don't mix, bike lanes or no. But so far the only casualty we have in the "bike lanes war" is a girl who was killed by a bad driver.
Nevertheless, her death is being exploited by the bikers
Pot - kettle - black.
But she saves the truly craziest stuff for the end
Not surprisingly, whenever there’s a really bad idea, you can expect it to be promoted by the United Nations. Bicyclists have thus pointed to the UN’s “Agenda 21,” a land sustainability and development program, as a justification for their plans.
Remember when the UN promoted invading Iraq and spending billions of dollars to kill millions of people all to depose a guy who wasn't doing any of the things he was accused of - oh right, they opposed that idea. So maybe not every bad idea.
And Agenda 21!!!! Really???? What happened to your love of rational discourse?
The Complete Streets movement is comprised of a number of clubs. Some of these, like Critical Mass
The basic Critical Mass philosophy kind of opposes complete streets actually.
My own city of Alexandria will face off against the local bikers at City Hall on November 25. So wish us luck and get organized before they seek to take your parking
FACT: It's NOT YOUR F***ING PARKING! It's a city owned street. You can't have something taken away from you that doesn't belong to you.
get organized before they seek to take your parking and car lanes, increase your property taxes
FACT: It's also not your car lane. And how are they going to increase your property taxes exactly?
If Critical Masser Quintin Mecke is correct in hislament that the younger crowd “has decided to distance itself from the historic roots of its own community in the name of moderation, families on bikes and political expediency,” we have cause to be optimistic for the future.
Fraid not. Those are exactly the people who want bike lanes, along with the majority of your neighbors.