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Why are Bicyclists Being Targeted by Congress?

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 08:33 AM
Original message
Why are Bicyclists Being Targeted by Congress?

from OnTheCommons.org:



Why are Bicyclists Being Targeted by Congress?
Minneapolis' rise as America's top bike city owes a lot to federal programs

By Jay Walljasper



About one-third of Minneapolis bike commuters ride at least some days during the winter. And a higher than average number of local cyclists are women. (Credit: Low under a Creative Commons license from flickr.com)


The commons is under attack in Washington, D.C..

Theres nothing new about that what belongs to all of us from the environment to public services have been continually threatened over the past two yearsbut the latest target comes as a complete surprise: bikers and pedestrians.

What in the world could be less controversial than biking and walking? Theyre good exercise, fun to do andas an alternative to driving everywherehelp us save money and the environment.

Both activities have recently become potent symbols of the commons; when I ask people at meetings to name a favorite commons in their community, bikepaths, sidewalks and trails are often mentioned. Biking and walking are on the upswing for transportation and recreation today, thanks in large part to a recent flowering of federally-funded trails, bikeways and pathways that make getting around on two wheels and two feet safer and more convenient. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://onthecommons.org/why-are-bicyclists-being-target...



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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
1. Right-wing media portray bike paths, etc. as playthings for yuppies as opposed
to what I see in real life in Minneapolis: young people (and a few older people) with low-paying jobs or no jobs who use their bikes as their primary means of transportation.

Not that your typical suburban right-wing radio listener would ever venture into the Cities if he could help it: might have to see some people who aren't like him.
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nxylas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-29-11 07:49 PM
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2. I guess they don't use enough oil from Flint Hill Resources
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, just like Rand Paul.
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Vogon_Glory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-31-11 03:08 PM
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3. Bike Paths Run Against Right-Wing Subtext Suburbs Good Center Cities Bad
I'm convinced that part of the right wing's opposition to bike paths stems from the same source as their hostility to mass transit. A LOT of right-wingers SERIOUSLY believe that suburbs and exurbs are good places, but all (Or almost all) big cities are fundamentally bad.

Bike paths run contrary to right-wing thinking in a lot of surprising ways. Despite the ideological back-flip right-wingers made about "big government"-funded roads and streets, right-wing hostility to separate bike paths still exists. I suspect that right-wingers also stereotype cyclists as all being hippies or, worse yet, of being poor.

Moreover, I think the specter of ordinary cyclists makes right-wingers nervous because it challenges some of the base portions of their narrative. Streams of commuting cyclists remind right-wingers in the back of their minds that oil may not remain as cheap as it is now and that someday the Chinese or other economic rivals may have the means to pay for it--and the US won't. Streams of commuting cyclists makes the income gap look more apparent; not only are fewer people likely to be able to afford fancy cars should the Teab@gger agenda become fact, but even fewer will be able to have cars at all. Moreover, even us lazy part-time or not-right-now cyclists know, big-city cyclists are by and large NOT going to make the lengthy, time-consuming, and often dangerous big pedal out to those fancy exurban shopping malls favored by right-wing Republican campaign donors, particularly when such malls lack such basic amenities as a bike rack where shopping cyclists can lock their expensive bikes.
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nxylas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-02-11 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. But they also revere small towns
The way to sell smart growth/new urbanism to conservatives is by pushing the narrative that it will make urban life more like Mayberry.
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Vogon_Glory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-04-11 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. They May Revere Small Towns In Theory But In Practice
"Conservatives" may revere small towns in theory but when they're given a chance to actually govern them, they tend to act like the former mayor of Wasilla, AK--they gut any zoning laws left by their predecessors, they shoot down historic district legislation left by their predecessors, and they tend to be careless with their constituents' money.

I've driven through all too many small Texas towns that fit that pattern (near-direct rail passenger service to where I'm going has been gone for 40+ years).
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Vogon_Glory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-04-11 08:54 PM
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6. I'm Not Sure You Can Sell All That Many Of Them On New Urbanism
I'm not sure you can sell many of them on the idea of new urbanism, despite the fact that many of the graying right-wingers would be the ones that would benefit from it. Some of the right-wingers I've clashed with have written off ENTIRE center cities as slum areas (DESPITE gentrification!!!!)(Despite neighborhood renewal!!!). They see center cities as parasitic entities inhabited by uneducated, criminal-minded non-Aryans sucking the life blood and tax dollars of richer suburbs and exurbs and the notion that their model may be faulty can't make it through their thick, bony craniums.

The Radical Right's urban paradigm is based in the idea of always-cheap petroleum and economic models that are already fraying as energy prices go up and that cheap oil is disappearing from the market.

What's ironic is that these birds claim to be pro-capitalist, pro-private sector, yet seem to have a tenuous (at best) grasp of macro-economics and how things tie together.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-02-11 12:35 PM
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7. Bicycling doesn't fuel the economy in the same way that auto travel does.
Bikes don't need the constant injection of gasoline and don't generate the gas tax revenues. Bikes aren't complex products with high maintenance costs or quick obsolescence like cars. Bikes don't wear out the asphalt at the same rate per passenger mile. Bikes also don't allow for the hauling of lots of goods and that probably cuts impulse buying. (Bike riders probably don't spend as much on gym memberships either :P )

Gotta go now. The two wheels are calling me. :)
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