This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lucky Stars

Right now I am counting mine.  
 As I have mentioned several times on these pages, I live in a small community which rivals Portland for it's cycling community and infrastructure.  We have a Mayor here in Kalamazoo
who is an enthusiast, a county road commission which not only invites cyclists to their planning meetings, they solicit road criticism from us. The two cities (Portage and Kalamazoo) comprising the majority of the 350k population have put bike lanes on every street where they can fit, and have a network of designated bike routes throughout the residential areas. 
Indoor parking is provided in parking garages,
 bike lockers are available for rent in strategic locations in town.

Top that off with over 50 miles of off-road, paved trails

 and we have reached a level of accommodation for cyclists that most cities are just thinking of planning.
I feel protected and good about this because I was just sent an e-mail from the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission which provided an Analysis of the new Transportation bill from America Bikes.
Things do not look good.
To grossly oversimplify, we can expect a 33-66% reduction in funding for new and existing projects concerning non-motorized traffic.  To make matters worse, the bill will allow state and local governments to divert those funds they feel necessary for other maintenance and development projects.
In other words, the politicians have chosen to use what funds are available to subsidized a behavior most people shouldn't afford and discourage one that is far more beneficial.
This is a case of politically misguided austerity.  While I (as a taxpayer) welcome the reduction in public spending at this time, I have to protest that the idiots we put in office are once again pandering to the short-term desires of the voters rather than promoting better social behavior.  It's not unusual of course.  The government has been developing the auto and petroleum industries for decades by hiding the cost of roads in the general tax revenues and providing tax incentives to oil producers to keep the price at the pump as low as possible.  Why?  It ensures votes for their short term careers.  Voters would never support the idea of paying tolls for their actual use of highways, and certainly don't want Exxon Mobile to pay the same taxes domestically as they do overseas, where gasoline is twice the price at the pump.  So they let us wallow around thinking that driving is cheaper than it is and hide the cost in deficit spending and out-of-balance budgets which don't get resolved.
The analysis provided by America Bikes stresses the need for education through advocacy.  It's a time when cyclists must defend themselves by staying on top of their local government allocations and consistently influence their local politicians to prevent the diversion of funds.

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