Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why conservatives should like bikes

I think cyclists get annoyed when they read conservative opposition to bike lanes and paths because biking is essentially a conservative activity:

--Self-reliant? check.
--Not dependent on government operating subsidies? check.
--Thrifty and frugal? check.
--Reduces dependence on foreign oil? check.
--Utilizes existing capacity on existing roads? check.

Our current transportation system is extremely inefficient. Single-occupant cars clog the roadways at rush hour, wasting everyone's time, and creating the need for roads to be re-built with more lanes to accommodate the peak traffic volumes. However, those extra lanes are wide open at all other times of day. Transportation economists consider that an inefficient use of a public good. In fact, if you think about the amount of government spending on roads, you could say that single-occupant cars at rush hour are the beneficiaries of massive governmental spending programs.

The Milwaukee bike plan doesn't make that point. It simply wants to offer options so that people might actually choose to bike because it would be safe and easy to do so. As one of the commenters on the MacIver blog pointed out, the plan is not taking away anyone's option to drive, or even making it more expensive to do so. All the plan is asking for is a measly $450,000 annual allocation from the City tax rolls for maintenance of bike infrastructure and new projects. (In 2009, the City of Milwaukee budgeted more than $74 million for streets, alleys, sidewalks, and bridges).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Meeting this Thursday, September 16

The WBA is having its next meeting this Thursday at 7:00 at Cyclesmith. All are welcome to come. On the agenda:

Old Business
  • Update on downtown bike racks--locations for BID racks
  • Update on artistic bike rack design project--funding questions
  • Update on Brookfield-Waukesha Trail
  • Update on mountain bike trails
New Business
  • Becoming a 501 (c) 3 organization
  • Discuss fundraising ideas
  • Hear about the West Waukesha Bypass project--where is the project at?
  • Carroll University meeting on becoming a bicycle-friendly community
  • Developing informational brochure/materials to hand out at events
We'll have guacamole and chips and something to drink for attendees.

Pedal the Kettle

The Spinners' annual ride through the Kettle Moraine is this Sunday. Pick your distance: 35, 64, or 103 miles of rolling hills in rural Waukesha and Jefferson Counties. The weather is almost always lovely. Sunday's forecast looks good.

This year the ride starts and ends at the UW-Waukesha Campus, 1500 N. University Drive, Waukesha, WI. In my experience, it's best to arrive between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Cost: $30