Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bike Lane Decisions Delayed in Homage to Congress

Mark Twain famously wrote, "Never put off until tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow."

Are we becoming a culture that allows our leaders to avoid making decisions by simply postponing them?  There are things I wish I could postpone and still keep my job and standing in my family.  These things include dental work, cleaning the house, paying my taxes, and taking the dog out when it's raining after I have blow-dried my hair.

Apparently Congress failed to see the irony and wit of Mark Twain as we learned tonight.  But, as Americans, we expect bad behavior on the part of Congress. We do not expect it of the Area Neighborhood Advisory Commissions charged with deciding whether streets should have bike lanes.  Yet, that is exactly what ANC 3D did when it postponed a decision about whether or not to allow bike lanes to be added to New Mexico Avenue.  New Mexico Avenue is a major diagonal thoroughfare in Washington, DC that links downtown with the campus of American University.

Did something like this 3D punt also happen on Capital Hill?  Not under the gleaming dome of the Capitol, but in some sort of poorly attended neighborhood meeting?  How else can you explain the fact that the bike lanes near Union Station suddenly end on Massachusetts Avenue at the exact spot where hundreds of taxis engage in a wild ballet of lane changes?

Now this is not as bad as what happened in India, where the City of Kolkata has banned bikes altogether.
Isn't that like banning mirth, giggles, or kittens?  Or telling people they cannot get to work by any other means than driving.  The depravity, the venality, the foolishness of it all.

While Congress and ANC 3D avoided making decisions in a timely manner this week, the bike movement kept calm and carried on.
New York debated adding bike lanes to Amsterdam Avenue.
In Iowa, the press covered problems associated with bike lanes in Cedar Rapids.
In Phoenix they have added green lanes for bikes.
Memphis considered crowd-sourcing the last bit of cost for bike lanes.
And Tampa Bay decided to dedicate bike lanes after a cyclist was killed on a causeway.
So while Congress and ANC 3D find themselves on the wrong side of history, ordinary Americans rode forward to a more sustainable future.  Perhaps the Mayor of Kolkata, along with certain elements in Congress, and the members of ANC 3D, will find themselves in search of a new job as progress continues to . . . well, progress.

If I see you in the bike lanes tomorrow, because you have been told to go back to work after a ridiculous two week furlough, let's be smug, but let's never forget this madness.
Elisa P.

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