03 October 2006

More bike trails, mixed feelings

For now [well, indefinitely] I'll just say that I have mixed feelings about all of the state grants that have been awarded for the construction of bike trails in Illinois. On one hand, yay! I know that some of these projects have been floating around in funding limbo for some time. On the other hand, is the construction of yet more designated bike/pedestrian routes really the best way to solve the problem? For that matter, what is the problem? Is it possible that the money could be better spent on making streets and roadways safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, instead of on building more and more "alternate" routes for "alternate" modes of transportation? Or am I just being a badass bike snob again?

Edit: Nice to know I'm not the only cyclist who feels this way.
From DJWriter:
The Bike Path Trojan Horse

Pertinent links:
Gov. Blagojevich awards $1.2 million in bicycle path grants to northern Illinois
Gov. Blagojevich awards $1.3 million in bicycle path grants to downstate Illinois
League [of American Bicyclists] responds to auto dealers' analysis of fatalities

Notable quotes:
"These projects will help to build on Illinois’ already impressive trail system. Not only will the grants improve the quality of life for residents in communities that are getting new trails or updating existing trails, they’ll also help make the communities even more attractive to visitors." -IL Gov. Rod Blagojevich

"In countries such as Sweden and Germany--both notable for their successful international car brands--cities enjoy ten times the levels of bicycling of their U.S. counterparts and have far fewer crashes and injuries per mile traveled. Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians successfully coexist, sharing streets and public space with respect and care for each others rights. Bicyclists and pedestrians are not shoved to the side on second-class 'off-pavement areas' for the convenience of motorists." -Andy Clarke, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists

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