Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on June 10th, 2010 at 1:22 pm
and Andy Clarke from the League
of American Bicyclists in June 2006.
(Photo © J. Maus)
As Vancouver residents and advocates work to save that city’s Bike Program from the budget chopping block, The Columbian newspaper says now’s just not a good time to ask.
In an “In our view” op-ed published yesterday, The Columbian pointed out that Vancouver is already a bike-friendly city, but “not as bike-friendly as many bicyclists would like.” They lauded recent activism at City Council and acknowledged that “funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements in Vancouver remains scarce and in most cases scattered among piecemeal expenditures,” but, they added:
“… despite the noble cause they’re pursuing, local bicyclists should acknowledge that now is one of the worst times — perhaps the worst time — to expect local politicians to free up funding.”
The Columbian feels that investing in biking doesn’t even rank in the top 10 of things Clark County should be doing. “Nor do bicycling infrastructure improvements rank high among the city of Vancouver’s priorities.”
Perhaps sometime after the “Great Recession” is over it’d be a better time to ask?
That opinion has not stopped advocates from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Vanouver’s Bike Me! from mobilizing forces. BTA Advocacy Manager Gerik Kransky is urging people to write letters to the Mayor and council members, stating that funding for projects that improve bike infrastructure is “a critical way for Vancouver to meet its growing demand for mobility while dealing with budget shortfalls.” He’s asking council to put $200,000 it currently has set aside for project cost overruns into the Bike Program.
One thing to keep in mind for both sides of this issue: We’re talking about infrastructure that allows people to move around in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible. Think of it as transportation infrastructure, not “bike infrastructure.”
The League of American Bicyclists awarded Vancouver a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community Award back in 2006. If their elected officials don’t find the money to keep the Bike Program alive, a League rep says Vancouver would be the first city in America to earn such an award and then eliminate dedicated bike funding.
Let’s hope Vancouver doesn’t earn that distinction.