How To Waste Money: Install Bike Lanes, Remove Bike Lanes, Re-Install Bike Lanes

Written by Boston Biker on May 13

I have written before about the absolutely foolish way the Charlestown Neighborhood Council acted when they found out they had gotten some nice bike lanes from the city (1 2 3 4).

At the time I criticized them for over-reacting, acting hastily, wasting money, wasting time, and I predicted that ultimately these lanes would be re-installed because the times are changing and car centric thinking is no longer appropriate for today’s modern cities. What I failed to mention before was that the people of Charlestown are also massively in favor of bike lanes, so having the council remove them didn’t even reflect the will of the people they were supposed to be representing.

Removing the lanes so quickly was the worst possible response that Charlestown could have taken. Heres why.

If Charlestown had stopped to think about it they would have realized that removing the lanes without any community process, wasted a lot of money, and is exactly the kind of thing Charlestown were so upset about in the first place.

They could have said:

“OK we are not happy that we didn’t get a say in installing these lanes, but since we love cyclists so much, and the lanes have been paid for, and we are in the middle of a massive recession, and they are already installed, and we love community process over here, perhaps we will ask the people of Charlestown if they want the lanes before we spend a bunch more money to remove them.” (via)

The many people who went and told them how stupid they were being seemed to have an impact

On Monday night, members of the council’s Basic Services committee OK’d a proposal from city officials to put bike lanes along both sides of Main Street – a decision that was met with applause from the 70 or so residents who turned out for the bike lane meeting. (via the C-town patch)

So to recap, many dollars were spent to install these lanes, a bunch of “mistakes” were made and many more dollars were spent to remove them, and now additional many dollars will be spent to put them back…These might turn out to be the most expensive bike lanes in the history of Boston.

As I am not politically beholden to anyone (the glories of being a blogger) I think I can say what everyone else is afraid to. This was a massive cluster-fuck perpetrated by a very small group of “neighborhood leaders” who in no way reflected the views of the people they were supposed to represent.

They got in a tiff with the city because the city didn’t sufficiently kiss their ass before installing the bike lanes, so instead of thinking rationally and carefully they wasted a bunch of money and time throwing a tantrum. The end result being that not only will the same exact bike lanes be re-installed, but it looks like a whole bunch more bike lanes are going to get installed along with locations for the bike share.

I would hope that when the mayors statement that the “car is no longer king” finally sinks in, and neighborhood leaders start to reflect the will of the people these sort of embarrassing wastes of time and money will become a thing of the past.


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Posted in advocacy, infrastructure, news | 2 Comments »


2 Responses to “How To Waste Money: Install Bike Lanes, Remove Bike Lanes, Re-Install Bike Lanes”

  1. By Ira F. Cummings on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Here here. Reason prevails.

  2. By JJJ on May 14, 2011 | Reply

    Reason may prevail, but not the law. Something is amiss when a small group of people can demand infrastructure be destroyed with no public announcement, and have the work done illegally during night hours.

    They may be the most expensive bike lanes in Boston, but fortunately, paint is cheap compared to everything else. At least they didnt rip up concrete.

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