June 15, 2011

"The nation's first federally funded bicycle 'freeway.'"

"The last mile, through downtown [Minneapolis], was ready May 23 and was by far the most expensive leg at $9 million, more than five times the cost of the first 3 1/2 miles."

Sounds lovely, but why does the federal government fund municipal improvements like this?
"The last extension was pricey, with retaining walls [and] private property owners, and it was full of political hurdles, but I think the city's very proud of it, and I know we've saved lives," said David Klopp of the CLPA. "I don't think it's safe to put cars, trucks and bicycles on the same road."...

Charlotte Zelle, 19, of Minneapolis, pedaled to the ceremony with her father, and said of the trail: "I think it's beautiful, and I don't feel endangered by cars."
So... you'd like us to bike, but you're sending the message that it's not safe to bike along with cars and trucks. How are we supposed to get to the trail or use it to commute or see the city? Either we can ride with motorized traffic or we can't.

That said, I love bike trails, and I'm a frequent user of Madison trails that have received plenty of federal funding.

46 comments:

Curious George said...

"Sounds lovely, but why does the federal government fund municipal improvements like this?"

Because then it's free! Duh.

Joaquin said...

So what about all those "SHARE THE ROAD " signs?

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://i.zdnet.com/blogs/share-the-road.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/how-open-will-verizon-get/1744&usg=__ySCLSTNURzuadEEceOs6aD_Ap0Y=&h=234&w=240&sz=17&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=Cl-KPjx-lzUqKM:&tbnh=143&tbnw=147&ei=pKn4Tf7VHs6u0AGvo5zoDw&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dshare%2Bthe%2Broad%2Bsign%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D1295%26bih%3D639%26gbv%3D2%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=958&vpy=308&dur=2714&hovh=187&hovw=192&tx=83&ty=211&page=1&ndsp=22&ved=1t:429,r:13,s:0&biw=1295&bih=639

Hagar said...

Tax the poor to fund recreational hobbies for the rich!

Paddy O said...

There was the Pasadena to Los Angeles "cycleway back in the late 1800s to early 1900s. But I can't find if it received any federally funding.

MadisonMan said...

I don't feel endangered by cars

Well, look at you! All safe because of the Government!

Scott M said...

After mothballing my bike for years, I've recently pulled it out to refurbish everything and I'm planning on getting the wife a new one. In this, I agree with AA that bike paths are sliced bread. However, I would like to know why the federal government is funding these things. Don't they have bridges to maintain? How can you make a claim that we need more money to support a crumbling infrastructure when projects like these receive DC dollars?

Shouting Thomas said...

You get there by loading the bike up on a rack on the tail end of your car.

I'm going for a 25 mile ride today.

Pogo said...

"...but why does the federal government fund municipal improvements like this?"

In the religion of Socialism, bicycles are the hairshirts of the devout.

Modern monks don the Blessed Helmet of EarthLove, and ride their two-wheeled crosses to work and play.

Not just a way to get from point A to point B, each mile biked is a prayer, an indulgence, bringing one nearer to Utopia.

The higher the level of State funding, the greater the proof of devotion.

Ah, if only the UN could pay for it.

Jay said...

but why does the federal government fund municipal improvements like this?


So Congressman can go back to their district and pretend they are "bringing home the bacon"

Fred4Pres said...

These things would be far cheaper if they learned that bikes and motorized vehicles really do not mix well. A narrow bike path could have been weaved into the city on secondary roads. And we are talking Minneapolis, where this is functional for only part the year anyway. A suburban smaller path can double for cross country skiing in the winter.

MarkG said...

Somebody's going to spend all that tax money (you're not getting a refund). Might as well fight for something you want.

I spent a month in Madison this spring. The bike route in from the West Side (Old Sauk/Middleton) suck! Someone in Madison needs to start word-smithing some bullshit to get federal dollars to fix it.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Two of the worst crashes I had was on a bike/walk trail and in a city park. Moron walking her dog let the mutt stray right into my path and I ended up with $90 bike shorts shredded and a bent wheel.

Then in the park was passing another cyclist and despite calling out on you left, he promptly turns left to do a u turn. Smacked into him doing 23mph, ass over tit and end up with a broken arm, two fingers and 7 stitches over my eye.

All that said, ill still opt for bike trails to commute to work.

DADvocate said...

I ride the country back roads. I do feel endangered by cars and trucks. I wear a helmet and get over as far as possible when one comes by. It'd be great of more people could ride bikes to work, school, etc, but not at this price.

Henry said...

As a regular biker/walker I only ask that bridges have access for bikes and pedestrians. I like the rails to biketrails trend (I assume it's reasonably affordable) but in the city I'm willing to make do with sharing the road.

Shouting Thomas said...

In the religion of Socialism, bicycles are the hairshirts of the devout.

Probably, but there is also the old fart thing. All the old farts I know take up riding to try to defeat the decaying of their bodies.

Bicycling takes off weight and doesn't put a lot of stress on knee and ankle joints.

But, don't worry, I'll ride my bicycle this morning, then I'll don my badass leathers and ride my Harley this afternoon.

Lincolntf said...

Yup, that's Libs/Gov't in action. Hysterically complain that the basic needs of Americans are being unmet in every corner of the country, and then declare just as passionately that bike trails are where we NEED to spend money. Sorry poor folks, but this is special money, for special people whose recreation trumps your hunger.

LakeLevel said...

"why does the federal government fund municipal improvements like this?"

because of global warming. In the mean time, we are on the edge of catastrophic global cooling.

Hoosier Daddy said...

As for using Fed funds, Im not opposed to infrastructure investments. I'd rather see tax money spent on bike paths versus padding the coffers of Goldman Sachs or Big Unions.

More tax dollars for bike paths means more bike commuting, less cars on the road, less gas consumption, less money for OPEC, cleaner air and good exercise. From the looks of those protestors, more bike paths and less brats and cheetos would be good for Wisconsin.

Jim said...

Bikes are only a hairshirt environmental thing if you're a hairshirt environmentalist. I ride because it's fun to ride, fit into my pants, and to destress from work before I get home. And if it's going to take me an hour to drive to work, might as well get out of my box and spend the hour riding to work, and cancel the gym membership. As for bikes & cars not mixing, they're fine if both rider & driver are halfway considerate. Cyclist keeps to the right and obeys the laws, car yields right of way where it's necessary - which shouldn't be all that often if the cyclist is riding properly. I ride a lot in and around D.C. and urban traffic isn't a problem; I'm not a big fan of the bike lanes because a lot of cyclists get hit at intersections in those lanes, they don't seem to integrate well with natural traffic flow.

k*thy said...

Well, look at you! All safe because of the Government!

:)

Scott M said...

And if it's going to take me an hour to drive to work, might as well get out of my box and spend the hour riding to work

I have a 37 mile commute that takes approximately an hour in rush hour traffic. I would dearly love to find a subspace wormhole that would allow me to ride that on in a bike in approximately the same hour.

Peter said...

While it's not always possible to ride on a bicycle trail, it's often a pleasure to do so.

BUT, at $9 million per mile, the per-mile cost is within ten percento of the per-mile cost of that Milwaukee-Madison train.

kcom said...

Beware if you ride a motorcycle in Wisconsin

Motorcyclist dies after crashing into wolf

k*thy said...

On a more serious note, I bike commute - I do it, primarily, for the exercise and the fresh air..and because I can. I don't mind riding the roads, but I pick them carefully. I do enjoy appreciate the trails in Madison and Dane County - they provide, generally, a safer, quieter and more predictable ride. I can see the value to downtown Minneapolis - it's linking other routes through some pretty harrowing downtown streets.

MadisonMan said...

I also bike commute, partly down a bike path (The SW Bike Path in Madison), partly through the worst intersection in Madison (Regent/Monroe).

I've had meetings out near West Towne, and have biked out there on Mineral Point and Odana at Rush Hour -- that was no fun, I don't like the hill right after Whitney Way on Mineral Pt -- but drivers in Madison expect to see bikers, and I'm pretty visible. I've never felt endangered by cars.

Bike Commuting is a great way to forget about the stress of work and to burn a few calories as well.

hoyden said...

I ride this bike trail almost every day as part of my 30 mile route. The trail was expensive and it is a critical segment that needed doing. I think the trail is one of the better ways the government wastes our money. The bike trails help make living in a Socialist Paradise palatable.

If you like trains you can follow them between control point Cedar Lake and C.P. Stadium. There are numerous photo locations for observing freight and passenger operations without having to trespass on the ROW.

Brennan said...

The feds are paying because they have a near unlimited capacity to borrow from the future.

Of course, any municipality could just float tax exempt bonds to finance these projects. Heck. Those filthy stinking rich fat cats might buy them. But they choose not to.

E.M. Davis said...

Would it make sense for Trek or Cannondale or Gary Fisher to help provide funds for bike trails across the country? Perhaps they already do, but would you be okay with a sponsored bike trail? I mean, maybe there's signage every 3 miles with a Nike logo on it or something ... does that defeat the purpose?

Brennan said...

Other funding mechanisms.
- Tax on bicycle sales
- Tax on bicycle tuneups
- coin operated air stations along the routes

bagoh20 said...

I love me a nice bike path, but if only we who used them paid for them we could each save money by buying a Ferrari instead. I don't know the answer, but I feel it hypocritical to be for smaller government and support this kind of Federal spending, so I love them, but don't support any needing Federal funding. Of course, if I find one I will enjoy it, just like if a young groupie were to mistake me for a aged rock star, I will let it slide.

WaitingToBuy said...

The reason the federal government funds everything and regulates everything is that the States refused to do anything, claiming money problems, in the 60's and 70's when activists started ranting that corporations were poisening our water, making dangerous toys and cars and everything else. The States pointed to the Fed and said, if you want it, ask them. So it began...

bagoh20 said...

I wonder how much would be collected by a voluntary donation box on the trail, and why don't public works all have these. You visit a place and say this is great and throw a few bucks into the box.

Then again collecting the money would be government job with high pay, benefits and low productivity, and as such would probably cost more than collected. You know it's true. A government worker couldn't walk around picking up free money and do at a profit.

Original Mike said...

Minneapolis, huh? Is it enclosed for the winter?

Brennan said...

These activists aren't very smart. They should build a bank for to fund their works. Turn 1 dollar in donations into 10 dollars in loans.

I think they might prefer politicians to be their bankers.

edutcher said...

What Jay said.

And besides, MN may be one of the few states Little Zero carries next year.

Phil 3:14 said...

A question and a comment.

-Did then Gov Pawlenty have anything to do with seeking/getting the federal funds?

-As China rises it sees more of its citizens abandon their bikes for cars. Are we going in the opposite direction?

Hagar said...

bagoh20,
A Ferrari probably is an exaggeration in the "30 square miles" of Madison, WI, down in the flatlands, though you probably could get a base 911 for the amount of money spent per adult cyclist.
Here in Albuquerque, with ~2,000 ft. elevation difference between the low end of the valley and the top subdivisions in the foothills, we quite likely could have bought each adult cyclist a Ferrari.

However, you have to treat everybody equally, and if Madison gets bicycle lanes and trails, etc., so do we.

The City Engineer some years ago told me he was going east on I-40 one day and saw a rider on the parallel bicycle trail, so he pulled over and took a picture for evidence that, yes, somebody was using it.

Lincolntf said...

No, we're not headed in the opposite direction from China. Bicycles in this country are an amusement, an affectation, or an exercise plan. We're not transitioning to a early 20th Century transportation model, no matter how much the ATM-ophobic Luddites might like that.

wv: horse
Another, greener, transportation option?

Hagar said...

One word
Horseshit!

AllenS said...

Big dilemma in the greater Minneapolis area, is whether or not the Vikings are going to get a new stadium. If you think that the last mile of the bike path was expensive, wait until you see what it will eventually cost to build a stadium.

Scott M said...

Admittedly, though Allen, we have to actually have a football season first. It pains me to see the best-run, most entertaining professional sports league in the world go through problems like this.

AllenS said...

Scott,

Both the owners and the players say: "Hey, there's no way to beat the Packers this year, so let's just shut them down."

True story. Well, I did get it in an email this morning.

Seriously, just think about it. One mile of a fucking bike path cost 9 million dollars.

Lincolntf said...

Even in MA, we managed to build a state-of-the-art stadium without public funds (though there were various related road/highway projects that cost taxpayer $). If an owner can do it in MA, one can do it in MN.

Methadras said...

God, what a scam. We are drowning in debt and all these leftard buffoons can think of is making a bicycle free that takes you to the Mississippi? 9 million per mile for a bike path? And people wonder why federally sanctioned hammers and toilets that cost a small mint, I can get at a home depot for about $30? Anything government touches become a big, fat, bloated obese pig, just like itself. We are fucked as a country when things like this happen and there really is no end in sight. Someone prove me wrong. Please.

jim said...

Yes, Minneapolis' federally-funded bike ways DO make you safe from those evil cars, but they do make you prey to the obama voters in certain adjacent neighborhoods:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/minnesota/515854-greenway-bike-path-robberies.html

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