November 18, 2013

"Madison committee to consider paying employees to bike to work."

Ha. That's very funny to me because just this morning, as Meade was driving me to work, we were observing the people on bikes and I said, "It's almost all young white males. All these bike lanes and other amenities, paid for with our tax money? It's almost all for white males. Oh, how it would pain Madison liberals to admit it!"

And now, here are these Madison liberals planning to give cold cash money to the white males.
The Sustainable Madison Committee will begin a discussion Monday on the potential for reimbursing city employees for giving up their parking spots in favor of biking, walking or taking a bus to work.
Oh, it's only for giving up your parking space? Then I guess you collect even if you've got a husband who drives you in, so it's not just about biking.
[T]he idea makes fiscal sense because the city provides employees with parking spaces that could command market prices, providing cash that could provide employees with an incentive to bike — or walk or bus — as well as give the city additional revenue.
At the university, we're expected to pay for parking spaces, so anyone — like me — who forgoes parking gets an economic benefit. If city workers get free parking, then why not let each worker collect the value of the space he gives up? But they're not just saying that.
"You create a system where you as an employer encourage folks to be healthier, and therefore they're more productive at work," [says Tom Klein, Dane County director of the Bike Federation of Wisconsin]. "Research suggests they take fewer sick days than people who don't bike or walk to work."
Some folks are just older or have pre-existing conditions and cannot bike. You're advocating discriminating against them? And what of those who have children that they need to drop off at day care on the way to work and pick up on the way home? What of those with family responsibilities who need to do errands and shop for food? It's easy for young, healthy, single people to think it's great to nudge others to ride bikes to work, but there are good reasons to drive cars, especially in a cold climate. When I first arrived in Madison, I biked to work. But the first day there was ice, the first time I braked, I instantly hit the pavement. There's no way anyone but the strongest, least risk-averse youths can bike year 'round. To pay money to those who do discriminates against women, parents, the un-young, the disabled, and the careful.

It's sexist, ageist, ableist, and ridiculous.

88 comments:

Sigivald said...

It's sexist, ageist, ableist, and ridiculous.

Welcome to Madison?

RazorSharpSundries said...

Resident Fargo commenter concurs.

rhhardin said...

You want as few bicycles as possible if you're a bicyclist.

Drivers are friendly if you're the first bicyclist they've seen, but not if you're the twentieth.

Irene said...

The proposed policy also discriminates against people who don't live within a biking distance. Oh, that's okay; those folks are part of the suburban sprawl problem.

rehajm said...

It also discriminates against anyone who chose to live close enough to work so they can walk. Shouldn't you be providing subsidies to walkers for shoes, boots and winter attire?

To walkers, bikers are a methane spewing menace...

jr565 said...

While I have no problem with bike riding I do with liberals making it a liberal cause to bike ride to save the world. LIberal men really come across as so fey and metrosexual.

I almost feel embarrased when riding a bike as I'm afraid I will be judged as the self same metrosexual. I'll almost not wear a helmet just to show I"m not one of THOSE bike riders.
But that would be dangerous.

Sam L. said...

Raaaaacist, too! Insufficient #s of minority participation is a SURE SIGN of raaaaacism.

n.n said...

It's sexist, ageist, ableist, and ridiculous.

This reminds me of a Jackie Chiles remark.

Life is like a Seinfeld episode. A story about something which turns out to be nothing. I wonder who is planting these thoughts.

MadisonMan said...

Why not just charge more for parking?

I won't bike when there's ice on the ground for the very reason you state. I've never fallen -- except the one time a pedestrian walked right in front of me. And I'm not at the right age to start falling on ice.

John said...

Well Madison is officially the most racist city in the US. Why should you be surprised that blacks are not allowed to use the bike lanes?

"The most racist city in the U.S.?

Sarah Blaskey and Phil Gasper report on a new study that shows the pernicious effects of racism as it afflicts African Americans in liberal Madison, Wis.
October 31, 2013

MADISON, WIS., has a reputation as one of the most liberal cities in the country. It is also possibly the most racially unequal."
Snip


It's the Socialist Worker so we know it is right.

http://socialistworker.org/2013/10/31/most-racist-city-in-the-us

John Henry

bandmeeting said...

I guess both black residents of Madison--UW athletes notwithstanding--don't ride much.

Original Mike said...

"...giving up your parking space?"

Giving up their parking space? I don't know about city workers, but the "privilege" of a UW parking space will cost you up to $1k/yr.

m stone said...

Pretty damning article, John Henry.

m stone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Ellison said...

Are there any non-white humans in Madison?

Bob Ellison said...

Sorry: meant to say "any non-white male humans in Madison?"

The midwest tends to think of itself as masculine and feminine big-time, yet the males are often posers and the females, wishers.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Maybe the game is to kill off the young white males by putting them on bicycles in traffic.

jimbino said...

All those skateboard parks are for young, white males. And the national parks and forests are for white folks, as are the public universities.

Obamacare will even the score, stealing the young male's wealth and sending it off to subsidize breeding women and old folks.

mccullough said...

Nov. 18 is a bit late in the year to still ride a bike in the Midwest.

James said...

You can console yourself that its even worse in Chicago. Since taking office Rahm Emanuel has spent countless millions installing bike lanes in downtown Chicago ostensibly to attract tech industry types (males mostly).

Last summer he started up the Divvy Bike program and then recently announced that it will now run run year-round. I'm just surprised that none of the Divvy Bikers have been killed yet.

There have already been a few lawsuits from some residents who don't want the Divvy Bike stations outside their apartment buildings.

Condo residents sue over Divvy bike station

"David Kolin and his wife, Jeannine Cordero, learned Tuesday that the area in front of their North Side condo building soon would be home to a Divvy bike-sharing station, one of hundreds the Chicago Department of Transportation is installing across the city.

The station, which can hold up to 15 of the baby-blue rental bikes, opened Wednesday near Addison Street and Pine Grove Avenue. But the three-unit building's condo association, of which Kolin is president, on Wednesday asked a Cook County judge to stop the station from becoming a fixture in front of their home."

BTW, David Kolin is a Skadden Arps partner and his wife is also an attorney.

Carol said...

I've put a lot of miles on a bike and commuted to work on one, but ya know you get over 60 or so and realize that one little brain fart and you're in a wreck. And I'm pretty gutsy in traffic, know the rules, know how to make a left turn in busy intersections but I do not want to tempt fate anymore. The more miles, the more likely the mishap.

The bike advocates are crazy to think they can get a significant number to bike instead of drive.


Glenn Howes said...

When I was a graduate student in Madison, I'd bike all year long except days when the streets needed plowing. And, of course, there was no parking at all for students.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Its also classist. How can a tradesman or anyone who uses their own tools at work possibly ride, walk or bus to work?

Typical elitist.

BigFire said...

You know this isn't a bad idea for where I live (Los Angeles). For places that snows, very bad idea.

Meade said...

Four wheels good, two wheels better.

Hagar said...

Of course it is.

Terry said...

"Research suggests they take fewer sick days than people who don't bike or walk to work."
Correlation != causation. Don't the humanities teach logic and reasoning anymore?

James wrote:"There have already been a few lawsuits from some residents who don't want the Divvy Bike stations outside their apartment buildings."

I swear this is true - there are many people, in business as well as politics, who believe that unless you are pissing off a lot of people you aren't being innovative enough.
God help you if you have a boss or a political leader who embraces that philosophy. It's daring! It grabs headlines! IT DOES NO ONE ANY GOOD OTHER THAN THEM.

Hagar said...

and we are talking about very large amounts of taxpayers' money here.

MadisonMan said...

It's dark now at 4:30 if it's cloudy (and this being November, it's always cloudy). I have lights on my bike (and, of course, the city sank big bucks into lighting the bike bath so affluent white people could bike in the light -- though I see zero difference in traffic when I'm biking home at 9 PM this year -- lit -- vs. last year -- unlit).

It's unsettling to bike in the dark. Sure, you can used to it. But it's a lot easier to walk (for me -- I chose my house to be close to where I work).

CWJ said...

Such a target rich article and blog post. But most people have already hit them.

I'll just say that a parking space only has economic value if someone is willing to pay to park in it. Unless there are more employees than spaces provided, giving up your space frees up no economic value whatsoever.

Nonetheless, I'm sure ART ROSS!, pedestrian bicycle coordinator (does he get to wear a cape with his uniform?) Is in top of the details.

William said...

It could be that the white males are the trendsetters in this mode of transportation. It's theoretically possible that white males could be hip and trendy in some area of human activity.

Seeing Red said...

Bike lanes are sexist and racist!

Seeing Red said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob R said...

Sorry. Both sides should just STFU. It's a parking space. A piece of real estate. Charge for it or give it as a benefit and compensate those who don't use it. Doesn't matter. Stop trying to justify simple economic transactions as a matter of moral suignficance. Just stop. Shut Your Pie Holes.

Carl said...

Damn. The plot has been uncovered, comrades. Let us hope she doesn't also find out the sexual revolution was just a giant young white male con to score no-strings pussy. Could get ugly!

Titus said...

I just watched the Moms Mabley Documetary on HBO and loved it long time...sucky sucky. She was a major dyke and came out in the 60's and was respected by BLACK peeps, amazing.

I love her XXX humor too.

She liked to dress as a man.

tits.

Titus said...

And Liz Cheney a a major piece of shit who is going to lose big time...thank god.

Sorun said...

"...of course, the city sank big bucks into lighting the bike bath so affluent white people could bike in the light"

I live near a brand new stretch of bike path in far west Madison. It's got lights. I think they're standard equipment now.

Sorun said...

"Bike lanes are sexist and racist!"

The solution, of course, is for the government to give away ObamaBikes.

Sorun said...

The smart people within a few miles of campus ride a scooter.

ALP said...

"It's almost all young white males. All these bike lanes and other amenities, paid for with our tax money? It's almost all for white males. Oh, how it would pain Madison liberals to admit it!"
****************
I have slogged through numerous bike "master plans" issued by numerous US cities. All plans include demographic data on those attending public meetings, in addition to completing relevant surveys, etc.

Have yet to run across a single city issuing these things that shows anything BUT white males participating in this process. So its not just Madison...its across the US.

El Pollo Raylan said...

I used to bike to campus every day from Middleton, weather permitting. When it snowed, I skied in. All without subsidy. And yes, I am a white male.

Broomhandle said...

As I've observed before, be it bike lanes, assault rifles, or gay marriage, the middle-class white male still gets what he wants in America.

Michael K said...

Did you miss the latest Wisconsin scandal ? Or is it too late. ?

Broomhandle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
El Pollo Raylan said...

So why don't women bike more?
Is it a taint-size issue?

Alex said...

In Soviet Madison, we have our dogs bike to work.

R. Chatt said...

You have to have a high level of egotism and confidence in your physical prowess to compete in an environment on two wheels when your adversary is most cases has four or more wheels.

That excludes most women. As for men of color, as they say, they know better than to let themselves be run off the road by any racist driving four or more wheels.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

My husband changed jobs this year. His previous school was 28 miles from our home; his current one is a bit under 7. This -- plus the fact that it's all in one building, which his previous job wasn't -- makes it bikeable. Which he loves.

Admittedly, this is OR, so sometimes the weather isn't bike-friendly, and this time of year the sun doesn't rise until after he has to leave, and sets before he generally gets to head home. All the same, he enjoys biking it when he can. He used to do a ca. 12 mile (each way) daily bike commute when we lived in CA.

FWIW, among my very earliest memories are ones of bike rides in Madison. My parents were in married grad student housing (Eagle Heights), and my dad had a child seat on the back of his Raleigh.

Smilin' Jack said...

"Research suggests they take fewer sick days than people who don't bike or walk to work."

Except for the ones who get in the way of my SUV, who take a whole lot of sick days.

Sorun said...

"Research suggests they take fewer sick days than people who don't bike or walk to work."

Now that demographics have become front and center, it's possible this has nothing to do with biking. Just sayin'.

David said...

The point of liberalism is to allow white people to feel good, not to do good.

David said...

Carol shows why I gave up motorcycles:

Carol said...
I've put a lot of miles on a bike and commuted to work on one, but ya know you get over 60 or so and realize that one little brain fart and you're in a wreck.

El Pollo Raylan said...

FWIW, among my very earliest memories are ones of bike rides in Madison. My parents were in married grad student housing (Eagle Heights), and my dad had a child seat on the back of his Raleigh.

I biked up that road near Eagle Heights countless times. Two lanes separated by trees? That was the "scenic" route to Middleton. If I was in hurry I'd just go down Campus Drive/University Ave.

Terry said...

"Research suggests they take fewer sick days than people who don't bike or walk to work."
I am absolutely certain that this is a scientific statement. It is possible (even likely) that black people, women, and Asian-pacific Islanders do not get the same benefit from bicycling that white people do. Therefore excluding them from bicycling makes sense.

MayBee said...

People who used to do things for their own pleasure who now feel superior for doing them and want praise/awe for their activity:

Biker-to-workers
Home gardeners who grow food (more than just tomatoes)
People training for marathons
Readers

chuck said...

Ha, ha, riding a bike becomes just another low paid job. I thought riding a bike to work was supposed to be a form of worship. Whatever happened to that?

tim maguire said...

Yeah! The program to encourage certain behaviours discriminates against the people who don't want to engage in those behaviours!

Ann Althouse said...

"I'll just say that a parking space only has economic value if someone is willing to pay to park in it. Unless there are more employees than spaces provided, giving up your space frees up no economic value whatsoever."

You need to picture a downtown area with limited parking. The city employees are a subset of the population of people who want parking spaces in this area. Those people need to pay to park somewhere and they are currently paying, so we can see the market value of parking in those centrally located places.

MayBee said...

Add to my list: people with food restrictions, self-imposed or otherwise (not including diabetics)

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Are these assorted workplaces *also* going to install showers and locker rooms? You can work up a pretty good sweat riding a bike at a reasonable pace.

Michael said...

Professor. I beg you in the name of all that is holy to stop using and never again use the word "folks." Please.

Ann Althouse said...

"Yeah! The program to encourage certain behaviours discriminates against the people who don't want to engage in those behaviors!"

Change "don't want" to "are not able."

The city is currently accommodating various needs and it offers more money to those who will forgo the accommodation. If the need were clearly something that only men could forgo, it would have an obvious discriminatory impact.

I'm saying it may not be that clear, but the authorities should be forced to acknowledge what they are doing: adopting a policy that channels money primarily to white males.

They've tried to make biking look safer with all these bike lanes everywhere, but I can tell you that farther out from the city these lanes are barely used at all and closer in, they are used by far more males than females.

I'm also saying white, but I don't trust my observation on the racial topic, because I do not see enough black people to have an opinion. I don't know what percent of white males bike. I think about 85 to 95 percent of cyclists are white males. If white women were as likely to bike as white males, they'd be 50 percent of the cyclists. I know that's not happening.

But percentage of black people in the downtown area is so small, that not seeing them on bikes isn't as meaningful as not seeing females. Anyway, it happens that I did see a black male riding a bike on campus yesterday.

Ann Althouse said...

"Professor. I beg you in the name of all that is holy to stop using and never again use the word "folks." Please."

You're missing the sarcasm in my repeating the word in the blocked quote.

I agree that "folks" is used by politicos who have little contact with "folks." I was just making fun of Ezra Klein for doing that (on "Meet the Press" last Sunday).

Michael said...

Professor. Missed it entirely. Often wrong but never in doubt.

Henry said...

While they're at it, they could pay people to give up their elevator privileges.

Clyde said...

Isn't it getting pretty late in the year for bicycling up there? As I distantly remember*, once the snow starts flying, it's more pleasant to be inside a vehicle with a heater.

* - Snow is a hypothetical for me, since I live in Southwest Florida and have not seen snow since January 13, 1989.

Tank said...

Since white males create most wealth and pay for most stuff, it's good to give them some stuff back in the form of biking subsidies.

gregq said...

I'm happily telling myself that " It's sexist, ageist, ableist, and ridiculous" is you parodying a leftist twit.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

C'mon Ann. What do you expect the Sustainable Madison Committee to do?

The City established the Committee, probably with a requirement to meet at least quarterly, and appointed members to it.

Those people - probably unpaid volunteers - have to make time for those Committee meeting. One of them must stand up and report afterwards at the next City Commissioners meeting.

They have to DO something. Look like a bunch of idiots leaving a paper trail of empty meeting agendas.

mrs. e said...

MayBee, I'm, just looking for a little fresh air, some exercise and quiet time. Nothing more, nothing less. The rest is in your imagination.

As for the bigger topic, I see your point, but also know that downtown business/government leaders are always looking for ways to increase economic growth on the isthmus. And being that you can't build any more roads or parking lots - how do you get more people downtown? This would be one piece of the pie on how to accomplish that.

CWJ said...

Ann,

Re: Your response to my comment.

Everything you say is true, and I had already considered that. But I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that the parking spaces under discussion were in city employee dedicated garages/parking lots. Unless there is a surplus of employees waiting for a space to open up, or the city begins renting out the newly opened spaces to the general public, my comment still stands. The supply, and by implication the value, of publicly available paid parking changes not at all.

MayBee said...

Mrs e- no, it's not in my imagination. But I'm glad to hear you haven't become one of the smugs.

EMD said...

"because I do not see enough black people to have an opinion."

Ain't that the truth.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...



That is shocking. You are about 5,000 times more likely to be killed commuting by bike as by car. Does Madison hate its workers?

Brennan said...

Does Madison already provide parking, showers, and lockers for bicycle commuting employees?

If so, they are "paying" them already to bike to work.

Could government policy actually encourage commutes like Ann's?

In Minneapolis, my wife and I commute together in order to take the high occupancy vehicle lanes. We get to work faster so we save some time. My employer doesn't have any benefits for this though even though we take one less urban parking space and subtract one vehicle from the road.

We would need 2 more daily passengers to qualify as a vanpool. The IRS would then allow us to reduce our taxable income.

Brennan said...

I'd also like to see reporters fact check the data from bicycle advocacy groups. They always get away with their pie in the sky claims.

Life must be so easy as a Democrat.

Clare King said...

Maybe the pay would encourage more women and minorities to bike.

I'm a woman. I bike to work. It's my choice. If you want to see fewer white males biking then start peddling and encourage your minority friends to start peddling.

Clare

hmi said...

Get over it.

I'll bet most of the people driving cars going past those white guys on bikes are also white. Here in NYC, of course, we have a very multiracial population using our bike lanes. So maybe that's a Madison problem, and not just regarding bike lanes.

Meantime, cyclists pay their taxes and are just as much entitled to see a part of the public thoroughfares devoted to their needs as pedestrians to get sidewalks and crosswalks and cars to get parking spaces.

Ron W said...

I was a regular bike commuter from Germantown to downtown Milwaukee from 1996 until retirement in 2011. I was never stopped by cold but frequently by ice. I worked in a building with about 1000 employees, and during the winter was usually the only one using the bike racks.

One lesson: bike commuting in no way reduces the need for roads, even if a significant number of people bike in the summer.

I am not a Liberal.

hmi said...

Get over it.

I'll bet most of the people driving cars going past those white guys on bikes are also white. Here in NYC, of course, we have a very multiracial population using our bike lanes. So maybe that's a Madison problem, and not just regarding bike lanes.

Meantime, cyclists pay their taxes and are just as much entitled to see a part of the public thoroughfares devoted to their needs as pedestrians to get sidewalks and crosswalks and cars to get parking spaces.

Paul Ciotti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gene said...

Here in Eagle Rock (northeast Los Angeles)75% of bike riders are young white (or Asian) males, 15% are middle aged Hispanics, 8% or 9% perhaps are young women, and 1% are black.

I don't think blacks like to ride bikes. They may think people will think they can't afford cars and I also think they consider it demeaning, as was riding school buses in New Orleans during Katrina.

Even though we have pretty good weather year around for bike riding (and hardly any rain ever), most people here regard bike riding about as enthusiastically as a rabid bat. The notion seems absurd. It doesn't enter their minds.

Then there is the traffic problem. We have had the worst traffic in the country for a couple of decades in a row. When you make a car lane into a bike lane (as the city recently did on Colorado Boulevard near my house), it pisses people off. They are already frustrated by the traffic in the city. Even though I now have a big wide and apparently safe bike lane all to myself on Colorado, I rather ride the back streets in residential neighborhoods, where there is little traffic and far less noise. Either that or I ride the sidewalks, which hardly anybody else uses anyway.

One final point, pedal assisted electric bikes are changing the equation. On an electric bike, even someone my age (71) can maintain 15 mph, which means we generally keep up with city traffic, causing far less resentment. Finally, with an electric bike I can do errands out to a range of five or six miles with comfort. There is never a parking problem. And I don't have to worry about a license or registration.

In a rational world most of Los Angeles would ride bikes but of all the things we are known for here rationality isn't our strong suit.

Treven said...

I just carry my SIG 238 when I ride. I may never use it, but I know that I'm not one of those quinoa-grubbing, gas-saving, Prius driving cyclists. When I get obnoxious, I break out the Bandit 1250 and pollute the bike lanes.

Sam L. said...

And then there's this:
http://spectator.org/articles/56526/complete-streets-occupiers

Sam L. said...

And then there's this:
http://spectator.org/articles/56526/complete-streets-occupiers

Sam L. said...

And then there's this:
http://spectator.org/articles/56526/complete-streets-occupiers

jason lemieux said...

So just make it seasonal.

Or you could grasp around for silly associations to make about it.