Expanding A Bad Idea
If you have been reading Red Maryland you know that we have covered the story of ever expanding traffic on our nation’s surface highways. We noted that few policy makers, either national, federal or local, ever consider the downsides of ever expanding numbers of bicycles on roads already crowded with cars and trucks. Among the most documented downsides have been the massive increase in the number and severity of cycling related injuries, unprecedented traffic jams on bridges not equipped for cycling traffic and the diversion of public funds at every level better spent on improving our road infrastructure.
Now comes new word that the planned 3,000 mile bike pathway along the East Coast, known as the Greenway, is moving ahead. The Philly Voice recently reported on Pennsylvania’s plans for this project:
“…the route through Pennsylvania currently relies primarily on road, something that won’t change until more trails are built. The Greenway has submitted a request for proposal to Philadelphia for its main thoroughfare trail in the city to run on Spring Garden Street, connecting the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers.”
You read that right. Planners want to increase “cycling tourism” traffic through existing roads in one of the east coast’s largest cities, routing it through some of the busiest and most congested parts of the city.
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In Maryland two thirds of the Greenway route will be on existing surface roads, 103 of 166 miles. Greenway planners are relying on the cooperation of state and local policy makers to put public funds toward the project.
Of course, as we have documented at length, the cycling lobby exists as a privileged class with Maryland policymakers gaining concessions from state and local transportation departments to the detriment of commuters and drivers. Little, if any, public discourse is had about the downsides of putting more cyclists on even these 103 miles of state roadways.
While cycling is an avocation enjoyed by many in our state and cyclists consider themselves “a privileged class that owns the road by virtue of being environmentally friendly and physically fit” the reality is that our transportation policy should be dominated by the interests of those for whom the surface roads were primarily designed, car and truck traffic carrying on the commerce of the state.
It simply isn’t a rational transporation policy for drivers, through increased traffic and expenditure of public funds, to subsidize the hobby or preferred exercise of a small group of cyclists.