So, I was at this conference at Yale over the weekend. I had originally wanted to go by bike, because I like the ride down to New Haven. The weather forecast called for horrific thunderstorms, so I drove. I stayed overnight at my friend Marko's and brought my bike because I'm bad at parking and didn't want to worry about my car the next day because I was moderating this panel. Also, you can probably imagine that I like riding my bike.
New Haven has bike infrastructure. Lots of it. It's pretty cool. There are racks everywhere, sharrows and a bike path that'll take you all the way to Cheshire. People use it, too. This includes a person who locked up their Richard Sachs and left it in the rain. I was happy to be able to use it, because Hartford is not as excited about bike infrastructure.
I was thinking and I never think positive things. I saw lots of people on bikes in New Haven, but they generally looked white and middle class. That in and of itself is not upsetting. I fall into those categories. And really, it didn't make me upset with New Haven. Instead, it made me upset with Hartford. People ride bikes in Hartford. Not just people who look like me, indeed mostly people who don't look like me. We've got some racks downtown, but not in very many other places. Although, they're put in a front places where bike riders don't usually go. There was this big master plan to put them in all neighborhoods, but that seems to have stalled. It would seem that not the right people are riding bikes in Hartford, so we aren't going to do anything to help that mode of transportation.
This led to other dark thoughts. The City never clears its sidewalks when it snows and people have to walk in road. Are non-automotive-base transportation modes only invested in or maintained when they're tools of gentrification? It reminded me of the hearing for the destruction of the skatepark/Downtown North. In trying to attract the affluent, we keep hearing about complete streets, walkability and bike lanes. I'm tired of bikes and walking being leverage points for something bigger development project. They're good ways to get around, but please stop co-opting for your luxury condos.
It wasn't always this way either. Ten-twelve years ago, sharrows showed up on Babcock and Lawerence, the bus lane north of Windsor Ave is also a bike lane and Tower Ave has a bike lane. I think this debate went on a long time ago in Brooklyn and it was determined that bike lane marking was a gentrification tagging. Of course, this doesn't explain the bike lane on Maxim Road that goes to the sewage treatment plant. I think that was bike lanes as means to try and stop street racing.
So, anyway, I've decided that I'm against bike lanes now that they're tools of the oppressor.
This guy did some writing about it and I thought it was worth reading. Read more!