The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is, once again, proving that reducing congestion in a traffic-ridden city is not a top priority. Rather, pumping taxpayer dollars into feel-good projects that have little impact on the vast majority of people, like a network of bike lanes in downtown, takes precedence.
According to KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz, SDOT is relying on the “if you build it, they will come” delusion. In other words, officials appears to believe that, by building in a network of bike lanes, people will—all of a sudden—want to bike to work. Rantz points out the flaw in SDOT’s thinking,
“Because if you live even in Queen Anne, you’ll want to bike to work in the rain, arrive sweaty, take a shower in the office shower room that you don’t have, pull your wrinkled suit or uniform from your bag, and go about your merry day.”
According to an SDOT survey, a mere 3.1 percent of commuters use bikes to get to Downtown Seattle. The percentage is actually down from last year. So, why invest in a transportation project that only helps a small segment of the population? Rantz,
“Because Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly is a bike activist. So he kowtows to the 3.1 percent (catering to the 1 percent is wrong when you’re talking about rich people, but the 3.1 percent is alright because they’re on bikes)…
“If city officials want to put bike lanes up without impacting driving and busing, then go for it; I like the idea. But that’s not what the city is doing. They’re doing this even though it directly hurts traffic because they don’t care about drivers.
“The city really doesn’t care about the driver experience. They want to cater to the 3.1 percent at the expense of the 96.9 percent.”
Perhaps taking its cue from Sound Transit, SDOT is pretending it cares about citizen input. It is asking people to weigh in on the project. The problem is that SDOT is already moving forward with its plans, so people’s opinions don’t actually matter to the department—not that it ever has. Rantz,
“West Seattle residents found out SDOT is getting rid of parking on Admiral Way and installing bike lanes. The neighborhood went bonkers, tried to stop it. The residents understood this will be awful for their community, but SDOT is moving forward anyway. Rather than listen to the people, the department told them that they know better.”
Because, as we can all attest, government always knows best…especially liberal government.