Surprise: The Baltimore Peanut Gallery Doesn't Like Bike Lanes
"I have a problem with marking up our streets with the stupid bike markers. I can't tell you when that last time I saw a person on a bike in my area. Who thinks up these stupid ideas!" This is a comment forwarded to Nate Evans, Baltimore's Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator, from a Baltimore resident apparently furious at the gall of the city to put paint on the street for bikes. According to his Bike Baltimore blog, Evans has gotten a good number of these sorts of complaints about new bike improvements in Southeast Baltimore and Park Heights, two of the city's focus areas for bike infrastructure. "So, now that there's extra paint on the asphalt, for BIKES of all things," he writes, "many people are contacting their elected officials to complain. Most of these comments are sent my way, which gives me a chance to talk about how great biking is and how it improves a community, even for those NOT cycling." Which, from elected officials to non-biking residents, is sort of the ultimate challenge: proving that that paint on the street is actually good for everyone. Reduced traffic congestion, cleaner air, reducing wear and tear on roads, increased property values--you get the idea. Evans' ultimate point in his post is that city officials need to hear from people happy about the new lanes and markings. The risk is that a negative minority of Baltimore residents will be a lone voice. And, if that's the case, it's rather easy for a minority to turn into a majority, at least in the eyes of the powers-that-be. You can find your city contacts right here.