Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bike awareness cop car

These are heady times for cyclists in Boise.  The street developers, ACHD, have laid down several miles of "demonstration" bike lanes downtown... at the expense of car lanes on significant thoroughfares.  They will remain in place for a month, and citizens are asked to comment on them.

I've tried the bike lane up Capitol Boulevard... I won't use it regularly because it's off my most direct route.  But I can say confidently it's a boon for cyclists who travel that way... but at what cost?  A traffic lane can carry a lot of cars, that are suddenly squeezed into other lanes.

I've got this theory - and I may be totally wrong.  Our mayor and ACHD have had some public spats over the years, and the mayor is a proponent of more bike lanes downtown.  I'm suspicious that ACHD is maybe doing this pilot project in such a massive and potentially-disruptive way, specifically so the general public will oppose it, and they can shelve the plans.  (But on the other hand, I have to give props to ACHD... I think they have a track record of including bike infrastructure in their projects, when it makes sense.  Does it make sense to steal traffic lanes and on-street parking for downtown bike lanes?  I s'pose the community should decide that.)

"But... what about the bike awareness cop car?" you ask.

The police department today deployed a shiny new cop car with bike awareness graphics on it.  Sah-WEEET!

(Now if only they would use it to prosecute scofflaw cyclists... and impatient or inattentive motorists who increase the danger factor for law-abiding cyclists!)

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