Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida, Europe and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Barrier-protected bike lanes are smart and safe, yet only six weeks into 2013, we may already have THE year's worst portrait of self-justifying govt. bureaucracy run amok: State of Illinois blocks Chicago's plans for barrier-protected bike lanes on state-run roads. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to install 100 miles of protected bicycle lanes by 2015 is running into a speed bump; the more you know about this subject the more galling IDOT's decision seems


ChicagoMayorsOffice YouTube Channel video: Dearborn Bike Lanes. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel officially opens barrier-protected bike lanes on Dearborn Street through the Loop, becoming the first two-way dedicated bike route with traffic signals in Chicagoland. Uploaded December 19, 2012. http://youtu.be/6rzQXhcaFlY
Active Transportation Alliance Vimeo video: Dearborn Protected Bike Lane - Before and After. Uploaded January 2013. http://vimeo.com/55752870

Chicago Tribune
State blocks city's plans for protected bike lanes on state-run roads. 
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to install 100 miles of protected bicycle lanes in Chicago by 2015 is running into a speed bump. 
February 12, 2013
http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/ct-met-getting-around-0211-20130211,0,5097859.column

More on this subject from a straight-shooting Chicago-area blog that doesn't miss a thing: Streetsblog Chicago

So why is IDOT delaying designs that several American cities have already been implementing for years? 
The agency says it wants to measure safety impacts based on robust statistical evidence, and that three years provides a representative sample. The rationale for requiring this information would be reasonable if Chicago was the first city to ever implement protected bike lanes, but it doesn’t hold up because the results have been the same wherever protected bike lanes have been installed:IDOT,  The injury rate of all street users is reduced, be they walking, biking, or driving.


I know, I know... it's like "When Worlds Collide"
This is one of the few times I've ever been on Rahm Emanuel's side in an argument, but even one of my former nemeses can't be wrong all the time, and on this particular subject, he is clearly not wrong, as bureaucrats in Springfield try to pull the musty wool of bureaucratic self-justification over Chicago-area taxpayers and biking enthusiasts who merely want to use state roads -they've already paid for.

Reminds me of when I was living and working in D.C. area and was pretty involved in international trade issues, which even more than usual, required my attending lots of long, jargon-filled Congressional hearings on Capitol Hill on topics that were often hard to explain to either my friends and family. 
Like the "Structural Impediments Initiative."

When the Japanese government -buttressed by powerful Japanese manufacturing companies afraid of fair competition from the United States- kept saying that American-made baseball bats and snow skis should not be imported into Japan  because they would have very different performance characteristics in Japan, as if snow on the ground in Japan, real or artificial, was so different from snow in the U.S. that it would cause the skis not to work if properly used, well, those sorry excuses from Japan has a very logical consequence.

Those true-life anecdotes soon turned into fodder for lots of influential scholarly reports and books -and a much-more aggressive approach in U.S. export policy in the early 90's against Japanthat were damning in their conclusions about the power of the Japanese  bureaucracy within every Japanese govt., and their complete unwillingness to accept reality and the facts staring at them.

And now, I read that into that small straight-jacket of bureaucratic conformity and unreality has jumped the Illinois Dept. of Transportation, and their cadre of management types and engineers, who imagine that something that has worked successfully everywhere it has been tried -and worked safely- would somehow produce completely different results if tried on the roads of Chicagoland.

I lived there for a few years in the 1980's and there are no mountains or canals or natural impediments to this smart plan being adopted other than IDOT's intent to keep it at bay for reasons that don't pass the smell test.

And so, once again, government bureaucrats seek to hold innumerable law-abiding citizens and visitors hostage to their old view of the world, until the citizens learn to either accept that bureaucrats know best -or three very long years pass.
Pathetic!

If I ever hear of anything even half as asinine as this by FDOT, policy-wise, you can count on reading about it here in detail, but I doubt they'd try it, because IDOT has set such a jaw-dropping low standard to replicate. 
They'd have to try awfully hard to fail their taxpayers this badly.
-----

Active Transportation Alliancehttp://www.activetrans.org/
Their Vimeo Channelhttp://vimeo.com/user11296014

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