Opinion Your Views — 10 April 2014
Why calm traffic with bike lanes when congestion will do it for us?

By Jimm Roberts, Alexandria
(File Photo) 

To the editor:

By unanimously overruling the desires of directly affected residents and adding bike lanes on King Street, could our city councilors really just have wanted to enable more bicycling and less vehicular traffic? Peddling a bike does burn calories, and surely more bicyclists mean fewer cars.

What’s not to like about less vehicular congestion and better health, at least for the bicyclists?

My alter ego thinks he knows: The goal is not producing happy bikers or promoting better health. It’s slowing internal combustion machines on Alexandria’s roadways. The King Street bike lane issue revealed that bike lanes narrow roads. Narrow roads produce cautious motorists, who drive ever slower.

But are bike lanes really necessary for traffic calming? Traffic is destined to slow to a crawl as it is. This is because our city councilors are implementing density policies intended to bring more and more people into Alexandria who, collectively, will put increasingly more automobiles onto city streets.

There’s no way around it: Our elected representatives’ pro-density policies are putting the squeeze on Alexandria. Most of the new residents they’re attracting will own cars. Their cars will traverse a finite number of roads. Therefore, our city council’s policies are guaranteeing more congestion — not less — and that will slow traffic.

Now let’s add bikes to already crowded roads. The bicyclists in our community are of a special breed: part iconoclast, part health nut. Appealing attributes to me, frankly.

If their understandable antipathy toward earth warming, smog producing autos is already high, will it shoot off the scale when they find out they’re breathing more exhaust fumes from more cars, thereby making their environmentally friendly biking less healthy? 
 Inquiring minds want to know.

 

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