By Dino Drudi, Alexandria
Creating crises as an excuse to give government more power to solve the crisis is not a new trick. Remember the Reichstag fire in Germany when the Nazi regime was in its infancy in 1933?
But there are far less egregious — and more recent — examples, such as the District’s rent control law, which, by artificially lowering prices, created a housing shortage. That justified giving D.C. the power to regulate rents until the shortage was resolved. Proposing to add bike lanes to Cameron and Prince streets might not be such a bad idea on its merits, but they illustrate a classic example of Alexandria’s abusive use of this trick.
The city cites motivating bicyclists to ride on the street rather than the sidewalk as the basis for adding bike lanes to Cameron and Prince streets (as well as along King Street near the Metro station earlier this year).
But, wait a minute. Just last year, city council legalized bicycle riding on nearly every city sidewalk, which theretofore had been prohibited. Why would they legalize riding bicycles on the sidewalk unless City Hall considered it safe and desirable?
And why would City Hall use discouraging cyclists from using sidewalks as a justification for more bicycle lanes so soon after they allowed said cyclists on sidewalks?
City Hall can’t have it both ways. They can’t let bicyclists ride on the sidewalk and then use that as an excuse to create bike lanes.