Yes, in many cases the taxpayer is taking the risk. I'm not a big fan of that. However, places like Stockton Calf. are in trouble due primarily to over generous pensions. I think the argument could be made that Chattanooga is a more liveable city due in part to such development although as I said I am generally not in favor of government subsidizing developers.
All that aside, it has nothing to do with bicycles. The government is arguably responsible for creating infrastructure. The roads you enjoy traveling on are provided by the government. The government subsidizes mass transit systems like CARTA. We have sidewalks for pedestrians. The fact that the government is looking for ways to create additional infrastructure to support other means of transportation such as bicycles is within its mandate.
Commander your discussion of HUD grants and building mixed use developments in Chattanoog, misses the point entirely. It still comes down to people making choices. That mixed use development will sit empty if people do not choose to locate a business there or decided it is a good place to live. The government cannot coerce me to move from the suburbs to a downtown condo unless I choose to do so. The market will ultimately decide the fate of these projects.
But, if that HUD grant entices a developer to take a risk and build that development downtown and people decide (for whatever reason) to live or set up a business there, then have they been forced to do so? Many of these developments you are so quick to denegrate have been responsible in part for the revitalization of the downtown area.
Bicycle advocacy groups are indeed lobying groups along with hundreds of other groups, the NRA, Unions, AAA, AARP, just to name a few. And you expect me to believe that bicycle advocacy groups have sufficient influence to create the type of change that occurred in Nazi Germany or the USSR? I dare say the NRA is a far more effective lobying group than any bicycle advocacy orginazation. In fact any one of them would love to be able to have even a fraction of the influence that the NRA has.
Your argument is so incredibly weak as to be laughable.
Ultimately the market and lifestyle choices will determine future transportation needs. There is a limit to how much roads can be expanded. In many larger cities, people are choosing (not being forced) to live closer to town to avoid traffic (it is more efficient). The increasing cost of energy is causing people to choose to be more energy efficient; take fewer car trips etc. It may surprise Soakya to learn that some people cannot afford the cost of owning a car. A bicycle offers an inexpensive means to travel.
If I choose to ride a bicycle to a store on Frazier Ave, that is one less car causing congestion, one less parking space being filled, a little less gas being used. All of which benefits the person who prefers to drive to Frazier Ave. I really do not see how that penalizes anyone.
I submit that the government building a road without a bike lane penalizes me because I prefer to ride my bike.
Rickaroo I have noticed that the same people have no problem with the government building roads for their cars. But mention that the government wants to add a bike lane or sidewalk or convert one of hundreds of parking spaces for a bike rack and suddenly the One-World/UN people want to take your car away.
Well Soakya, so far I have logged a little over 1800 miles on my bike this year. I'm not sure what that proves except that I like riding my bike. I think there is a difference between nudge and force. Local government making simple infrastructure changes to encourage more folks to run an errand using a bike is a long way from forcing them to do so. Your reaction frankly seems a bit overwrought. I don't really expect the jack-boot UN thugs to come and take your car away any time soon.
I'm not sure anyone is suggesting giving up your car to commute from Hixson or other parts of suburbia.
However, with regard to efficiency, I would submit that if you worked for example in the Krystal building and needed to go to the N. Shore, the bike would likely be more efficient considering the time it takes to walk to your car, drive to the N. Shore and then park the car. I would also submit that if you were paying for parking, it would also be cheeper.
Always the same tired arguments. Someone suggests using an alternative to the car for some trips and suddenly the unknown "them" (pick your boogy man - UN, green peace, environmentalists, spandex clad bikers) is trying to have us live in caves, dig holes with shovels, chop firewood, and (heaven forbid) give up the SUV.
I want to make sure I understand this. Apparently it is within the constitution and acceptable for the federal government to subsidize highways, farmers, homeowners, and any number of other groups but it is somehow not acceptable to spend a tiny fraction of the overall transportation budget on infrastructure to support such things as riding a bike to work or school?
By the way, I don't recall that the purpose of the program is to "buy a bicycle for someone with a cell phone." The purpose is to provide a transportation system for anyone to use. It is designed to promote making short trips by bicycle rather than by car.
We currently fund mass transit systems (buses) how is a transit system designed around a bicycle all that different?
But again rather than discuss the issue it is so much simpler to vilify someone with a different opinion. Statements like "conservatives are better educated and pay back their student loans" or snarky comments about Christians do little to actually address the underlying issues. Like it or not the government does play a role in shaping the direction of our communities from local zoning laws to federal subsidies for parks, homeowners, business etc.
So again, I ask if the federal government has no business subsidizing a bicycle transportation system because it is "the government exceeding its mission and functions" then how is it acceptable for the government to subsidize highways? Seems to me it is all part of providing an infrastructure for people to get from place to place.
I am amazed at how quickly this topic degenerated into mindless rhetoric as to whether conservatives or liberals are the bigger a-holes. The simple fact is that if users of automobiles had to pay the true cost of driving on our nation's roads, most of us would be walking. The typical highway costs between 1 and 5 million per mile. One of the biggest government boondogles, the Big Dig in Boston, ended up costing somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 billion per mile. But heaven forbid we spend anything to promote any other form of transportation.
So this bike share project had a 2 million federal grant to cover startup and operational costs for a year and I guess somewhere a mile of highway won't get built as a result. What a damn shame.
Getting people using a bike or walking to run an errand reduces polution, may save a little gas, free up a parking space that might have otherwise been used, and might even provide some health benefit in the form of exercise.
What is also lost in this argument over who whould pay what are the intangible benefits. It makes it easier for people who work and live downtown to get around. It might promote tourists to explore businesses outside the couple of blocks near the riverfront. The city is actually getting some positive press about the program, other cities want to learn about our system and adopt it. Perhaps that press generates interest for people from other areas to visit Chattanooga. And we are joining the ranks of many cities who have already adopted similar bike share systems that are, in fact very popular.
Arguing whether Bike share is a socialist or conservative issue misses the point. The real discussion needs to be about the direction the citizens of this community want to take. Will it be one of ever increasing highways, gridlock, and parking lots until we turn into a miniature version of Atlanta, or will it be one that creates a liveable community with many transportation options? I consider myself a conservative but would prefer the latter choice.