Greater Greater Washington

Bike lanes and jobs are not mutually exclusive

Bike lanes have lately become a proxy for all things that benefit affluent residents. But juxtaposing bike infrastructure with a program like job training distorts reality, because bicycle infrastructure costs a miniscule amount compared to job programs, and actually helps poor residents gain better access to jobs.


Photo by Tuaussi on Flickr.

Last week, Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy took aim at what he characterized as the District's neglect of jobs for impoverished residents at the expense of initiatives he perceives as aimed at those who are more affluent:

This month, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) unveiled an economic development plan that he says will create 100,000 jobs and generate $1 billion in tax revenue over the next five years. But who will get those jobs? D.C. residents hold less than 30 percent of the jobs in the city, and readiness programs tried so far just haven't worked.

But what if the city got as serious about creating jobs as making bike lanes?

The problems of inequality and disparate economic opportunities are very real in DC, where a sizeable portion of the populationlargely long-term African-American residentsdo not seem to be benefitting from the city's so-called renaissance. Unemployment east of the Anacostia River remains significantly higher than in other parts of the city, and development that has transformed many areas of DC has been slow to reach its more impoverished areas.

Understanding the size and scope of this problem, inquiring why it persists and searching for meaningful solutions are worthy pursuits that all seeking to create a more livable city should support.

However, pitting jobs against programs like bike lanes is divisive, putting a bogeyman that supposedly symbolizes the city's misplaced priorities ahead of real issues. There's little evidence to support the idea that the District is pursuing initiatives such as bike lanes at the expense of jobs and social welfare programs.

Far more money goes into job programs than bike lanes

The District's FY2012 budget allocated $126 million to the Department of Employment Services (DOES). DOES' purview includes programs such as adult workforce programs, transitional employment, local job training and the controversial Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).

Many of these programs fall within the Workforce Development division, which "provides employment-related services for unemployed or underemployed persons so that they can achieve economic security." Workforce Development alone saw more than $55 million in the FY2012 budget.

Meanwhile, the District's Department of Transportation (DDOT) commands a 2012 capital budget of $128.1 million, which covers a vast array of responsibilities relating to the planning, construction and upkeep of the District's roads, bridges, trails and more. Separating out the amount spent specifically on bike-related infrastructure is practically impossible, and DDOT did not reply to an inquiry about these figures by publication time. However, some information is available.

DDOT's budget allocates $5.17 million "Mass Transit," which includes funds for programs such as bike sharing, car sharing and planning other alternative transportation options, while an additional $5 million is dedicated to planning and policy, which include pedestrian and bicycle programs and designing bicycle infrastructure.

Combined, this roughly $10.2 million, which constitutes expenses on far more than simply bike-related programs, comprises approximately 8% of DDOT's budget. (It would also represent a similar percentage of DOES' budget, and less than 1/5th of the amount spent on Workforce Development.)

The actual construction cost for bike routes and lanes throughout the District is minuscule, according to the District's Bicycle Master Plan. This is because DDOT constructs most bike lanes or routes as part of larger streetscape and repaving projects, which minimizes bicycle-specific costs.

According to the master plan, the total cost of construction and signage of all new bike routes and lanes between 2005-2015, which encompasses well over 100 miles of routes and lanes both east and west of the Anacostia, is only $420,000.

By contrast, the District budgeted $1.57 million in 2012 alone on reduced WMATA bus fares for impoverished residents east of the Anacostia. In other words, as a portion of DC's overall $9 billion budget, costs assignable specifically to biking and bike-related infrastructure make about as much of a dent in the District's budget as the cost of refreshments served at Council meetings. (OK, perhaps that's a bit of hyperbole, but you get the idea.)

One may argue that what the District is investing into job training and placement services for its more poverty-stricken communities is insufficient, and that it needs to make a greater effort to ensure that District residents can find work at many of the businesses moving into the city.

Or, perhaps one might ask why, with hundreds of millions of dollars having gone to DOES in recent years, the unemployment rate remains so stubbornly high? (Unemployment was 26% in Ward 8 in 2011, nearly twice as high as the highest ward west of the Anacostia (Ward 5) and 13 times greater than the District's most affluent ward, Ward 3.)

But these aren't the types of questions Milloy raises. He implies that poverty and income inequality remain persistent throughout the District in part because the local government is fixated on initiatives such as bike lanes that are supposedly focused on affluent residents at the expense of jobs programs for its needier residents. "Jobs, not bike lanes," he says.

Jobs and bike lanes are not mutually exclusive

Robust and well-funded job training and placement assistance programs are not incongruous with progressive transportation options such as bike lanes, streetcars, subways and buses. In fact, one might argue, the two actually go hand in hand. As the District's roads become more choked with traffic, and as the price of gasoline and the overall cost of car ownership continue to rise, developing more cost-efficient transportation options is a tremendously sensible policy.

For example, with its annual membership fee of $75 and stations throughout the cityincluding more than a dozen east of the AnacostiaCapital Bikeshare is a very cost-effective method of navigating the city. It's also environmentally friendly and physically beneficial.

The growing presence of bike lanes and routes, including many miles east of the Anacostia, along with bike parking options throughout the city, make commuting to and from one's place of employment on two wheels an attractive and convenient option.

Rather than question why the city is devoting any resources to bike lane construction, a better question would be why the city's existing job training and placement programs are ineffectual. And rather than perpetuating the fallacy that the District has to choose between these two, all residents should support a city that has both smarter, sustainable transportation options and innovative and effective job training and placement options at the same time.

Ben Harris lives in Rockville, where he writes the North Bethesda-focused blog NorthFlintVille. Prior to moving to Montgomery County in 2011, he lived for 5 years in DC's Logan Circle neighborhood, where he served on the ANC 2F Community Development Committee and Arts Overlay Review Committee. From 2007 to 2011, he and his wife maintained the Logan Circle and Shaw-focused blog 14th&You. 

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Thanks, Ben. Courtland Milloy's columns are so laughable that they hardly need such an in-depth rebuttal, but it's appreciated anyway.

by Adam L on Dec 4, 2012 11:49 am • linkreport

Coincidentally, at this morning's L St Cycletrack dedication, Shane Farthing of WABA spoke about and Mayor Gray alluded to bicycle infrastructure as an economic engine.

by Froggie on Dec 4, 2012 11:57 am • linkreport

@Froggie, right. If nothing else, putting in bike lines makes new jobs. Someone has to do the work!

by MDE on Dec 4, 2012 12:01 pm • linkreport

Milloy clearly employed the use of ridiculous hyperbole in making the comparison but in fairness to him, the discussion of bike lanes constituted the last few lines of his article. I don't think he reasonably thought that money spent on bike lanes are comparable to those for job programs.

Ironically, most of the focus on his article was on Ken's GGW piece, "Wilson High drawbridge to students east of the park is going up". So it seems as if his thoughts flowed from that. Ironically, he used the same quote from Graham (discouraging car ownership) as did Tim Craig.

But from a "not looking out for the poor" angle, Milloy is essentially doing the same thing as dems/repubs accused each other. That is, throw a ounce of hyperbole into the pot couple w/sauteed political posturing and hope it turns out well.

by HogWash on Dec 4, 2012 12:12 pm • linkreport

Two sentences in a Courtland Milloy column hardly warrant a huge response.

I think that his larger point was that DC needs to fight to protect its working class, which was surprisingly well-reasoned by Milloy's standards. It's definitely a legitimate issue that has nothing to do with bike lanes.*

*Okay, almost nothing. Car ownership is expensive, and DC's middle classes would be well-served by a transportation network that allowed them to be car-free. Sadly, most of DC's best car-free neighborhoods are also the least affordable. That's a huge problem that needs to be addressed.

by andrew on Dec 4, 2012 12:17 pm • linkreport

Bike infrastructure can be especially valuable to lower income residents because they often have to get to jobs that are poorly served by transit, either because of location or work hours. The bike riding urban poor have been largely invisible, but they have always been among us.

by jimble on Dec 4, 2012 12:20 pm • linkreport

But what if the city got as serious about creating jobs as making bike lanes?

I'd take issue with the fact that DC is serious about making bike lanes.

I was in Brussels two weeks ago, and used their CaBi, Villo! I was a little gun shy about biking in Brussels, because traffic there is always a mess. It's busy, chaotic, and possibly worse designed than DC. However, I found that in a couple of years, they made city a lot more bike friendly. There are bike lanes everywhere, and most one-way streets are two-way for bikes.

Meanwhile, DC has added what, 3 miles of bike lanes in a year?

by Jasper on Dec 4, 2012 12:23 pm • linkreport

"The poor" are not single people living in apartments, the sort of people for whom the bikes lanes can help. Mostly they are single-parent families struggling with balancing the responsibilities child-rearing and school with trying to make a living (and making a living is what gets the short shift). The parents in this situation are not biking around town, for the most part. They need to drive.

The help that lower income single parents need is to improve the roads for cars, not bikes. A new bike lane is a like a poke in the eye for these people, because the loss of traffic lane makes auto traffic worse -- they who are fighting traffic and photo-speed traps, to make their school and daycare appointments and also get to work, driving a hoopdie.

This is what Mr Milloy and others have been trying to say, when they point out that bike lanes are for the well-off in DC.

by goldfish on Dec 4, 2012 12:54 pm • linkreport

This post not only completely distorts Milloy's column, it demonstrates how tone-deaf some smart growth activists can be when it comes to the divisions in our city.

Courtland Milloy writes a column on DC becoming increasingly closed off to poor folks (undeniable), he says nice things about the blog that is most associated with that development (which surprised some people), and so we drop a post criticizing Milloy's couple of sentences about bike lanes.

Here's how Milloy would fairly read this piece:

Point 1: Don't touch my bike lanes.
Point 2: Workforce readiness is a problem.
Point 3: But it's not more of a problem due to bike lane investments, since bike lanes don't cost much.
Point 4: So don't touch my bike lanes.

The sentence that Harris quotes, "But what if the city got as serious about creating jobs as making bike lanes?", is in no way critical of the investment that DC has made in bike lanes. Milloy is simply asking that we focus on getting unemployed DC residents into jobs as much as we focus on other more high-profile initiatives.

I've never strongly criticized a post on GGW before because I like to be deferential to my fellow contributors, but this needs to be a teachable moment for us. If we don't want to be viewed with suspicion by much of the city as the influx of likeminded residents put us in a position of increasing power, we have to show that we actually care about the whole city and problems faced by everyone currently living in it.

Posts like this communicate that, at the end of the day, we only care about stuff we use, like bike lanes, and that we will criticize any questioning of DC's investments in our stuff.

by Ken Archer on Dec 4, 2012 12:59 pm • linkreport

I agree somewhat with @Goldfish.

Access to higher paying jobs outside of Washington, vs., say, a clerk at a sandwich shop along L Street NW, should also be considered for those who are unable to find work in DC proper. Think Tysons-- there are a lot of jobs in Fairfax County about to be more accessible with the Silver Line. The problem now becomes relatively high Metrorail fares for long distance travel, say between Congress Hts and (future) Greensboro stations.

Bike lanes on L and M streets help those who work there and can bike there frequently.

by Commuter on Dec 4, 2012 1:10 pm • linkreport

Ken,

If you can't hear the dog whistle Milloy is blowing, then you're not going to understand this response. You gotta understand the messenger to understand the message.

"Milloy is simply asking that we focus on getting unemployed DC residents into jobs as much as we focus on other more high-profile initiatives."

The entire substance of this post was making the point that we DO "focus on getting unemployed DC residents into jobs as much as we focus on other more high-profile initiatives," as measured in terms of DCGOV expenditures. The problem is not a lack of focus or funding. The problem, Ben points out, is that for 'some reason,' "with hundreds of millions of dollars having gone to DOES in recent years, the unemployment rate remains so stubbornly high."

by Dizzy on Dec 4, 2012 1:27 pm • linkreport

You gotta wonder if David A will be leaping in and deleting Kenny's comment as a "personal attack that violates policy".

My bet? No. Some animals are more equal than others.

by John on Dec 4, 2012 1:35 pm • linkreport

@John-I don't think the comment was a personal attack. Far from it actually.

by thump on Dec 4, 2012 1:40 pm • linkreport

I'd like to respond briefly to Ken's comments above. Specifically, this:

"But what if the city got as serious about creating jobs as making bike lanes?", is in no way critical of the investment that DC has made in bike lanes. Milloy is simply asking that we focus on getting unemployed DC residents into jobs as much as we focus on other more high-profile initiatives."

Perhaps, however a bit later on in the piece Milloy also states: "District officials recently announced a plan to promote bicycling and mass transit, with changes that could affect 10,000 parking spaces. How about making the creation of 10,000 decent-paying jobs for working-poor residents more of a priority?"

But who's to say that job creation isn't a priority? Looking at the District's budget it certainly appears to be. And Milloy himself notes the recently announced initiative to bring 100,000 jobs to the District, which also noted the placement of "more than 5,000 DC residents in jobs at 800 companies through creative initiatives like One City œ One Hire."

My problem with Milloy's argument is that it glosses over how much the District already *is* investing in job training, workforce skills development and other related initiatives, apparently with very little return. He states briefly at the beginning of his column that "D.C. residents hold less than 30 percent of the jobs in the city, and readiness programs tried so far just havenft worked."

By my way of thinking, that's the crux of this issue. Over the last two years, the District has funded the Divison of Workforce Development to the tune of $110 million, and yet its programs aren't working and unemployment in the poorest areas of the city remains startlingly high. Why is that? What isn't working? What could the city do better? What other urban job training programs have been successful that the District might be able to emulate?

If Milloy truly had no quibbles with the city's investment into programs such as bike lanes, there would be no reason to raise them as issues. Bike lanes and parking spaces don't even need to enter this equation, because they are red herrings in this argument; the funding and prioritization of one does not affect the funding and prioritization of the other. So why raise the comparison?

As I look at it, the issue at stake here is one of accounatbility, not prioritization.

by Ben on Dec 4, 2012 1:44 pm • linkreport

I think Mr Milloy enjoys getting a rise out of folks who like bike lanes. For that reason alone I would have ignored it, but I think Bens points are okay.

"The poor are not single people living in apartments, the sort of people for whom the bikes lanes can help. Mostly they are single-parent families struggling with balancing the responsibilities child-rearing and school with trying to make a living (and making a living is what gets the short shift). The parents in this situation are not biking around town, for the most part. They need to drive. "

Where I live in NoVa there are LOTs of cyclists who appear to be working class hispanic men - they generally ride older non fancy bikes, without helmets, and with a strong preference for sidewalk riding. AFAICT they are using bikes because its economical transport - and their safety would be much advanced if FFX cty had more bike lanes.

I suppose the situation could be different in DC. Why do you suppose that is?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 1:52 pm • linkreport

"My problem with Milloy's argument is that it glosses over how much the District already *is* investing in job training, workforce skills development and other related initiatives, apparently with very little return....By my way of thinking, that's the crux of this issue. Over the last two years, the District has funded the Division of Workforce Development to the tune of $110 million, and yet its programs aren't working and unemployment in the poorest areas of the city remains startlingly high. Why is that? What isn't working? What could the city do better? What other urban job training programs have been successful that the District might be able to emulate?"

I couldn't agree more Ben, and this that would be a great post, or even series of posts, in itself. We need more people to be asking great questions like these, and we need to bring the type of public scrutiny on our workforce development system that we currently bring to bear on transportation and land use decisions.

by Ken Archer on Dec 4, 2012 2:00 pm • linkreport

Anyone else think it's strange that Milloy complained that DC residents held less than 30 percent of the city's jobs? What percentage of the total metro area are DC resident? That statistic doesn't mean anything on its own.

by Austin on Dec 4, 2012 2:03 pm • linkreport

@austin

especially since the 70% includes WaPo columnists who live in PG county. Maybe they could train someone to take over that gig?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 2:07 pm • linkreport

And for the record: in no way did I interpret Ken's comment as a personal attack. Just wanted to be clear on that.

by Ben on Dec 4, 2012 2:15 pm • linkreport

Responding to anything Milloy writes is an exercise in futility.

by MJ on Dec 4, 2012 2:19 pm • linkreport

If you can't hear the dog whistle Milloy is blowing, then you're not going to understand this response

I didn't hear the whistle. Or do you mean "whistling" that DC needs to prioritize jobs over bike lanes? That's the whistle?

Bike lanes and parking spaces don't even need to enter this equation, because they are red herrings in this argument; the funding and prioritization of one does not affect the funding and prioritization of the other

Of course they are. Since when has comparisons about the "poor" and virtually any other pet issue ever not be a recipe for red herrings. I don't think I've ever read an article arguing that we actually do enough for the poor. In that sense, Milloy is no different.

But let's not also gloss over Ken's point: Point 1: Don't touch my bike lanes.
Point 2: Workforce readiness is a problem.
Point 3: But it's not more of a problem due to bike lane investments, since bike lanes don't cost much.
Point 4: So don't touch my bike lanes

I have no doubt that many of us would read this in the same way. If the crux of Ben's argument is that Milloy is wrong to play this game because we actually DO spend more on job training than bike lanes, then I believe that does miss the whole point of Milloy's article and will easily contribute to the belief that this community actually does care more about bike lanes than jobs.

by HogWash on Dec 4, 2012 2:19 pm • linkreport

Why bike lanes and not subsidies to sports teams, say? Or ice skating rinks. Or well lots of things that are not specifically targeted at the poor, but that DC spends money on. Why always pick on bike lanes?

BTW, does anyone have any actual data on cycling by poor people in DC. Again, in the suburbs cycling is definitely utilized by poor people. For reasons that suggest themselves. I am not clear why its not used that way in DC.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 2:28 pm • linkreport

in the suburbs cycling is definitely utilized by poor people. For reasons that suggest themselves. I am not clear why its not used that way in DC.

Of course in DC cycling is definitely utilized by poor people. Anyone who thinks its not doesn't ride and thus doesn't see the riders; who include the guy in a motorized wheel chair I regularly see using the R St bike line near RI Av.

@Ken - I understand what you're saying, but I don't think Courtland Milloy is the person to give props to on the topic. To repeat what AWITC wrote: why does he use bike lanes as a comparison? Why not swimming pools or ice rinks or signalized cross-walks or libraries? Those things also have been given a visible priority in this city with substantial funding, and also are things middle class white people use.

by Tina on Dec 4, 2012 2:43 pm • linkreport

Moreover, why should someone care more about jobs (at least, what the DC government can do about it) than transportation?

The same thing comes up when we talk about education issues (or don't talk about them to be specific) as if there is an established hierarchy of care that must be observed. Meanwhile the city has an obligation to provide a good education, good transportation options and an environment that attracts growth. Yes there is a question of how to best allocate resources but its silly to think that to care about one you must not care about the other.

by drumz on Dec 4, 2012 2:46 pm • linkreport

@HogWash

I didn't hear the whistle. Or do you mean "whistling" that DC needs to prioritize jobs over bike lanes? That's the whistle?

The dog whistle is bringing up bike lanes and transportation issues at all, which you concede is a red herring. Bike lanes, in the manner and context Milloy uses them, are a codeword for "stuff white people like." Specifically, young newcomer white people, as opposed to the white establishment of Upper Northwest, much of which shares his suburban mentality. The dog whistle message is: "the city is spending its money on stuff newcomer white folk want, instead of on you, you masses of poor DC long-term residents!" The message has to be conveyed in dog whistle form because it is demonstrably untrue, as the statistics that Ben cites show.

Similar coded red herrings that can be substituted for "bike lanes" include "trolly," "dog park," "cupcakery," "froyo," and "yoga."

by Dizzy on Dec 4, 2012 2:55 pm • linkreport

Your SAT hint for the day

Milloy is to Millenials as George Will is Baby Boomers

http://www.reporternews.com/news/2012/nov/27/courtland-milloy-the-cute-little-blonde-a-fell/

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 3:08 pm • linkreport

"is to"

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 3:08 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity --
As Tina mentioned, there is a ton of bicycling in the city that is not done by "myopic little twits." On my regular commute I see dozens of folks who certainly don't fit Mr. Milloy's usual type.

And to goldfish's point, at least a couple of riders that I pass each day (typically between Shaw and downtown) appear to be bringing their kids to school. (Not in approved safety child seats, but bringing them to school nonetheless).

by Jacques on Dec 4, 2012 3:14 pm • linkreport

The issue of funding bike lanes is immaterial to workforce training etc. The cost comes from monies dedicated to transportation. IF they weren't spent on bike lanes they'd be spent on something else transportation-related. They wouldn't instead be spent on non-transportation projects.

2. The issue isn't the amount of money spent on workforce dev. and the K-12 education system. The amount is considerable. It's what happens with the money, training, people etc.

3. And people part of families experiencing multigenerational poverty for the most part require extranormal assistance beyond what is typical for these programs, which is the primary reason these programs aren't that successful.

4. Not to mention that the jobs available for people from these settings are declining in number. And that all organizations-businesses don't want to hire people who require extranormal supervision, management, training, etc. They just don't have the kinds of slack resources necessary to do this.

5. And yes, more could be done to train people how to cycle to increase the range of jobs they can reach more efficiently and save their time--even riding on one or the other end of a commute can reduce significantly the time spent commuting.

Like what the Community Cycling Center of Portland is doing.

http://www.communitycyclingcenter.org/index.php/programs-for-adults/create-a-commuter/

6. Plus, not spending money on transportation (car, transit) is better for household income.

7. Yes, people, especially single families, have other issues. That doesn't mean that they have to drive necessarily, although many people believe so.

e.g. http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2005/0510.waller.html

That's why years ago, FTA funded some projects that put transit and childcare together. Inexcusably, the one project that WMATA did along these lines that I know about is at Shady Grove, hardly a station serving the extremely low income. I imagine that the funding program no longer exists.

The stations EOTR would have been naturals for this. Maybe Minnesota Ave. and Benning Road too.

http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/051112a_Revised_NCNW_brochure.pdf

Doing something like that in DC would be an incredible service to workforce training and integration and would be innovative and transformational. I imagine it's not on the agenda of either economic development and workforce training planning in DC. Tragically.

8. BUt yeah, an entry on this probably wasn't necessary.

by Richard Layman on Dec 4, 2012 3:19 pm • linkreport

But low-income households in DC often don't have cars. In fact, according to Neighborhood Info DC, 52 percent of Ward 8 households have access to cars, compared to 64 percent of DC households on average. It's the lowest rate in the city.

It was a ludicrous argument for Milloy to make. He didn't just complain about bike trails, but all investment in public transit. There should be more public transportation in Anacostia, not less.

Ward 3, by contrast, had 79 percent car access rate.

by lou on Dec 4, 2012 3:22 pm • linkreport

re point 7, Eastern Market station, a node for the 30s and 90s bus lines, would have also been a good site for integration of transit and child care services.

by Richard Layman on Dec 4, 2012 3:22 pm • linkreport

Bike lanes, in the manner and context Milloy uses them, are a codeword for "stuff white people like."

I get your point as well and offer this: When you say, "welfare or crime or inner city" in any context, many, many people will instinctively "hear"...black people and make assumptions from that.

Your SWPL comparison is the very same. Milloy said absolutely nothing about white or black folk. Yet, even though he didn't, some people "hear" SWPL. So how do you move beyond that? Is it Milloy's job to move you beyond thinking that anytime someone mentions bike lanes, it's really serving as a proxy for talking about white folk. I say no. It's your responsibility.

As w/Marion Barry, you can't keep throwing the race card out there just to prove your own point.

If you want gentrification to stop being seen as something "white folk do" then stop bringing it up unannounced. If you want to stop people from pushing the idea that white people like bikes, then banish that meme into the farthest trash bin.

And it beards repeating that Milloy said absolutely nothing tying together "white people, bike lanes, and myopic twits." It's an urban legend and has been used time and time again to Marion Barry'ize an argument.

by HogWash on Dec 4, 2012 3:30 pm • linkreport

Missing. The. Point. There's a wide swath of residents that are daily struggling with hardships of poverty, discrimination, and feel they are ignored or not listened to. Bike lanes are a galvanizing point -- will the "powers" spend more attention on the desires of the affluent, young, and new residents? That's the question on some people's minds. Is there a "progressive" agenda? Sure you can critique what is currently being done. I've done so myself. But that doesn't get us anywhere. To quote another observer -- don't be myopic little twits. Consider the overall picture.

by Tom M on Dec 4, 2012 3:33 pm • linkreport

Back in the 80s, when I was a Wilson student and sometimes biked to school across Rock Creek Park, I would have appreciated a bike lane on Broad Branch Road South of Brandywine. It would have made my commute safer and more enjoyable. I'm disappointed Mr. Milloy isn't doing more to lessen the barriers to Wilson students living East of the park.

by Turtleshell on Dec 4, 2012 3:35 pm • linkreport

hog - can you tell me what he DID mean by it?

If he meant "bike lanes, which are used by people of different races and income levels" why would he contrast spending on them with spending on employment services? Whats the point? It might make sense to compare the latter with wasteful spending, but since the bike lanes are heavily used, promote safety and clean transport, etc they are not wasteful. So its not clear what the point of the reference is.

Similarly when some pundits talk about crime in a way that is done not seem relevant to the topic at hand, it may be correct to infer that they are engaging in a racial dog whistle.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 3:43 pm • linkreport

For reasons that suggest themselves. I am not clear why its not used that way in DC.

Meant to answer this.

I imagine one reason why biking for work isn't common among those EOTR is mainly because there aren't jobs EOTR for them to get. Couple that w/the Anacostia separating us from where most of the jobs are, metro or a vehicle will be how we prioritize our options. Bikes are seen as more recreational than something enabling us to get back and forth to a job. We also wouldn't use Cabi to bike WOTR from east.

by HogWash on Dec 4, 2012 3:44 pm • linkreport

@HogWash

I get your point as well and offer this: When you say, "welfare or crime or inner city" in any context, many, many people will instinctively "hear"...black people and make assumptions from that.

We have an apt term to describe such people. I believe the word is "racists."

Your SWPL comparison is the very same. Milloy said absolutely nothing about white or black folk. Yet, even though he didn't, some people "hear" SWPL. So how do you move beyond that? Is it Milloy's job to move you beyond thinking that anytime someone mentions bike lanes, it's really serving as a proxy for talking about white folk. I say no. It's your responsibility.

People hear it because that's what Milloy intends them to hear. Milloy isn't trying to move anyone beyond such thinking, he is embodying that type of thinking. His job - assuming that his job is to be an incisive and effective social critic, rather than a suburban curmudgeon lashing out that changes he doesn't understand to a city he doesn't live in - is to refrain from utilizing such tropes and whistles. especially when they are completely tangential to the topic at hand, which is unemployment among DC residents.

As w/Marion Barry, you can't keep throwing the race card out there just to prove your own point.

I have no idea what this means.

If you want gentrification to stop being seen as something "white folk do" then stop bringing it up unannounced.

Or this.

If you want to stop people from pushing the idea that white people like bikes, then banish that meme into the farthest trash bin.

Happily. Perhaps if we call Mr. Milloy on it enough, he will accede to said banishment and stop ringing that meme for all it's worth.

And it beards repeating that Milloy said absolutely nothing tying together "white people, bike lanes, and myopic twits." It's an urban legend and has been used time and time again to Marion Barry'ize an argument.

The definition of dog whistle is making implicit connections as a way of creating plausible deniability, due to the absence of explicit affirmations. Newt Gingrich said absolutely nothing tying together "Barack Obama, food stamps, and black people" either. But everyone understood the implicit message. That's how dog whistles work.

by Dizzy on Dec 4, 2012 3:45 pm • linkreport

1. Well with employment coming to St E's and similar would you expect to see more biking from homes EOTR to jobs EOTR?

2. The new 11th street bridge has a bike lane across it I think - are there other good crossings? Will people use them?

3. Biking can be use to access metro. Lots of folks in the suburbs use it that way. My impression was that many folks who live EOTR are not in close walking distance to metro, so that might help?

4. You can bike to a bus stop, put your bike on the bus, ride the bus, and then use your bike to ride to a place not right by the bus lane. Is that ever done?

5. If someone who was close to a metro EOTR worked somewhere WOTR (or in the inner NoVa suburbs) not right by a metro, CaBi could be quite useful for them, no? IIUC in some other cities there has been effort to overcome the need for a credit card to use bikeshare, to make it more available to the "unbanked" who are usually among the poor.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 3:50 pm • linkreport

"Bike lanes" is code for "stuff white people like." Spending money on bike lanes and not employment is a dog whistle that money is being "wasted." The problem is not the spednding of money, its that the code is wrong. Bike lanes can and are used by poor people. For those that don't use bikes, we should ask why.

Example: an in-law works at McDonalds, and cannot afford a car. Other in-laws pay for her bus passes to the tune of about $50/month. Yet 98% of her travel is within 12 miles on flat ground, in a bike friendly city. $100 would get her a decent used bike.

by SJE on Dec 4, 2012 3:52 pm • linkreport

The Council of Governments contracted with America Speaks for focus groups on transportation priorities and needs in the region. Please note that bike lanes wasn't an identified priority. What weight should be placed on public opinion in prioritizing allocation of public resources?
Substantively, participants prioritized the top five (out of 12) transportation-related challenges facing the region as:
Deferred Metrorail maintenance causes unreliability
The transportation system is too congested
Many people cannot access affordable and convenient transit
Many residential areas have limited transportation options
Aging roadways need repair

Deferred maintenance of Metro was, by some margin, the top vote-getter.

Participants also proposed an additional set of challenges for the TPB to consider, including:
Lack of funding to support maintenance, expand transportation options, or address critical bottlenecks
Lack of opportunities for communities near underdeveloped Metro stations to articulate their needs and preferences
Lack of transparency and trust in management of transportation systems
Insufficient safety education for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians
Difficulty in striking a proper balance between development and environmental preservation

by Tom M on Dec 4, 2012 3:55 pm • linkreport

1. deferred Metrorail maintenance causes unreliability

yes, and thats a big issue for the region.

2. The transportation system is too congested

Biking can help relieve both road and transit congestion.

3'Many people cannot access affordable and convenient transit

Given that a transit walkshed is only about 1/2 mile, and that a bikeshed, esp with good bike infrastructure, can be several times that, bike infrastructure can help address that

4.Many residential areas have limited transportation options

Adding bike facilities will increase options

5. Aging roadways need repair

Okay

"Difficulty in striking a proper balance between development and environmental preservation"

Bike facilities could be one way to do that.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 4:03 pm • linkreport

Sure you can critique what is currently being done. I've done so myself. But that doesn't get us anywhere. To quote another observer -- don't be myopic little twits. Consider the overall picture.

Surely pointing out the amount that city spends on job training programs vs. bike infrastructure where a columnist for the Washington Post failed to do the very same is considering the larger picture.

by drumz on Dec 4, 2012 4:07 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity -- While you may be prefer biking, not everybody is intersted in biking. In fact, if you look at the priorities, the regional focus groups didn't identify biking and bike facilities as a priority. Should that fact be ignored because you know best for all the rest?

by Tom M on Dec 4, 2012 4:08 pm • linkreport

@tom

if 2% of the people prefer biking, and it was proposed to spend 25% of regional transport dollars on biking, that would clearly be a mistake.

However AFAICT the amount of $$ spent on biking (including infrastructure, bikeshare, education, and enforcement) is quite small relative to expenditures on either roads, or the various transit modes.

The focus groups did not id biking as a priority, but they did ID problems that biking can be PART of the solution to. Its not clear to me from the results you quote that they were averse to using biking as part of the solution.

That X does not solve a big problem, does not imply X is a bad thing, especially when the cost of X is a relatively small expenditure.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 4:15 pm • linkreport

@tom

it appears that you quoted selectively

"Participants also generated a list of 10 additional strategies to be considered, with increased incentives and improved infrastructure for the use of transit, carpooling, walking, and biking receiving the most votes."

Respect for the terms of service restrains me from saying what I am thinking.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 4:18 pm • linkreport

why do people selectively quote sources that are unline, when the very next paragraph undermines their point? Its as if we lived in a world without internet search.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 4:19 pm • linkreport

@AWITC +1
@Tom M - the failure of the focus grp to identify biking as a transportation option tells me that most people do not yet see and accept biking as a transportation option. However we have abundant research -hypothesis driven research not just focus groups summaries -that show us that where biking (and walking) infrastructure is added & improved biking and walking increase in overwhelming statistically significant numbers as a a form of transportation, not just as recreation.

Biking as transportation in this country is growing in acceptance and use and will continue to grow. The multiple benefits from this are already seen in results from the Non-motorized pilot program from 2005,
http://www.railstotrails.org/ourwork/advocacy/policyandfunding/federaltransportationbill/ntpp.html

by Tina on Dec 4, 2012 4:24 pm • linkreport

TomM --yes it should be "ignored." One, focus groups aren't perfect. Two and most important, at the metropolitan scale transportation planning operates differently than it does at the suburban primary and secondary network level and at the center city primary, secondary, and tertiary network level.

Probably the TPB effort will suck. (I know a couple people involved with the effort who have told me they expect it won't really go anywhere.)

Probably they could up their game significantly if they would get my presentation on metropolitan mass transit planning.

http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2010/07/metropolitan-mass-transit-planning.html

Anyway, biking makes the most sense at the 3-7 mile distances. I think that would fall out of the kinds of questions a metropolitan planning scale effort would get at.

With the exception of the fact that 51% of trips are 3 miles or less and an additional 13% are 3-5 miles. All are achieveable distances by biking.

In short short, biking should be a hyper priority in DC proper, even if it isn't elsewhere in the metropolitan area.

- http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2011/06/pardigm-change-and-setting-goals-for.html

by Richard Layman on Dec 4, 2012 4:28 pm • linkreport

@AWITC -I posted my comment above before you did some fact checking. thanks.

by Tina on Dec 4, 2012 4:32 pm • linkreport

@tina and richard

The focus groups DID identify biking as a strategy that should be considered, though they seem to have favored encouraging it with TDM and infrastructure rather than expanded bike sharing.

Tom failed to quote that part of the report.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 4:34 pm • linkreport

"all is fair in love and culture-war"

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 4:35 pm • linkreport

Happily. Perhaps if we call Mr. Milloy on it enough, he will accede to said banishment and stop ringing that meme for all it's worth.

Super! Let's wait until Milloy accedes before you acknowledge any of your own responsibility in pushing the racial divide. Seems like one of those instances where "dog whistling" is a one-way street.

Well with employment coming to St E's and similar would you expect to see more biking from homes EOTR to jobs EOTR?

Many of those in need of said jobs won't be able to pass the security clearance.

The new 11th street bridge has a bike lane across it I think - are there other good crossings? Will people use them?

Likely not.

My impression was that many folks who live EOTR are not in close walking distance to metro, so that might help?

Likely not. No more helpful than for those WOTR who bike to metro. I don't believe many do this in DC

You can bike to a bus stop, put your bike on the bus, ride the bus, and then use your bike to ride to a place not right by the bus lane. Is that ever done?

Sure. I see it everyday. But even that has it limits.

If someone who was close to a metro EOTR worked somewhere WOTR (or in the inner NoVa suburbs) not right by a metro, CaBi could be quite useful for them, no?

Sure. But since most don't see it as an option. That too wouldn't work. EOTR, Cabi is only an amenity for most. Not a necessity.

by HogWash on Dec 4, 2012 4:36 pm • linkreport

My impression was that many folks who live EOTR are not in close walking distance to metro, so that might help?

Likely not. No more helpful than for those WOTR who bike to metro. I don't believe many do this in DC

...come on...

by Tina on Dec 4, 2012 4:40 pm • linkreport

St E's may well have private employment before it gets DHS (other than Coast Guard)

Do few people bike to metro in DC? My understanding is that bike racks at metro stations in DC are widely available and heavily used (as are those in NoVa, of course).

Also some of the lack of use of biking seems to be due to perception. In which case adding to the perception of biking as a luxury, rather than as a utility of interest to working class people, as Mr Milloy seems to be doing, probably does not help.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 4:42 pm • linkreport

"Bike lanes" is code for "stuff white people like."

Or rather, something white people heard and have convinced themselves that whenever a bike is mentioned, it's talking about no one else but them. Much like the myopic twit and gentrification argument. White people believe this about themselves and interject it into arguments where them as a topic doesn't exist.

While you may be prefer biking, not everybody is intersted in biking.

And this gets to the crux of yet another argument. The idea that because you like it and think it's' good for you, then everyone else should as well. Sorry, that's just not how it works. I know people who use metro during the week and wouldn't be caught dead using it outside of that. Everybody will not love walking, biking or taking transit.

So we can produce study after study showing how something is good for you, but it won't change people's already-settled positions. We've long known about the dangers of smoking cigarettes..there's even a warning label on the package.

Yet, people still choose to smoke.

by HogWash on Dec 4, 2012 4:43 pm • linkreport

AWITC -- thanks. But even so, the issue becomes dealing with those 0-3 and 3-5 mile distances (and I argue with e-bikes commuting distance can be extended another few miles). And then where and when. So while in Loudoun it doesn't make sense to bike to work, in DC it does.

And of course, as you (and others point out) a bike significantly extends the range that people can get around more quickly. E.g. when I lived by Union Station and worked in Crystal City and didn't bike across the river, I would bike to Lenfant Plaza, which significantly shortened the amount of time I needed to spend on transit. Etc.

plus check out the Community Cycling Center of Portland link.

by Richard Layman on Dec 4, 2012 4:45 pm • linkreport

"Or rather, something white people heard and have convinced themselves that whenever a bike is mentioned, it's talking about no one else but them."

Er, no, I regularly see both black people riding, and poor hispanic people riding (the black people I see riding in NoVa mostly appear middle class, so I can't say I've seen a lot of poor black people riding - I was genuinely puzzled that they don't and people here have informed me that they do.

Rather its that when COURTLAND MILLOY mentions bike riding we think he's referring to white people. That he mentions it in context of Wilson HS boundaries, say, or, in a different context, with cupcake shops and froyo (though I know there are black people who enjoy those too) feeds that suspicion. Again, if its NOT meant to be read as SWPL, what was the point of mentioning it in this column?

"And this gets to the crux of yet another argument. The idea that because you like it and think it's' good for you, then everyone else should as well."

But of course no one has said that. Rather that enough people will use it, that it can help with transportation problems, and should be funded (and again, the funds involved are small relative to other modes)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 4:50 pm • linkreport

. The idea that because you like it and think it's' good for you, then everyone else should as well. Sorry, that's just not how it works. I know people who use metro during the week and wouldn't be caught dead using it outside of that. Everybody will not love walking, biking or taking transit.

This is true, that's why nobody is saying we should get rid of other modes completely and concentrate only on bikes/transit/etc.

People are only saying that these modes are underfunded with respect to their current and potential mode share.

So we can produce study after study showing how something is good for you, but it won't change people's already-settled positions.

Actually, it will change some people because there are always people at the margins who would easily be convinced by a change in the status quo. For example, people don't just choose to bike more because studies say it's good for you, they bike more when we build infrastructure that makes it easier to bike more. That's because there are people out their who would bike (they may know it or not) but don't until that bike lane goes in front of their house and gives them a reason to change their behavior.

Sticking to the status quo is always a self-fulfilling prophecy, though:
1. "Nobody will change their behavior, so we shouldn't change anything"
2. Proceed to not change anything
3. Result: environment/behaviors stay the same!
4. QED: "See, people will not change!"

by MLD on Dec 4, 2012 4:52 pm • linkreport

@richard

actually a significant minority of LoCo residents have short commutes for which biking would be ideal - AFAICT their low bike share has more to do with A. Poor infrastructure (the W&OD apart) and B. an autocentric "bikers are athletes in lycra riding in pelletons on the W&O or else poor hispanics who I do not want to resemble" mentality on the part of both residents and businesses than with commute patterns.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 4, 2012 4:53 pm • linkreport

..I know people who use metro during the week and wouldn't be caught dead using it outside of that.

Thats the point. those people ride metro b/c its the best available option to them for getting to work. Do you think they think everyone should ride metro just b/c thats their best option?

I hate riding metro to work. I have another option; I prefer to ride my bike. But I NEVER go for a ride on the weekend. In my world biking is for transportation, not leisure. That does not mean I think everyone should ride. It does mean I support infrastructure that allows more people to choose it if they wish.

I am in a situation where i have the option to choose my first choice for primary transportation-biking. W/o biking infrastructure the barrier to that choice would be so high I couldn't choose it, and I would be FORCED to ride metro or bus.

by Tina on Dec 4, 2012 4:57 pm • linkreport

Metro did do a survey of biking to stations:

http://planitmetro.com/2012/08/02/2012-bicycle-parking-census-at-metrorail-stations/

Not many people bike to EOTR stations. That's likely because there is basically no bike infrastructure EOTR except for a few trails in the parks. So there is no bike infrastructure that connects places where people live to the Metro. But provide a safe place to bike and a safe place to put your bike for the day where it won't get stolen, and a number of people would probably choose to bike when its nice over waiting for the bus to the Metro or driving.

by MLD on Dec 4, 2012 5:04 pm • linkreport

Er, no, I regularly see both black people riding, and poor hispanic people riding (the black people I see riding in NoVa mostly appear middle class,
- Rather its that when COURTLAND MILLOY mentions bike riding we think he's referring to white people.

Oh ok, so you get to decide what black people like Milloy "really" mean when we talk about bike lanes. Alrighty then! Let's use only anecdotal information, I haven't seen nor heard black folk refer to bike lanes and even the idea of bike riding as something white folks like. Have you met anymany black folk who believe this? OTOH, I have seen and heard white people suggest that when bike lanes are mentioned in DC, its talking specifically about them. Have you met anymany white folk who believe such?

I'm conceding that I'm using anecdotal info here.

@AWITC But of course no one has said that.

You didn't have to. We all know what you mean whenever you talk about the fact that the poor can benefit from bikes/lanes.

t will change some people because there are always people at the margins who would easily be convinced by a change in the status quo.

Of course "some" will. Didn't think it necessary to make point that out.

by HogWash on Dec 4, 2012 5:09 pm • linkreport

If someone who was close to a metro EOTR worked somewhere WOTR (or in the inner NoVa suburbs) not right by a metro, CaBi could be quite useful for them, no?

Sure. But since most don't see it as an option. That too wouldn't work. EOTR, Cabi is only an amenity for most. Not a necessity.

EotR is pretty hilly, WotR is much flatter. I would expect that the hilliness EotR would make people much less likely to bike.

by goldfish on Dec 4, 2012 5:19 pm • linkreport

Hogwash: I do not presume to tell people how they should get around, or where they should go, or that biking somehow makes them better. I advocate for bikes as an OPTION, and want to ensure that people have biking as an option. 60 years of car-centric planning not only removed bikes from the conciousness, but made biking impractical and dangerous. I want that reversed, so people have the option.

The story about my in-law is an example of spending hundreds of dollars to subsidize one form of transportation when there is a far cheaper alternative. On the larger scale we should consider making biking and walking safer and a reasonable alternative, instead of continuing to subsidize rides on WMATA. It certainly looks a lot cheaper.

by SJE on Dec 4, 2012 5:37 pm • linkreport

A similar example is safe routes to schools versus busing. If local govt can make it safe to walk or ride the 1-2 miles to school, they could do away with much of the school buses.

by SJE on Dec 4, 2012 5:39 pm • linkreport

Bike lanes on L and M streets help those who work there and can bike there frequently.

Why only those who bike there frequently? And what about people who benefit from the free-rider benefits of less congestion, cleaner air, more Metro seats, better public health and such? Aren't they helped?

Bike lanes on L and M streets only help everybody who lives in or works in DC.

by David C on Dec 4, 2012 5:49 pm • linkreport

Ken Archer took the words out of my mouth, so to address two other points:

1) Poor people bike. Go stand on the 2100 block of MLK Ave SE and you will see people biking all hours of the day. It may not be a fancy bike, but for many of them it's cheaper than public transit and they don't own a car.

2) To Hogwash's point... Regardless of Courtland Milloy's intent or whether he was speaking in code, it does GGW a service to acknowledge it as code.

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Dec 4, 2012 6:18 pm • linkreport


...it does GGW a service to acknowledge it as code.
??
Is there a word missing from this phrase? if not please forgive my denseness, but I don't grasp the meaning. Can you elaborate?

by Tina on Dec 4, 2012 6:25 pm • linkreport

Typo.... *disservice

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Dec 4, 2012 6:35 pm • linkreport

Coding or not when milloy calls people who advocate for walkable streets Myopic Little Twits, compares his inability to speed on 395 as a restriction on his freedom of movement and then castigates transportation planners for not solving poverty while (intentionally or unintentionally) neglecting to mention pertinent facts about funding for poverty programs vs. bikes then why are we really trying to delve into his intent. His work stands for itself and that's what needs to be corrected, Milloy can worry about his intent.

by Drumz on Dec 4, 2012 8:09 pm • linkreport

Ms V: how does it do a disservice? Milloy said "what if the city got as serious about creating jobs as making bike lanes?" In DC the bicycling coordinator is a single person, part time. A few hundred thousand is spent on bike lanes. By comparison, the jobs program has a budget of over $100million and employs a heckuava lot more than 1 person. There is simply no factual basis to claim that DC is more serious about bike lanes than it is about jobs.
So, why make the comparison? Why make such a ridiculous statement? If its not a dog whistle, what is Milloy trying to say?

by SJE on Dec 4, 2012 8:10 pm • linkreport

@SJE: ...an in-law works at McDonalds, and cannot afford a car. Other in-laws pay for her bus passes to the tune of about $50/month. Yet 98% of her travel is within 12 miles on flat ground, in a bike friendly city. $100 would get her a decent used bike.

The economics here are very interesting. Consider the alternative: for say $150/month, the working-poor in-law could probably afford the gas and insurance for a beater, and thereby gain access to much better paying but still low-skill jobs beyond the range of the bus commute. Places like Tyson's or near Dulles. I have a friend that commutes from EotR to a job serving food at NIH; he goes that far because of the pay. So for the price of a car (~ $1000) and an extra $100/month in auto expenses the worker could do far better, probably double his/her pay and build up some skills and get out of the dead-end job.

It is true that poor people bike or take the bus, but the crippling loss of mobility of such means of transport really limits the job opportunities. That is why, as soon as they are able, these people get a car -- and it is the smart thing to do.

All of this is to say that bike lanes do not help people get out of poverty, but a car does.

by goldfish on Dec 4, 2012 10:35 pm • linkreport

Like others, I echo the sentiment of how many millions of dollars are spent in this town on job programs, economic development, homelessness, and other social programs, as compared to the chump change spent on bike lanes. I agree that these two subjects have nothing to do with each other, and the resources assigned to these subjects clearly speak for themselves. I think an issue possibly could be is there as much energy and enthusiasm put into the social programs by the agencies and advocates as there is for the bike lanes, at least that's what it looks like to me. Or is money just being poured into the social programs because it has to be, but with no real expectations of anything happening.

And if that's the case, stop spending the money on social programs all together if nothing's being done to figure out why the programs are not bringing down the unemployment rate or whatever the case may be. I can think of plenty of other things to spend my tax money on, not some social programs that aren't working and that I will never see a benefit from. And yes, there clearly is a divide in this city, so let's all acknowledge this fact and move past it. Then maybe we can move forward. Also, it's kind of old talking about all these "long time residents" a lot of these types of articles talk about. I don't know a single person that was born and grew up in this town. Marion Barry is from Mississippi, Chuck Brown was from North Carolina. And on and on. Can't we all just be district residents, regardless of when we moved here.

by Nickyp on Dec 4, 2012 10:59 pm • linkreport

yes EOTR is hilly. That has to limit biking. And the distance to get to jobs, plus the problem of crossing the river, depresses willingness to bike. But if it's faster to get to a subway station, I'd do it...

2. SJE -- DC has at least 3 people who deal with biking full time, a couple who deal with sharing including biking and TDM, and a supervisor who deals with them, TDM and walking (at least one person does that full time). The guy in charge of the forestry division also spends some time supervising bike trails.

3. There's no reason bike lanes don't help people get out of poverty, depending on where they work. See the program at the community cycling center of Portland. It all depends. And it's a lot cheaper (granted with less range) to own a bike than a car. That's just something that needs to be focused on more to better ensure that such benefits are realized.

by Richard Layman on Dec 4, 2012 11:41 pm • linkreport

All of this is to say that bike lanes do not help people get out of poverty, but a car does.

I think this is wrong on both counts. I suspect that car ownership has driven more of the working poor into bankruptcy than it has helped out of poverty. There are many stories of people who lose their car for one reason or another and then lose their job. Or who's cars are towed (even if erroneously) and for whom the towing and storage fees quickly overwhelm their ability to pay. And then how many $100 speeding tickets does it take to blow up the budget of someone living paycheck to paycheck at $8 an hour?

"The poorest fifth of Americans spend 42% of their annual household budget on the purchase, operation, and maintenance of automobiles, more than twice as much as the national average.

From 1959-1999, households went into car debt 7.4 times faster than the increase in total spending, while the savings rate dropped from 7.5 percent to zero.

Low income people typically have older cars and unexpected repair costs. Because of credit problems, they are often subjected to sub-prime loans with higher interest rates. These predatory lending schemes could result in car repossession, worsening credit, and a lack of transportation to work."

by David C on Dec 5, 2012 8:42 am • linkreport

Richard, you're talking about people who deal with biking, SJE is talking about who works on bike lanes - and that is Mike Goodno. And he has other responsibilities.

Hills might reduce biking a little, but San Francisco is the hilliest major city in the US and also a city with a large amount of transportational cycling. The weather argument can also be knocked down by experience (Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis). What really limits cycling is infrastructure and sprawl. That's what the cities with high and low bike commuters have in common.

by David C on Dec 5, 2012 8:49 am • linkreport

Want to really help the poor? Encourage them to move to Minot, ND. Conditions are so bad that one big box store is flying employees in from Wisconsin, putting them up in a hotel while they work, giving them per diem and paying them $13 an hour. There just aren't any unemployed people there. [I understand the social reasons why this isn't reasonable, but it's still good advice: "Go North (Dakota) Young Man."

by David C on Dec 5, 2012 8:51 am • linkreport

Cars may improve access to jobs for the poor, if only because we have shitty land use and so transit can't connect lots of places.

But as David C points out, car costs often eat up a lot of income for the working poor. That's partially because they buy older, cheaper cars, which may cost less up front (a necessity since the poor can't save much to buy) but have increased gas/maintenance costs (less fuel-efficient, more maintenance needed due to age).

Not saying we should prevent people from gaining this access, but the idea that the long-term solution is to give everyone easy car access to everything (which is impossible) is ridiculous. The best long-term solution would be to try to concentrate jobs in accessible clusters so people can access those jobs easily and cheaply via transit.

by MLD on Dec 5, 2012 8:59 am • linkreport

I too am confused as to why calling out such disingenuousness on the part of a Washington Post senior columnist when he is discussing transportation and urban issues does GGW a disservice.

The results of said disingenuousness were on display at the parking summit last night, as one speaker after another assailed bike lanes as a plot being foisted onto upstanding churchgoing folk by nefarious newcomers.

by Dizzy on Dec 5, 2012 9:46 am • linkreport

David C -- how about some cites. I meant to make a similar point, and forgot. Thanks.

wrt your point about Mike Goodno, Heather D. works on trails and those are like bike lanes, and Chris H. works on parking etc. which is still relevant to the support of bike lanes.

I think they all need to be considered.

by Richard Layman on Dec 5, 2012 9:57 am • linkreport

...bike lanes as a plot being foisted onto upstanding churchgoing folk...

Been to Shiloh on Sunday? I recommend it; it is very friendly with intense preaching, and the choir will absolutely blow you away.

However, parking around there is impossible; and bike lanes make the problem worse. Do not forget that church members vote early and often, and some of them still live in DC.

by goldfish on Dec 5, 2012 10:01 am • linkreport

My point is GGW needs a different strategy to address the Courtland Milloys of DC. He writes what he writes, because he knows it will get a response from GGW and the bigger result of page hits. Ben did a great job of showing the spending differences between job training and bike lanes. However, the questions GGW could tackle are what Ben included in his comments

Over the last two years, the District has funded the Divison of Workforce Development to the tune of $110 million, and yet its programs aren't working and unemployment in the poorest areas of the city remains startlingly high. Why is that? What isn't working? What could the city do better? What other urban job training programs have been successful that the District might be able to emulate?

So my point is rather than come back on the defensive, perhaps its time for GGW (myself as a contributor included) to examine problems/solutions to some of the other urban challenges

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Dec 5, 2012 10:06 am • linkreport

Goldfish: my in-law has a beater pickup truck, but it broke down all the time (as beaters do). All her spare money went into car. As David C notes, the car is probably a bigger contributor to her poverty than any other source. As for commuting to other jobs: she lacks the skills required to get a middle income job. There is no better paying job for her that she can drive to. Faced with that, and not wanting to move to Minot ND, she still needs to get around. If we want to help her, do we buy her another beater, pay for bus fare, or get her a bike? The bike is the cheapest option.

by SJE on Dec 5, 2012 10:15 am • linkreport

"Oh ok, so you get to decide what black people like Milloy "really" mean when we talk about bike lanes. "

No, not "black folk like Milloy". Just Courtland Milloy himself. The content of his columns shows me what he means when refers to black lines, without knowledge of the complexion of his skin. If you want a racially blind dicussion of CM, why mention his race? Are you trying to privilege what he says because he is black?

"@AWITC But of course no one has said that.

You didn't have to. We all know what you mean whenever you talk about the fact that the poor can benefit from bikes/lanes."

What do you think I mean when I say that?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 10:21 am • linkreport

@Goldfish

"Been to Shiloh on Sunday? I recommend it; it is very friendly with intense preaching, and the choir will absolutely blow you away."

Ironnically the real Shiloh for which it is named, was a Jewish city (on what is now the West Bank) where riding on the Sabbath day would have been banned. Today observant Jews do not drive on the Sabbath, but walk to Synagogue. A pedestrian unfriendly city is intrinsically hostile to their religion.

by ReligionNerd on Dec 5, 2012 10:25 am • linkreport

Ms V: I agree that we need to focus on the incorrect facts of the Courtland Milloys of this world. At the same time, we should call out those who stoke racism, fear, and other sorts of divisiveness to push an agenda. The problem with Milloy is not just that his facts are wrong, but that he pushes class and racial anxieties, and demonizes the other.

by SJE on Dec 5, 2012 10:27 am • linkreport

Veronica, I just want to point out that I also addressed the issue you pulled from my comment in the original post above. Rather than look at things like "job training programs" and "bike lanes" as competing priorities, I agree that a better strategy would be to look at the immense amount of resources the city is putting into DOES services and determining whether they are having the intended effect. The persistently high unemployment rate EOTR seems to indicate that the answer to that question is "no".

by Ben on Dec 5, 2012 10:43 am • linkreport

I have a proposal that I think we can all support.

I'm pretty sure GGW will have some posts in the near-term future on workforce development. When there is an opportunity to take action - by contacting CMs or testifying at a hearing - let's show this city and folks like Mr Milloy that we really care about these issues by actually taking action and being out in front as part of the solution to effective workforce development.

by Ken Archer on Dec 5, 2012 10:48 am • linkreport

Today observant Jews do not drive on the Sabbath, but walk to Synagogue.

I think you mean orthodox. There are lots of observant Jews that drive on the sabbath, who are conservative or reformed.
And yes, pedestrian unfriendly city is hostile to orthodox Judaism. To practice this in DC means a Jew must live in or near Georgetown, a neighborhood of DC that few can afford.

by goldfish on Dec 5, 2012 10:52 am • linkreport

Many observant Conservative Jews will not drive on the Sabbath. The leniency that allows driving on Sabbath is actually more limited in its application than many realize and not all C rabbis accept its legitimacy - it was itself an "emergency" response to suburbanization.

by ReligionNerd on Dec 5, 2012 11:07 am • linkreport

and few Reform Jews are observant in the sense I mean.

by ReligionNerd on Dec 5, 2012 11:08 am • linkreport

I read this blog b/c it focuses on land use planning and transportation. Why should GGW get involved in articles investigating job's programs unless the programs are directly related to land use planning and transportation? (like the series on contracts for the silver line, e.g.)

I think its appropriate to push back on CM, and others, for vilifying a type of transportation that is affordable for individuals, cheap for the city to provide the infrastructure for, increases personal freedom and has other benefits.

Its pushing back on the uncreative and static mindset that its ok for everyone to be dependent on a car to get to a job. Its not ok. In a city and region like this, Its never ok to force someone into a situation where they must be dependent on a single type of transportation.

I am not dependent on buses, trains and cars b/c there is some decent biking infrastructure without which i would not have the option of biking. I save hundreds of dollars a year. Thank you DC and DDOT!! This savings has allowed me to take a job that I like more but that pays less than the car-dependent job I had previously. My quality of life is improved in every way b/c I have the option to bike.

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 11:11 am • linkreport

@tina

This blog has two personalities, based I guess on Dave's interests - its a transport/land use blog about the whole metro area, and its a District of Columbia blog about all aspects of governance including corruption, education, etc (education and related issues in the suburbs have never been covered as far as I know). I too am here for the transport/land use coverage, but I realize others are here for different reasons.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 11:17 am • linkreport

@SJE: buy her a used police cruiser; they are cheap, particularly at auctions, and they are cheap to fix (but get lousy mileage).

If she goes to ND she will need a car. Otherwise if she stays there are good opportunities in say health, where the training for certain nurses can be a few weeks, and hospitals are always hiring for pretty good pay. Usually student aid is available to get her through the schooling. If health is not what she wants she can climb the waitress ladder -- at a good restaurant servers do very well. She will need to build experience for this, of course. Please wish her luck.

People that are trying to pull out of poverty will need mobility, and the best way to get that is with a car which are usually within their means. The bankruptcy argument is weak -- it is better to have tried and failed than to have not tried at all. I know some very wealthy people that have declared bankruptcy, after which they bounced back very nicely.

Responsibility for children usually pushes a parent with few resources to strive for a better life. These are the ones that are struggling with a beater; they do not have time for frivolous recreation and bike lanes don't cut it. The parents I see delivering kids to school on bicycle are not poor.

by goldfish on Dec 5, 2012 11:18 am • linkreport

AWITC: We'd like to be talking about other issues in the suburbs too; I just haven't found folks who want to write about them from a policy point of view. But I'm working on it, and if anyone wants to help, please get in touch.

by David Alpert on Dec 5, 2012 11:21 am • linkreport

@Ken -I was writing my comment when yours above was posted. Its not a direst response to what you suggested, which I have no problem with. Its very noble. Its just that I have an advocacy issue that takes all my energy and focus, and its not jobs programs.

One of the reasons I'm passionate about active transportation is b/c of the public health impact. Communities that need jobs programs are also communities disproportionately affected by preventable chronic diseases; the very same diseases that are downstream from sedentary lifestyles, which we know built environments to be a major contributor.

I care about preventing needless disease and crashes due to poorly designed environments. I'm not about to get involved in jobs programs too; unless its to show how walkable-bikeable environments have economic benefits.

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 11:23 am • linkreport

@dave

Okay. I think though that may be a circularity problem - most of the suburbanites active in this blog are I suspect, mainly drawn here for the transport/landuse/environmentalism issues. If and when I write something, it will be on those issues.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 11:26 am • linkreport

@AWITC -yes, ok.

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 11:27 am • linkreport

"These are the ones that are struggling with a beater; they do not have time for frivolous recreation and bike lanes don't cut it. "

A. as noted numerous times, there are lots of poor people in this region who do use bikes for transportation

B. recreation is certainly not frivolous - its a major public health concern

C. Bike lanes don't necessarily interfere with auto usage, but by taking cars off the road can improve conditions for those who do drive.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 11:31 am • linkreport

@AWITC -yes, anyone who thinks physical activity is frivolous is doomed to premature morbidity and death.

I work with people at risk of this who say "i don't have time to walk 20 minutes a day; I have to take care of my family". One way we convince some people to start some kind of physical activity (PA) is showing them that if they don't get their hypertension & other risk factors under control they will die of stroke and leave their families on their own.

One of the problems for walking (the most common, popular, cheapest & most obviously accessible form of P.A.) many people cite is unsafe environments due to lack of sidewalks/speeding traffic/unsafe crossings, etc. I.e. infrastructure.

Does Courtland Milloy want people to become prematurely disabled from preventable chronic disease? This has major negative impacts on an individuals' and a communities' economic stability. If CM (and others) condemning active transport infrastructure cared about people who are economically disadvantaged he (and they) would advocate for infrastructure that creates more opportunities for active transportation. It helps people. Courtland Milloy obviously is ignorant of the concept of Health in All Policies.

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 11:48 am • linkreport

@Goldfish

To guesstimate you can get a car for $150 a month is Mitt Romney-esque. It is just simply not true.

Even cut rate insurance will be $40/month. Driving from Anacostia to NIH is 22 miles via the beltway. Tysons is 17 miles, and Reston is 27. These distances are even further if you go further into SE. I think it is generous to say that beater would get 20 MPG, but its possible, so even assuming that, you would be using between 2-3 gallons of gas a day. So you are spending between $7-$10.50 in gas per day. Assuming 22 work days per month, you are looking at $154-$231 (call it $185 on average) a month in gas. Take into account an oil change every third month, is another $10-$15/month. Also, when you buy a $1,000 beater, you can assume you will be putting a lot of money into repairs, or buying another beater in 2 years best case scenario. That works out to another $40/month. With these numbers, you are looking at $280/month, or $3,400 a year.

In addition, to assume you are going to earn double, just because you get a job in Reston is just simply not true. If you have no skills, perhaps you can earn $10/hour, instead of $8.25 an hour at the Anacostia McDonalds. The entire increase in wages (2000 hoursx$1.75/hour)=$3,500, is eaten up by the cost of your car, and you are spending an extra 5 hours a week commutting.

by Kyle-W on Dec 5, 2012 11:50 am • linkreport

Goldfish: Any poor person can use any method they like. But if we are helping them, how do we get the best outcome on limited resources?

A car may be necessary for many jobs. But $50/week gas (especially for Crown Vic) is a strain on a tight budget, let alone $500 for a brake job. If we make it such that poor people HAVE to drive, and they are not making enough money, we keep them in poverty. If we make it such that biking is feasible, a used bike is cheaper for the person helping, and cheaper for the person being helped. Again, people can use any way they like. But asking others to pay for it is another thing. If I thought a car was the only thing my in-law (my wife's cousin, BTW) stopping her from getting a decent job that would pay for the car, I would write her a check now.

As for Minot ND: there are least 6 bike shops, and even is an electric assist bike manufacturer in Minot. So clearly some people bike in Minot, and its not just mountain biking.

by SJE on Dec 5, 2012 11:55 am • linkreport

Richard, try this.

Also, I don't disagree with your analysis of the DC bike team, only that the issue here is bike lanes - and that's what SJE was talking about.

by David C on Dec 5, 2012 12:03 pm • linkreport

@goldfish, a car is a very good way to get mobility, but helicopters are even better. We should invest in massive helicopter support infrastructure and buy the poor all helicopters and that will help them get good jobs.

Unless, you think we should limit the money we spend on mobility, in which case building walkable/bikeable neighborhoods coupled with good transit is best.

by David C on Dec 5, 2012 12:11 pm • linkreport

-additionally, adding driving hours to someone's daily routine increases risk for developing type II diabetes.

https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/shj/www/2011TP.pdf

NIH is well served by public transit from all around the region. There is no reason why someone must drive to NIH.

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 12:14 pm • linkreport

The problem with Milloy is not just that his facts are wrong, but that he pushes class and racial anxieties, and demonizes the other.

No, white people just think he does and have simply Al Sharptonized him. So it's a no-win situation for him. If he doesn't mention race, he's guilty for offending white folk. If he does, he's equally guilty. Lose. Lose.

Does Courtland Milloy want people to become prematurely disabled from preventable chronic disease?

Do transit advocates care about anything or idea they didn't come up w/themselves?

If we make it such that biking is feasible, a used bike is cheaper for the person helping, and cheaper for the person being helped.

Sure, but as DC has shown, most people don't ride bikes...poor or otherwise. It's helpful for overweight people to lose weight. We're still a nation of fat folk,

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 12:31 pm • linkreport

"The problem with Milloy is not just that his facts are wrong, but that he pushes class and racial anxieties, and demonizes the other.
No, white people just think he does and have simply Al Sharptonized him. So it's a no-win situation for him. If he doesn't mention race, he's guilty for offending white folk. If he does, he's equally guilty. Lose. Lose."

He is equally guilty whether he explicity mentions race, or dogwhistles it. I would say the same about Newt Gingrich. He could win by addressing issues on their merits. I have still not been shown why bike lanes are relevant to the question of job services.

"Does Courtland Milloy want people to become prematurely disabled from preventable chronic disease?

Do transit advocates care about anything or idea they didn't come up w/themselves?"

Of course they do. But thats a non sequitur of a question. So - DOES Milloy want people to become prematurely disabled from preventable chronic disease? I still don't see an answer to that quetion.

"If we make it such that biking is feasible, a used bike is cheaper for the person helping, and cheaper for the person being helped.

Sure, but as DC has shown, most people don't ride bikes...poor or otherwise. It's helpful for overweight people to lose weight. We're still a nation of fat folk,"

But if we have more bike lanes, more people will bike, and we will have fewer fat folk, and healthier people. Ergo, bike lanes provide benefits, including to poor people of all races. So again, why should they be set up as in rivalry to jobs programs?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 12:40 pm • linkreport

but as DC has shown, most people don't ride bikes...poor or otherwise.

Au contraire. More than half of all Americans will get on a bike this year. So, most people do ride bikes.

by David C on Dec 5, 2012 12:40 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash -Does Courtland Milloy want people to become prematurely disabled from preventable chronic disease?

Do transit advocates care about anything or idea they didn't come up w/themselves?

I don't understand your response. I mean, I don't comprehend what idea you are trying to communicate. Can you elaborate?

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 12:44 pm • linkreport

Off Topic: I need to point out that you don't need to lose weight to improve health by adding physical activity to your daily routine. That is, an overweight person who is physically active significantly improves their health by becoming physically active even if they don't lose weight; some studies indicate a sedentary person with normal BMI is less healthy (increased risk) compared to an overweight person who is active.

And you don't need to do a lot! If a sedentary person adds just 15 mins a day of walking they will improve their risk profile significantly.

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 12:52 pm • linkreport

Richard: Thank you for the correction. At the same time, even if 3 people in DC work on bikes, it is not comparable to the army of people working on DC jobs.

Hogwash: Al Sharpton does some good work, and was overly vilified, but it was not incorrect to criticize him for racial and/or class demagoguery. Also, Al Sharpton does not have a regular column in the Washington Post.

by SJE on Dec 5, 2012 12:55 pm • linkreport

It's helpful for overweight people to lose weight. We're still a nation of fat folk,

There's a reason for this and its not because people are lazy and stupid.

If you think that's the reason then you think that people who are economically disadvantaged are lazier and stupider than those who aren't economically disadvantaged b/c the disadvantaged SES groups are disproportionately represented among those who struggle with obesity, CVD, type ii diabetes, hypertension, depression and other conditions downstream from inadequate physical activity combined with poor food environments.

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 12:59 pm • linkreport

He is equally guilty whether he explicity mentions race, or dogwhistles it.

Er, doesn't this just prove my point? He will offend white folk if he does mention it. He will offend white folk if he doesn't because they will hear a whistle anyway.

So - DOES Milloy want people to become prematurely disabled from preventable chronic disease? I still don't see an answer to that quetion.

Didn't think it required a serious answer since the question itself has nothing to do w/the allegations that he's a racist.

But if we have more bike lanes, more people will bike, and we will have fewer fat folk, and healthier people.

A few more will. We also have healthier food options...and people are still overweight. Choices maybe?

So again, why should they be set up as in rivalry to jobs programs?

It doesn't have to be but considering how one person's pet project is most always compared to another persons project irrespective or correlation, we shouldn't be surprised. Just y'day we were discussing whether it was appropriate for people who receive gov't assistance to have cable tv. Was it necessary to set the "appropriateness" of cable tv up as a matter of concern in a discussion about whether the city should provide tax breaks to a town center? Of course not. My point is that we do it all the time.

Au contraire. More than half of all Americans will get on a bike this year. So, most people do ride bikes.

Tu ne comprend pas moi. I said, "as DC has shown." I haven't seen a study that concludes most DC residents ride bikes. You guys usually have more stats about this stuff so I'm sure there's a study or two.

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 1:02 pm • linkreport

Poor people do ride bikes, and I do not believe that they ride in lower numbers than others. But, lets say that they do ride bikes in lower numbers. If so, why? Is this a free choice, or one dictated by poverty, infrastructure, or work schedules? You don't have to force people to ride to at least ask if and how bikes might be a way to help alleviate their condition.

My use of bikes is almost entirely practical: it started because I was too young or too poor to operate a car, and needed to travel 5-7 miles to school, friends, or work.

by SJE on Dec 5, 2012 1:03 pm • linkreport

I mean, I don't comprehend what idea you are trying to communicate. Can you elaborate?

It wasn't a lot of there..there in my response. It was absurd. Only meant to show how absurd the initial question about Milloy and chronic disease was.

Also, Al Sharpton does not have a regular column in the Washington Post.

You're right he doesn't and Milloy does. Unfortunately, where we are all able to go back into Al's history and specifically note instances where he has played the race card....the same has not and can not be said about Milloy who, at least according to those here, is a race-mongerer whether he invokes race or not.

There's a reason for this and its not because people are lazy and stupid.

Not sure your point here but there are many reasons why people are overweight. Laziness just happens to be one of them.

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 1:09 pm • linkreport

Kyle-W: I bow to your superior economic analysis, but not to your "Mitt Romney-esque" characterization of my argument which is an insulting, provocative slur.

I still say my larger point stands -- somebody struggling out of poverty needs the mobility of a car. A bike -- which besides the limited range and capacity for stuff and passengers, leaves one exposed to the heat, cold, rain, snow, etc. -- is a poor way of getting to work and/or school over long distances in all seasons and weather, particularly when one must show up rested and well dressed. It limits the both the distance to and type of job one may apply for, and loss of choice lowers the potential income, regardless of skills and experience. Sure a bike will work for some, but not most people, and not most struggling parents.

by goldfish on Dec 5, 2012 1:11 pm • linkreport

Poor people do ride bikes, and I do not believe that they ride in lower numbers than others.

Sure they do..just not in large numbers, especially here in DC.

Is this a free choice, or one dictated by poverty, infrastructure, or work schedules?

I think it's fair to say that it's a combination of free choice, work schedules and infrastructure.

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 1:11 pm • linkreport

"He is equally guilty whether he explicity mentions race, or dogwhistles it.
Er, doesn't this just prove my point? He will offend white folk if he does mention it. He will offend white folk if he doesn't because they will hear a whistle anyway."

No, it doesnt prove your point. I don't hear people complaining about Eugene Robinson or TaNehisi Coates, but do about Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Content of their writings, not the color of their skin. Fenty skin is darker than Vincent Gray's, but cyclists are concerned more about Gray than Fenty.

by SJE on Dec 5, 2012 1:12 pm • linkreport

is a poor way of getting to work and/or school over long distances in all seasons and weather, particularly when one must show up rested and well dressed. It limits the both the distance to and type of job one may apply for, and loss of choice lowers the potential income, regardless of skills and experience. Sure a bike will work for some, but not most people, and not most struggling parents.

I don't understand the difficulty in comprehending what I see as a reasonable fact for anyone who's given the slightest thought to this.

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 1:13 pm • linkreport

" 'Sure a bike will work for some, but not most people, and not most struggling parents.' I don't understand the difficulty in comprehending what I see as a reasonable fact for anyone who's given the slightest thought to this."

No one is saying anyone has to ride, or that it is appropriate for all people in all situations. The problem is assuming it is NEVER appropriate, or assuming (as CM does) that money spent on bike lanes is money that is not being used to help the poor.

by SJE on Dec 5, 2012 1:16 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash -So - DOES Milloy want people to become prematurely disabled from preventable chronic disease? I still don't see an answer to that quetion.
Didn't think it required a serious answer since the question itself has nothing to do w/the allegations that he's a racist.

I made this comment in response to CM's vilifying bike lanes (and by extension all infrastructure that increases opportunities for active transportation) as a being counter to aiding people who struggle economically, not as a response to my thinking he's a racist, which I don't. I just think he's an idiot who claims to care about a class of people but doesn't bother to educate himself on what serious health problems plaque this group (and which negatively impacts their economic stability) and what some of the solutions to those problems can be; in fact he vilifies one of the types of solutions. Hence my question.

We also have healthier food options...and people are still overweight. Choices maybe?

Healthy food options are the most expensive in the grocery store. People make individual economic decisions when they purchase food. We have policies in place that help create this environment, i.e. high fructose corn syrup production is subsidized by the federal gov, but spinach is not.

Our national health crisis with obesity and inadequate physical activity is not due to the fact that Americans are stupid and lazy. We have policies that have driven the environment that people live in; policies can help us reverse the epidemic.

Infrastructure that creates opportunities for active transportation in a network that allows connections between neighborhoods is part of the solution.

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 1:17 pm • linkreport

"He is equally guilty whether he explicity mentions race, or dogwhistles it.
Er, doesn't this just prove my point? He will offend white folk if he does mention it. He will offend white folk if he doesn't because they will hear a whistle anyway."

I wouldnt hear one "anyway" I hear one because he specifically called out bike lanes, without showing any relevance, and because he has done so in the past in ways that suggest to me its a dogwhistle.

"So - DOES Milloy want people to become prematurely disabled from preventable chronic disease? I still don't see an answer to that quetion.

Didn't think it required a serious answer since the question itself has nothing to do w/the allegations that he's a racist."

Its relevant to the question of why Milloy keeps calling out investments in bike lanes. Which you still have not explained. He seems to think they do nothing for poor people - well one of the things they do is help reduce the incidence of chronic diseases. Since he ignores that, it just might be that he is less concerned with the real impacts of bike lanes, than with stirring race and class resentments.

"A few more will. We also have healthier food options...and people are still overweight. Choices maybe?"

Choices are what we want, and why bike lanes are needed.

"So again, why should they be set up as in rivalry to jobs programs?

It doesn't have to be but considering how one person's pet project is most always compared to another persons project irrespective or correlation, we shouldn't be surprised."

But why bike lanes in particular? Why not subsidies to sports arenas, or to companies like Living Social, or any of a dozen other things Im sure people could name? Why bike lanes? Just a coincidence that its something he mentioned before in his myopic twit column?

" Just y'day we were discussing whether it was appropriate for people who receive gov't assistance to have cable tv. Was it necessary to set the "appropriateness" of cable tv up as a matter of concern in a discussion about whether the city should provide tax breaks to a town center? Of course not. My point is that we do it all the time."

Do you think cable TV is particularly associated with poor people more than other luxury expenditures? It came up because in a discussion of subsidized parking someone mentioned seeing sat TV dishes. And he was attacked for it, and some of us thought his reaction reasonable. But he wasnt writing a column for the Washington Post.

I suppose bike lanes are more visible than living social subsidies - Im not sure how they can be more visible than sports arenas. Does Mr Milloy actually get his info on the DC budget by whats visible walking(or driving) around - the way posters here get their info on the budgets of public housing residents?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 1:19 pm • linkreport

Content of their writings, not the color of their skin. Fenty skin is darker than Vincent Gray's, but cyclists are concerned more about Gray than Fenty.

Well sure. But the problem here is the racist content that you and others criticize is him even bringing up "bike lanes" because of your belief that it is SWPL. I don't know what concerns "cyclists" have for Gray that are more than those for Fenty.

The problem is assuming it is NEVER appropriate, or assuming (as CM does) that money spent on bike lanes is money that is not being used to help the poor.

Fortunately, I can't recall anyone here suggesting that is is NEVER appropriate. Goldfish surely didn't.

Healthy food options are the most expensive in the grocery store.

Sure, if you're shopping at Whole Foods. There are tons of healthier options in the store. But those who can and who can't afford it are overweight.

I just think he's an idiot who claims to care about a class of people but doesn't bother to educate himself on what serious health problems

Not sure how you came to that conclusion. It's one thing to say that someone doesn't cover a topic. It's a whole 'nother to say they haven't bothered to educate themselves.

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 1:31 pm • linkreport

The poor and lower middle class increasingly cannot afford to own a car and drive around as it is d*mn expensive.

Biking opens up options (especially for short distances).

by David on Dec 5, 2012 1:38 pm • linkreport

"But the problem here is the racist content that you and others criticize is him even bringing up "bike lanes" because of your belief that it is SWPL."

No the problem is that Milloy brings it in irrelevantly because he has a particular thing about bike lanes - it sounds very much like George Will "money spent on PBS is money that COULD have been spent to fight cancer" -is there a school where columnists learn these kind of rhetorical tricks? - he has mentioned bike lanes before - and always in the context of stirring up resentments about young new residents.

If he wants to complain about pet projects there are many he could bring up - instead he brings up one that has tangible benefits for poor people, but that some people (both white and nonwhite) do associate with new, young, often white residents.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 1:46 pm • linkreport

because he has done so in the past in ways that suggest to me its a dogwhistle.

This is a great opportunity to provide some clarity. When has CM sounded the "dog whistle" on bike lanes. We can start (and likely end) there.

Its relevant to the question of why Milloy keeps calling out investments in bike lanes.

Have you given any thought to the idea that he does it because it has been proven to send those from this community into a tailspin? Even if we are charitable and convince ourselves that he's really sounding the dogwhistle, considering the efforts here recently to educate each other on Merriam's definition of words, wouldn't his whistle supposed to sound the alarm w/in the black community?

Isn't that how it works? That the whistle is intended for the black community? And the black community's response has been what? What about white folk?

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 2:03 pm • linkreport

I don't know if the goal is to get black folks angry in sympathy with his position, and whites angry against him is a side benefit, or if its the reverse. Or if he is actually unaware of the benefits of bike lanes to poor people, as Tina suggests.

Which do you think?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 2:07 pm • linkreport

"Have you given any thought to the idea that he does it because it has been proven to send those from this community into a tailspin? "

but why would he want to do that? What benefit to anyone is there in that?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 2:08 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash -if you are really interested in food policy you can find the information I reference.

If you want to argue that a a bottle of soda and two boxes of mac-n-cheese are not cheaper than a bottle of 100% fruit juice and the ingredients for (say) a vegetable dish with long-grain rice that will fill the same number of bellies, go for it.

I know that people make individual economic decisions when they shop; I know that most people know what good nutrition looks like; I know that most people care about giving their children the best. Therefore I know that poor nutrition purchases are not due mostly to stupidity or carelessness.

Anyone who thinks differently by logical default thinks people who struggle economically are stupider or weaker or care less than those who don't struggle economically.

I just think he's an idiot who claims to care about a class of people but doesn't bother to educate himself on what serious health problems

Not sure how you came to that conclusion.

1) he claims to care about economically disadvantaged people
2) he neglects a major issue among economically disadvantaged people that differentiates them from more economically advantaged people: health.
3) Among the major causes of preventable morbidity and mortality, people disadvantaged by SES are disproportionately represented.
4) This health disadvantage adds to economic struggles - this cannot be ignored nor neglected by anyone who purports to care about this class of people. Doing so is disingenuous and incomplete.
5) We know from empirical evidence that infrastructure that creates opportunities for active transportation act as an intervention on the chronic health epidemics to which this group of people are over-represented.
6) Thus, anyone who purports to care must take the health issue into consideration - you can't go to a job if you are disabled by asthma, cvd, obesity, etc. or if you are caring for a loved one who has one of these conditions.
7) Thus, attacking one of the known interventions that helps those in disadvantaged SES groups (infrastructure for active transportation) is stupid if one is genuine in his purported claim to care.

Thus Milloy didn't really care enough about this group of people to find out about a major issue affecting them in their economic struggles and what one of the solutions to that problem is; instead he attacked one of the solutions as being worse than irrelevant, as being counter-productive. Therefore I conclude he really doesn't care. What he has proved that he cares about, far and away above all else, is creating heat around himself.

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 2:17 pm • linkreport

I don't know if the goal is to get black folks angry in sympathy with his position, and whites angry against him is a side benefit, or if its the reverse. Or if he is actually unaware of the benefits of bike lanes to poor people, as Tina suggests.

Well let's go w/what you do know. You don't know any black people who've answered CM's "dog whistle." You do know white people who were offended by what they perceive as a dog whistle. If the idea was to sound the alarm that black folk won't respond to but white folk will, then I guess he's achieved his goal.

If you want to argue that a a bottle of soda and two boxes of mac-n-cheese are not cheaper than a bottle of 100% fruit juice and the ingredients for (say) a vegetable dish with long-grain rice that will fill the same number of bellies, go for it.

I'm confused. I thought we were talking about the fact that most America is an obese nation. Why are we discussing obesity as if it's isolated to poor people?

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 2:38 pm • linkreport

tina

+1000000

Hogwash

I dont really discuss Courtland Milloy much outside here. I also dont make it a point to track the racial identity of people on here. So I really don't know. But I asked you which you think it is, so why don't you tell me?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 2:43 pm • linkreport

"I'm confused. I thought we were talking about the fact that most America is an obese nation."

Im not sure what this sentence means. Obesity is an attribute of individuals not nations. In fact 35.7% of Americans are obese http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html so its not true that most Americans are obese.

"Why are we discussing obesity as if it's isolated to poor people?"

Its particularly concentated among the poor and also among nonwhites.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 2:46 pm • linkreport

Thus, anyone who purports to care must take the health issue into consideration

Ohhhh, another goal post moved. The latest rendition is that if you "really" care about the poor, you must discuss their "health" at the same time. If you don't, you must not care about them at all. Well alrighty then! I look forward to future GGW discussions about the poor that are tied to their health and you sharing your belief that the concern isn't genuine if health is not mentioned.

In fact 35.7% of Americans are obese so its not true that most Americans are obese

Well sure, if you consider the 17% of children as "non americans" then you're absolutely correct. Most americans aren't obese.

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 2:56 pm • linkreport

"The latest rendition is that if you "really" care about the poor, you must discuss their "health" at the same time."

It would seem to me like if you are writing a column about poor people, and you mention cycling, you should discuss health impacts. GGW does not mention health in every post, but in posts about the prioritization of bike lanes I think they do. Milloy either knows bike lanes help poor peoples health and attacks them anyway, or he hasnt bothered to find out if they help, which I find odd - has he really never heard that biking is a form of exercise?

"Well sure, if you consider the 17% of children as "non americans" then you're absolutely correct. Most americans aren't obese."

if you throw in the kids, that lowers the percentage more, and makes my point even more correct.

You will find that adding a group with an obesity rate of 17% to one with an obesity rate of 35% does NOT result in a group with an obesity rate of over 50%.

As Bill Clinton said "its arithmetic"

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 3:05 pm • linkreport

@HogWash

Isn't that how it works? That the whistle is intended for the black community? And the black community's response has been what?

I can think of at least one response.

by Dizzy on Dec 5, 2012 3:09 pm • linkreport

I said, "as DC has shown."

So, you think it's possible that the rate of bicycle use in DC is somehow lower than the national average?

by David C on Dec 5, 2012 3:34 pm • linkreport

You will find that adding a group with an obesity rate of 17% to one with an obesity rate of 35% does NOT result in a group with an obesity rate of over 50%.

I'll admit math is a horrible subject for me. So how do the percentages work? If there's 35% of obese adult americans and 17% of obese american children, how do you calculate that as a percentage of americans who are obese?

I can think of at least one response.

So your answer to what has been black folks' response to Courtland's 2012 "dog whistle" is to point to a 2010 article? Seriously?

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 3:58 pm • linkreport

So, you think it's possible that the rate of bicycle use in DC is somehow lower than the national average

Not particularly concerned about the national average because we're talking about DC. My contention was that most DC residents don't bike. The national average is irrelevant to that.

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 4:00 pm • linkreport

"If there's 35% of obese adult americans and 17% of obese american children, how do you calculate that as a percentage of americans who are obese?"

well you would take the orignal data and divide the total obese of all ages by the total pop of all ages. If you need to back into it from the two rates, above, you would take a weighted average based on the share of adults and children in the population - for example if half of all americans were adults, you would take .5 x 35% and add .5 x 17% As you can see the highest possible number would be if the population were all adults (obviously thats not the case) and then the percent obese would be 35%. Since the pop is less than 100% obese the percent of all americans must be LESS than 35%. So certainly less than 50%.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 4:04 pm • linkreport

"My contention was that most DC residents don't bike. The national average is irrelevant to that"

more math. If 50% of all americans use a bike at least once in a given year, then either A. more than 50% of DC residents do or B. DC residents bike less than other Americans.

If B is wrong (I think it pretty clearly is) than A must be true.

They may not all bike regularly, or bike commute. But if they own a bike and use it once a year at least, its not unreasonable that bike lanes could be a convenience to them when they do bike, and could lead them to bike more.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 4:07 pm • linkreport

Since the pop is less than 100% obese the percent of all americans must be LESS than 35%. So certainly less than 50%.

Oh ok. So your initial post suggesting that 35% of adult americans are obese is incorrect and the % is lower?

If B is wrong (I think it pretty clearly is) than A must be true

Don't think we have to get into the weeds on this one. In order to ascertain whether the majority of DC residents bike, it's not necessary to consider the national average because we aren't comparing to the nation at-large. A: Either we have information proving that most DC residents bike. B: We don't have any evidence. Since this is a transit blog, figuring that out shouldn't be too difficult and certainly shouldn't require calculations including the national average.

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 4:21 pm • linkreport

My contention was that most DC residents don't bike.

Fine, let's see the data.

by David C on Dec 5, 2012 4:24 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash - 35% of US adults are obese (BMI =>30); about 1/3 are overweight (BMI 25-29.9); Thus more than 2/3 of US adults are overweight or obese. Children represent something like <20% of the whole population. More important than the cross-section proportion of obesity among children is the rate: increased by ~300% in the last~12-15 years. Its easy to look up these stats: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/index.html

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 4:28 pm • linkreport

"Oh ok. So your initial post suggesting that 35% of adult americans are obese is incorrect and the % is lower?"

yes - i wasn't concerned with whether the percent is 35 or 30 or 25 - so I did not bother distinguishing the adult number from the total number. My point was that its not correct that the majority of americans are obese, and that stands.

"Don't think we have to get into the weeds on this one. In order to ascertain whether the majority of DC residents bike, it's not necessary to consider the national average because we aren't comparing to the nation at-large. A: Either we have information proving that most DC residents bike. B: We don't have any evidence. Since this is a transit blog, figuring that out shouldn't be too difficult and certainly shouldn't require calculations including the national average."

Federal data on biking only count bike commuters (as part of the Journey to Work Data). The data quoted come I guess from a private survey, done nationally with too few respondents to provide information at less than the national level.

The topics of this blog revolve heavily around analysis, and data. I'm not sure why someone whose interests lie elsewhere would spend much time here.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 4:28 pm • linkreport

"Don't think we have to get into the weeds on this one."

This is hardly the weeds as far as analysis or data is concerned.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 4:31 pm • linkreport

So your answer to what has been black folks' response to Courtland's 2012 "dog whistle" is to point to a 2010 article? Seriously?

He (and others) been whistlin' for a long time, Hog. Not sure what sort of response you're expecting to see catalogued to a week-old column. The point is to keep hitting the same notes over and over again, reinforcing the message in people's minds. Yesterday's column does a nice job of this as well, blaming the redevelopment and mass displacement going on in EOTC Southeast (where???) for youths throwing rocks at Metrobuses.

The payoff comes at certain key points: elections, rallies, meetings, etc. You've seen it during the last few elections. You could see some of it at the parking summit last night. And I'm sure you'll be seeing it if and when Machen gets around to indicting the mayor.

by Dizzy on Dec 5, 2012 5:14 pm • linkreport

Dizzy

"Yesterday's column does a nice job of this as well, blaming the redevelopment and mass displacement going on in EOTC Southeast (where???) for youths throwing rocks at Metrobuses."

It didnt say in EOTR SE, just in SE.

"All the new development coming to Southeast has some residents feeling like the city is being cultivated for new residents and that the current residents have to go by any means necessary,” said the Rev. Alfred Harrison, who, with his wife, Claudia, founded the community service organization Angels of Hope Ministries."

Perhaps its the new development near the ballpark that is to blame. That is in SE after all.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 5:20 pm • linkreport

Its really fascinating

“Their schools closed, their apartment buildings torn down, their friends going into the penal system, others relocated to another county. It has a profound effect on them.”

" the massive displacement of low-income residents has long been a hallmark of urban renewal — some say urban removal — in the District. When large numbers of residents are forced from their homes, as has been occurring lately, relationships with family and friends suffer; social support systems fall apart."

Somehow folks have been forced from their homes by new development, yet in their neighborhoods there IS no new development - only vacant lots and empty buildings.

Sounds like the closing of schools and the empty buildings MIGHT be related to the folks moving to another County - IE to the kids who succeeded. And the kids entering the penal system might just have committed crimes instead.

I think Mr Milloy may actually be a plant for the GOP, or for Grover Norquist - even someone who KNOWS that poverty is very often the result of circumstance, discrimination, bad luck, etc might recoil from the absolute aversion to taking responsibility for ones own acts - to the point of ignoring the kids in that neighborhood who do NOT throw rocks at buses.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 5:28 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

The entire column is placed in/discussing events taking place EOTR. Given the context, it wouldn't make any sense to refer to development in places like Navy Yard or Barracks Row.

by Dizzy on Dec 5, 2012 5:31 pm • linkreport

Thus more than 2/3 of US adults are overweight or obese.
So the number is greater than 35%? Ok, we'll leave that one alone.

My point was that its not correct that the majority of americans are obese, and that stands.

Well ok. You're correct. Most americans are not. Just close to a majority.

The data quoted come I guess from a private survey, done nationally with too few respondents to provide information at less than the national level.

So you don't have any data concluding that most DC resident bike. How about anecdotal? Are the majority of commuters you see everyday in DC on bikes? Do most of them leave their bikes in metro storage? I don't have the data but anecdotes seem appropriate here.

The point is to keep hitting the same notes over and over again, reinforcing the message in people's minds.

Ok super! And the message has been well-received by whom again? White folk right? Which means that since his message clearly hasn't resonated among us black folk, he's achieved his other goal by upsetting white folk and not-subtly pointing out that bike lanes are "really" for white folk.

Yet, the black man is playing the race card to rile up white folk.

Sounds spot on!!!!! :)

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 5:33 pm • linkreport

"Thus more than 2/3 of US adults are overweight or obese.
So the number is greater than 35%? Ok, we'll leave that one alone. "

Obese is not the same as overweight. Obesity is strongly associated with a great many negative health outcomes. Overweight, the studies are more mixed, IIUC.

"My point was that its not correct that the majority of americans are obese, and that stands.

Well ok. You're correct. Most americans are not. Just close to a majority."

Less than 35%. Thats not close to a majority.

"The data quoted come I guess from a private survey, done nationally with too few respondents to provide information at less than the national level.

So you don't have any data concluding that most DC resident bike."

Well actually we do - we have the national figure that 50% do, and we have lots of anecdotal data thats its dcers bike more than say, folks in North Dakota.

" How about anecdotal? Are the majority of commuters you see everyday in DC on bikes?"

The perecent who commute is certainly lower than the percent who ride occasionally.

You dont have to be a commuter or regular rider to benefit from bike lanes. That you ride occasionally means you can benefit - and that you might consider riding more.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 5:40 pm • linkreport

"The entire column is placed in/discussing events taking place EOTR. Given the context, it wouldn't make any sense to refer to development in places like Navy Yard or Barracks Row."

But it also doesnt make sense to refer to developments EOTR, which have been few and far between.

Asking if a Courtland Milloy column makes sense seems to me like asking if a painting by Rothko makes sense. The elements are there, and they speak to you, or they don't. Its not really an image that maps to the real world in an analytical way.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 5:44 pm • linkreport

@hogwash - obese is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI)of equal to or greater than (=>) than 30. 35.7% of US adults are estimated to be obese (BMI =>30). Overweight is defined as a BMI 25-29.9. About 1/3 of US adults are estimated to be overweight (BMI 25-29.9). Together, obese and overweight,(BMI >25), 2/3 of US adults are overweight OR obese.

Far from a majority of US adults are obese, thank god. However just 35 years ago only 5% of US adults were obese.

The rapid rise of obesity and its downstream conditions are epidemic and preventable. They are breaking our national economy in addition to the large scale human suffering they cause (which economically disadvantaged people suffer from disproportionately). The epidemic is a major threat to national security too in the form of inadequate mission readiness among troops and recruits.

Its a serious problem on many levels but we also know what some successful interventions are to stop the increase and begin to reverse it. One of those is increased access to opportunities for active transportation.

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 5:51 pm • linkreport

@AWITC -there is a sustantial rise in risk at BMI 27 (in epidemiological data); so there is compelling reason to keep your BMI under 27, or even better, under 25.

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 5:54 pm • linkreport

@AWITC -please don't compare Milloy to Rothko. Thomas Kincade is a more apt comparison.

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 5:57 pm • linkreport

I disagree. for one kincades literalness is not what Milloy is about. Second Milloy really IS an artist - he's adept at piecing together things that have no LOGICAL relation to each other, but whose symbolism, overtones, etc, tend to reinforce each other. In a masterful way I think. Thats why he gets peoples goat - because you can FEEL how it comes together, even though it makes no sense.

Maybe Rothko is wrong - maybe some surrealist or expressionist work from the first half the of the 20th century would have been a more apt comparison?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 6:01 pm • linkreport

I mean cmon

Wilson high and OOB kids - IIUC most OOB kids at Wilson are NOT from poor households. But they ARE from east of Rock Creek, thus - walling off.

Some Md kids assault another Md kid in NW DC - somebody (who?) calls for more police against outsiders - so walling off.

not enough jobs - of course as EOTR get more and better jobs they are likely to move to the burbs and create more room for the gentrifiers - but for now, they dont get the WOTR jobs - so walling off.

And then the offhand remark about bike lanes - with the dogwhistle about SWPL. So that the lack of effectiveness for the jobs programs is not a policy issue about how they are run, say - but is about white people (and since the new white people who live EAST of rock creek haven't been indicted yet, this one should get them)

Masterful I say.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 6:06 pm • linkreport

maybe some surrealist or expressionist work from the first half the of the 20th century would have been a more apt comparison?
No. Not unless you think Milloy's work will be required reading in an anthology as important cultural work. I don't.

Also Kincade is not a realist. He depicts idealized scenes that are cloyingly sweet, where perceptions are distorted to manipulate a response in the viewer of nostalgia. Its a world that never existed, but not in a surrealist sense where the world is depicted as unpredictable and disturbing. Just please do not compare Milloy to any visual artist you would see in a museum unless you really really think his craft and contribution are on that caliber.

He's not anywhere near the good writer that George Will is, though he mimics Wills style. He's derivative of Will (that is, unoriginal) but not nearly as good. I disagree with Will on almost everything but I can admit he's a good writer for what he sets out to do. Milloy is not nearly as adroit in the use of the craft and, other than maybe in certain elected courses in journalism schools, I doubt Will be taught anywhere in the future the way visual artists hanging in major museums are taught in art history.

Sorry. I have appreciated very much your comments, articulateness, perseverance, respectful attitude and sense of logic in this thread and others - except for comparing Milloy to great artists. I can not let that stand unchallenged!

by Tina on Dec 5, 2012 6:38 pm • linkreport

I think it's safe to say that we've exhausted this discussion of obesity. Most americans aren't obese. Maybe obese and overweight? Ha!

And I think we've also exhausted Milloy. He threw out red meat to incite white folk (against him I guess since black folk weren't a factor) and most of those commenting here about it ate it in ravenous fashion.

He was playing the race card during the whole white people/myopic twits/bike lanes/dog park article although the alleged content was urban legend.

He was accused by those here of playing the race card when referring to Rhee as a "Tiger Mom."

Now, whether he mentions race or not, his confirmed history of dogwhistling should cause reasonable minds to believe that when he talks about bike lanes, he's really talking about white folk which is why they're justified in calling him a racist.

So I just provided a basic, yet fair rundown of the feelings toward Milloy by the offended group...white folk.

Ok folks...now we're done.

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 7:14 pm • linkreport

FWIW, I believe many discussions about race are actually about class. But when you have one or both sides wedded to what they believe "can only be" racism, race inevitably becomes the primary emphasis.

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 7:23 pm • linkreport

I understand why Courtland needs to believe that for DC's poor to thrive, all is needed is for DC's middle-class to move to the suburbs. After all, that's how he squares his role as the voice of DC's disenfranchised with his choice to abandon those poor to their fate.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the higher the ratio of middle-class citizens to poor citizens in DC, the better off the poor are. If you can win those middle-class citizens with dirt-cheap services like bike lanes and dog parks, you do it.

What Milloy peddles is class-resentment. It has nothing to do with good-faith argument. His DC audience is largely older middle-class folks who see their neighborhoods changing, and are afraid of that change (sometimes for good reason).

His much larger audience is middle-class non-residents who have lingering shame issues over abandoning grandma (who still lives in town) when they fled the city. After all, if endemic poverty is the fault of "gentrifiers" then those who fled in the 90s are absolved of their sin of abandoning these folks to their fate when they moved to the McMansion outside of the city.

by oboe on Dec 5, 2012 7:26 pm • linkreport

"Or if he is actually unaware of the benefits of bike lanes to poor people, as Tina suggests."

It's doubtful that Milloy knows this (since he doesn't live here) or that he cares. The poor certainly aren't his intended audience.

He's a pre-Internet troll.

by oboe on Dec 5, 2012 8:01 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

I concede all your points - you're right, Milloy is a masterful artist of trollery. Although our friend HogWash seems to be a quick understudy: look at how many responses he's generated here and in the church parking thread! :)

As usual, oboe's comments are dead center on the mark.

by Dizzy on Dec 6, 2012 12:49 pm • linkreport

Although our friend HogWash seems to be a quick understudy: look at how many responses he's generated here and in the church parking thread!

HA! Thanks for the shout out!!!! I must admit I do troll the internet searching stories for where white folk call others racist because they (well he in this case) wrote the words, "bike lane."

Admittedly, it provides me great insight on how WPRT (White People Really Think). Thanks guys...lotta eyeopening stuff in here.

Truly,

HogWash :)

by HogWash on Dec 6, 2012 1:37 pm • linkreport

@HogWash

You do realize that no one here called Milloy a racist, right? Seriously, do a Ctrl + F for the word. The only instances you'll find are me saying that the term applies to people who conflate "crime" with "blacks," you saying that people are calling Milloy a racist, and people quoting you saying that. And Tina saying she does not think that's the case.

by Dizzy on Dec 6, 2012 2:53 pm • linkreport

Milloy is a ridiculous joke.

by long-time Post reader on Dec 6, 2012 3:09 pm • linkreport

"Now, whether he mentions race or not, his confirmed history of dogwhistling should cause reasonable minds to believe that when he talks about bike lanes, he's really talking about white folk which is why they're justified in calling him a racist."

wrong again. If he actually talked about the real role of bike lanes in transportation, that would not seem like a dogwhistle, despite his history. Thats not what he did in this column. He mentioned bike lanes in the context of a column listing ways DC is being walled off into different parts. Since bike lanes CONNECT different parts of DC, that seems rather odd on its face.

You know if Newt Gingrich wrote something serious about how food stamps play a role in nutrition, or saying they should be modified to encourage better nutrition I wouldnt call it a dogwhistle. but of course thats not how Newt talks about food stamps.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 6, 2012 3:12 pm • linkreport

AWITC: exactly. Or the GOP talking about "welfare" when most government assistance goes to elderly white people,a core GOP base, there are more white people than black getting welfare, and the GOP states get more welfare per capita than those that vote DEM. The disconnection between the stance and the facts suggests it is a dogwhistle for poor black people and hispanics

by SJE on Dec 6, 2012 3:44 pm • linkreport

Or the GOP talking about "welfare" when most government assistance goes to elderly white people,a core GOP base, there are more white people than black getting welfare, and the GOP states get more welfare per capita than those that vote DEM.

No, actually he isn't correct and it's a ridiculous comparison. We've had decades of people using food stamps as a proxy for talking about welfare queens/black folk. Bike lanes were seen as something for white folk(IN WASHINGTON DC) thanks to the 2010 mayoral election where both sides were playing the fear card. Since then, only white folk (or just those here) have complained about bike lanes "attacks" just as they have been the only ones to even mention the word myopic twits. But let's continue to blame Milloy and compare him to Newt.

So to suggest (two years later) because Milloy wrote "bike lane" in an article and didn't tie it to a "health concern" or transportation, that makes him somehow racist is just ridiculous..it really, really is.

But the proof is in the pudding. We've had a board full of white folk complaining how "bike lanes" are code words for them. OTOH, not one single black person has said anything about white folks and bike lanes nor expressed any sort of divisiveness over the issue. And after all that, we have this little sugar plum:

No one here called Milloy a racist, right?

Which is equally ridiculous. He's been accused of not caring about the poor, transportation and fanning racial flames. But of course, no one really called him a racist. You just believe he plays the race card at will.

I'm not even sure what we're arguing at this point because as I said, the proof is here. Milloy wrote an article, talked about bikes in the last couple of sentences, and white folk think he was racist playing (as usual) the race card.

by HogWash on Dec 6, 2012 4:23 pm • linkreport

Milloy wrote an article, talked about bikes in the last couple of sentences, and white folk think he was racist playing (as usual) the race card.

You're obsession with what "white folk" think is slightly discomforting. I've generally found that you can't tell what someone thinks just by knowing their race.

And how are you sure that everyone complaining about this is white? Do you have some sort of iphone app that let's you see every commenters race?

by David C on Dec 6, 2012 4:31 pm • linkreport

"Since then, only white folk (or just those here) have complained about bike lanes "attacks" just as they have been the only ones to even mention the word myopic twits."

actually AFAICT folks in lots of places see Milloy the same way hes seen here.

" But let's continue to blame Milloy and compare him to Newt."

I find it an apt comparison.

"So to suggest (two years later) because Milloy wrote "bike lane" in an article and didn't tie it to a "health concern" or transportation, that makes him somehow racist is just ridiculous..it really, really is."

since it IS a transportation facility, why would expecting him to tie it to transportation be unreasonable?

" We've had a board full of white folk complaining how "bike lanes" are code words for them. OTOH, not one single black person has said anything about white folks and bike lanes nor expressed any sort of divisiveness over the issue."

I dont really follow the racial identity of commentors. I dont think its relevant to analyzing Milloys articles.

"No one here called Milloy a racist, right?

Which is equally ridiculous. He's been accused of not caring about the poor, transportation and fanning racial flames. But of course, no one really called him a racist. "

Not caring about the poor (actually just about their health - he may well care about other concerns of theirs) transportation (no, he does seem to be very concerned about the rights of drivers) makes you a racist.

Even fanning racial flames - it may be that he mostly wants to fan class flames - and it only incidentally fans racial flames.

"Milloy wrote an article, talked about bikes in the last couple of sentences, and white folk think he was racist playing (as usual) the race card."

They think it and its hard to see how they are not correct. All i hear in response is that he was trying to get their goat, and black folks are not listening. Im not sure if thats true (that no one but you is coming onto GGW to agree with CM doesnt seem strong evidence to me) but even if it is, it doesnt make CM seem like a serious participant in the discussion.

Though I can see where someone who loves his artistry might like him.

You just believe he plays the race card at will.

I'm not even sure what we're arguing at this point because as I said, the proof is here. Milloy wrote an article, talked about bikes in the last couple of sentences, and white folk think he was racist playing (as usual) the race card.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 6, 2012 4:33 pm • linkreport

You're obsession with what "white folk" think is slightly discomforting

A bit of hyperbole here? Obsession? I don't believe I brought up the topic of bike lanes as something WPL. I mean, it's not like anyone ever talk broadly about what people EOTR like, need, expect etc.

And how are you sure that everyone complaining about this is white? Do you have some sort of iphone app that let's you see every commenters race?

Now I must chuckle a bit at this and play along. Ok, I'll concede. I don't know the race of the commenters here. Maybe there are nonwhites posting here who support the notion that Milloy talking about bike lanes is code for SWPL. Seems odd but hey who knows!

I think we've been all over the place w/this one.

by HogWash on Dec 6, 2012 4:48 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash: "Maybe there are nonwhites posting here who support the notion that Milloy talking about bike lanes is code for SWPL."

Indeed there are. I'm one.

by A Streeter on Dec 6, 2012 5:35 pm • linkreport

Not to mention three other big points about spending on bike infrastructure:
- Spending on bike infrastructure creates 46% more jobs per public dollar than road infrastructure. Road building is capital intensive (think bulldozers), whereas bike trails and lanes are more labor intensive (think guys with shovels).

- bike lanes and other livable streets investments have improved business conditions for local retailers in cities like New York

- local residents who drive less spend less money outside the local economy, and more money creating jobs within the city. My fuel purchases, for instance, support local retailers and farmers instead of Texas oilmen and Saudi barons. The savings amount to $billions a year in cities like Portland, which is about the size of D.C.

by Payton on Dec 12, 2012 5:49 pm • linkreport

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