Six point plan, no metrics involved

I read this Bike Portland post this afternoon and got a little befuddled.

The six points are:
1. We need to make it easier to choose to bike or walk
2. We need to not be afraid to take a few risks
3. We need to not be afraid of what creating congestion might do
4. We need to find a way to create “temporary” projects that show us what can be done
5. In the area within two blocks of a school, there should not be parking or loading zones
6. We need to do a much better job of mitigating construction

Thanks, Kari Schlosshauer.

With my military experience, I tend to examine manifestos and such from a how-would-you-do-this perspective. If you were King of Portland, Kari, how would you enact this plan? How would you judge whether or not you were making progress? What would you tell people who came to you asking how they could help?

The issue with all bicycling promotion is that it’s ridiculously easy to implement. Take away free on-street overnight parking. I’ve learned that my two cousins who live in Brooklyn with small children both have automobiles. Both grew up going to Quaker school and are clearly on the enlightened side of the spectrum, but because they own cars they are now bought into the motor vehicle economy. Me, I have two small children and our family saves a literal krap-ton of money each month by not having a motor vehicle. And we have more family time, because not having the means to make unnecessary trips to furniture retailer Ykea means not making unnecessary trips to Ykea.

Luckily for me, my neighborhood makes it easier for me to not have a car because only the folks with no job can find the time twice a week to move their cars from one side of the street to the other.

So when I read Ms. Schlosshauer’s six points, it seems to me that she is trying to have it both ways; persuading motor vehicle owners that they can live in a bicycling paradise and that it won’t really change anything in their lives. The easiest way to do this is to claim that your platform is “for the children,” because it puts opponents on the defensive; who is against children?

The problem is that winning arguments and persuading people to give up their cars are two different things.