The Chainlink

I noticed this on Grist this morning:

Coronavirus has caused a bicycling boom in New York City

I'm in Portland for several weeks (at least), so can't check myself. Is the biking scene in downtown Chicago changing as companies and individuals adapt to the coronavirus outbreak?

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The optics of this are an absolute disaster:

Pandemic and death = cycling

What's happening is that we get the correlation of lost jobs, lost businesses, wide-spread illness and a few trillion more in the national debt, but hey, "Hurray for us on our bikes!"

Cycling is better off if we don't have it portrayed as something that happens at the expense of life and prosperity.  "A welcome reclamation moment?" as that New York gridlock guy is quoted?  He actually said "welcome" if we've to believe the NYTimes. 

It does make sense to make emergency re-use of certain space (McCormick Convention Center is a FEMA hospital for instance) and while schools, parks and the lakefront trails are closed in part because the city doesn't want to look like the Florida news footage of people mobbing the beaches on spring break.  So there's an opportunity to get kids out of the house and walk around a bit since the city can't manage the parks or the lakefront, and can grasp these broader points.

However the context here is 10% rising unemployment, colleagues, family and friends dying, and from the looks of that picture, people doing anything but keeping 6 feet apart, never mind that the guideline might soon be revised.

When things blow over, it sort of begs for curtailing walking and cycling in the name of economic growth with the shoe on the other foot.   Meanwhile, we can just hear the people in the suburbs clapping back at urban planners who criticize suburban sprawl. 

As has been noted elsewhere in this thread (and with the congested trails thread) we already have had drastic reduction in car traffic, and can ride with so many fewer cars with little intervention at all unfortunately, given all that's happening.  



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