Arlington, TX is the largest American city without public transit. Yet, Arlington has a bold hike and bike plan to add 272 miles of bike network to the existing 20. City planners and Greenways Inc. have been working on the plan since November 2009. The final draft is done, and after some committee approvals through February, the plan looks like a slam-dunk. Almost.
Lone Star Comics franchise owner Buddy Saunders has launched a one-man campaign he calls “Save Our Streets Arlington.” His hyperbolic rhetoric has been preceded, predicted, and it employs shallow politicization that Tea Party conservatives ought to oppose bike infrastructure. We’ve seen this before, when misguided critics draw dubious links between politics and transportation funding, to no party’s advantage. Buddy calls the plan a “traffic congestion-creating, job-killing, tax-raising disaster for Arlington.” His approach ignores that roads don’t pay for themselves, and the $600 billion debt continue to increase if only car traffic is prioritized. A Star-Telegram article hypes up the debate, but they don’t quote anyone who actually rides a bike, or even anyone from Bike Friendly Arlington. This late in the game, all that stands between city council and their adoption of the ambitious hike and plan is an angry guy with a protest sign.
As Elly Blue advises, our job is “to keep speaking reason while the madness runs its course.”