Will the Bike Lobby Abandon the Mayor?

They Say That Under McGinn, Seattle Is "Slipping Behind" on Cycling Improvements

Will the Bike Lobby Abandon the Mayor?

According to the lore of the 2009 elections, Mayor Mike McGinn won his office in part thanks to legions of Seattle cyclists who were thrilled by this bike-riding candidate and the "Mike bikes!" stickers that surrounded him.

Fast-forward three years: The city's powerful Cascade Bicycle Club, in a report released on July 25, finds that Seattle is "slipping behind" other bike-friendly cities in the country. Portland now has a better bicycle commuting rate than Seattle, while Minneapolis and San Francisco are nipping at our heels when it comes to cycle-friendly amenities. According to Craig Benjamin, spokesman for the Cascade Bicycle Club, McGinn has also fallen short of the city's Bicycle Master Plan. The department of transportation's 2012 action agenda "only called for 100 more people riding bikes by 2014," he says, even though Seattle needs 450 more people on bikes each year to meet the plan's goals.

What happened? And can the bike lobby stay with a mayor with this sort of legacy?

McGinn spokesman Aaron Pickus says the economy is partly to blame. "You gotta look at the money you have and spend it as best you can across all transportation choices," Pickus says. The city's transportation budget has been hit with $23.9 million in cuts since January 2010, when McGinn took office in the midst of this deep recession.

Benjamin acknowledges that the percentage of the transportation budget spent on bikes has held roughly steady under McGinn, but he says that percentage should be higher. "Seattle spends 2 percent of its transportation budget on bicycling, when already 4 percent of our trips are taken on bikes," he explains.

McGinn could push for more federal grants for bike improvements and press harder for greenways, Benjamin says.

So will the Cascade Bicycle Club, which has 14,000 members and a mailing list of more than 50,000 people, back McGinn's reelection effort next year? Benjamin warns that he can't see his group endorsing anyone next year—for mayor or for city council—who doesn't show "bold leadership." recommended


Comments (13) RSS

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"powerful"?? Lol. First they fake their graphs by making the line go down even when the number goes up, Fox News-style, and by leaving out years when the funding goes up. Then they use the 4% number even when that is an inaccurate sample. I support bicycling and the education side of CBC but their advocacy side is a bunch of idiots.
Posted by c'mon girlfriend on August 1, 2012 at 11:31 AM · Report this
jfljoe 2

That's so laughable. I second c'mon girlfriend. I think 97.2% of Seattleites would argue that 2% of the transportation budget towards bicycles is already on the high side. See, I can use fake numbers to make a point, too!

I'll say that as McGinn becomes more of a centrist after getting kicked around for numerous issues (viaduct, police, biking, etc.), I actually respect him more and have risen to a 20% likelihood of voting for him again (up from 0.1% last year).
Posted by jfljoe on August 1, 2012 at 12:17 PM · Report this
jfljoe 3
Centrist in relative Seattle terms, of course.
Posted by jfljoe on August 1, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this
McGinnis afraid of the teabaggers who hate bikes because they don't use oil. Vote for a mayor who will tell the whining teabaggers to pound sand.

Forward ever backward never.
Posted by Mike H on August 2, 2012 at 8:48 AM · Report this
The Cascade Bicycle Club will remain neutral, in what will be a vain effort to limit the political damage from their close association with the guy. When McSchwinn is crushed in 2013, the interpretation will be that he was a bicycle bitch. The next mayor will definitely get the message.
Posted by Mister G on August 2, 2012 at 9:57 AM · Report this
Give the bike people whatever road improvements they want, just get them off the sidewalks. It is time for Seattle bicyclists to grow up and ride in the street like responsible adults.
Posted by Someone who walks on August 2, 2012 at 10:37 AM · Report this
The Cascade Bicycle Club obviously are positioning themselves away from the candidate who they see as having no chance at winning. The only way they gain power again is to give themselves the opportunity to support a more viable candidate after McGinn goes down in the primaries.
Posted by 2cents on August 3, 2012 at 7:57 PM · Report this
Maybe McGinn could fire his $95,000 a year bike czar and use the money for road improvements.
Posted by certaindoom on August 4, 2012 at 8:15 PM · Report this
I'm sure the Stranger would argue that paying Hiller $80k a year to get on his knees in the back of the mayor's town car and suck McGinn's cock is an essential city service.
Posted by Stranger'sWorstNightmare on August 4, 2012 at 9:43 PM · Report this
Maybe bikers should get off the roads unless they are willing to pay for them.
Posted by callensberg on August 7, 2012 at 7:42 PM · Report this
Oh the old money rich seattle bicyclists. Stop poor commuters! slow down crowded buses! a rich lawyered up bicyclist is creeping and wants to play!

How about bicycle lanes on I-5?! Please!!!! In fact lets send all the bike lanes to the freeways so they don't come back and slow down buses and drivers who can barely make ends meet. it's a myth that people who drive have money. Most of the commuter drivers here are living desperate miserable lives of paycheck to payday loan to eviction notice, while this 'club' is buying politicians and making the life of the poor even more hell.
Posted by mikey on August 10, 2012 at 5:29 PM · Report this
@10, Cyclists DO pay for the roads. I believe you are under the sad impression that gas and other car taxes/fees pay for public roads. This is not true. Approximately 4% of said taxes/fees pay for public roads. The rest is paid for by property tax, the general fund, etc. Also, a good percentage of cyclists own cars as well. Furthermore, it is inarguable that bicycles cause much less wear and tear on asphalt than motor vehicles do. Motor vehicles cause us to spend drastically more money on roads than if more people used public transit, walked, or cycled.

@11, I understand your argument. I'm certainly a wage slave myself. If you have the CHOICE, ditch that money pit and liberate yourself from your car. You can drop that membership to the gym as well, you'll be exercising on your way to work. And shit, you might actually see your city from outside the box (on wheels).
Posted by lookitup on August 20, 2012 at 1:25 AM · Report this
raku 13
I was a big McGinn fan and hoped we'd see some improvement in bike/ped/transit infrastructure. We haven't. I'm not voting for McGinn again, unless someone really worse runs (maybe Burgess). I'd vote for Nickels over McGinn this time.
Posted by raku on August 22, 2012 at 4:01 PM · Report this

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