Calling it quits.
Cashing it in.
I've been actively engaged in a number of efforts, including
- Comments and criticism of the Marq2 Project;
- Early formative meetings of the group that became the Minneapolis Bike Coalition;
- Planning of the RiverLake Greenway;
- Planning of the Southern Connector bike boulevard;
- Bike parking at 48th and Chicago, and;
- Probably a few other things that I am forgetting.
None of these have been particularly rewarding but there are some results to report:
- Marq2 was a F'ing Gong Show and a real loss for cyclists (that project should be added to the list of URS projects [I-35W Bridge and Sabo Bridge] that screwed Minneapolis). We lost north-south bike lanes in the heart of the MPLS Central Business District while The City was congratulating itself on how "bike friendly" they were.
- The Minneapolis Bike Coalition is doing some good things but not in the direction or fashion I was thinking;
- RiverLake is in and successful, which is great;
- The Southern Connector looks like it's going to be built, so that's potentially one for the good guys, and;
- Bike parking at 48th and Chicago is a cluster fuck and has been an exercise in wasted time - all of the businesses are for it (as long as it's entirely free, delivered to them effortlessly and in no way compromises existing automobile parking capacity).
Additionally, I've tried to get into a few other areas but never gotten traction. These include:
- Bike Alliance of Minnesota advocacy committee;
- Minneapolis Bike Coalition, and;
- Minneapolis Bike Advisory Committee
My outsider's perception is that BAM is pretty ossified and those seats are... established. The MPLS Bike Advisory Committee had "openings", but they weren't actually all that open - I applied for a ward position, but lost out to a person that has been on this committee for a long time and means to stay that way. The MBC is actively looking for volunteers but the organizational/leadership structure doesn't work for me and I don't see much growth there. That being said, I firmly believe that MBC does good work and I support them in word and deed. I just don't want to be part of their scene.
Here's what I have concluded.
Living in a really strong Bike City is great for a lot of reasons - we have a lot of good bike amenities (which benefit local residents and pedestrians - not just cyclists), we have a lot of very talented and dedicated people that are working to improve those amenities as well. Additionally, we have base of motivated people willing to volunteer a little time and effort to move things along for those organizations.
What that means, though, is that this particular pond is pretty crowded. It's like trying to get into Science Club at MIT or something. Good luck, Chuck.
Therefore, if one wants to make a difference, it would be economically rational to focus on some other under-served area and not pile-on with the over-served issues (such as bike advocacy). I'll still support MBC projects that make sense, keep active with cycling education by exercising my LCI credential and make a stink with the City when it matters, but otherwise the general cycling advocacy is getting shoved to the back-burning for the foreseeable future.