By now, most of you have read the “bicycle licensing” nonsense in the Seattle Times by formerly ready-for-pasture James Vesley:
Seattle went through a lengthy process of enhancing the Burke-Gilman Trail through industrial Ballard. Among the pretzel routes, all were made to make cycling as easy as possible. Those costs, born by the industries of Ballard and the city, could be offset by a modest fee.
Uh, you mean the trail project that voters levied themselves to pay for as part of the Complete Streets/Bridging the Gap measures? Yeah, that one.
In the past couple days I’ve read a number of the comments in response to the editorial and for the most part they are fairly civil, reasoned, and lacking in the hate that the PI Soundoff seems to generate. Frankly, most people are shocked that Vesley could put forth such a stupid idea.
Personally, I don’t think the guy is stupid.
Instead, I see his tirade as a well-planned effort to show that even the aging dean of the newsroom can still can bring in the readers. Newspaper budgets are shrinking, after all. You’ve got to demonstrate your worth to the advertising machine, and Vesley did just that.
Of course, as a long-time crony of Kemper Freeman and the Bellevue pavement brigade, it’s not like he had to stretch to play the part. (Side note: Kemper Freeman doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry. Interesting….)
All this allowed James to score points with the pro-development community just when they were stinging from their election losses, while shoring up his big man on campus reputation with those whipper-snapper Gen-Y kids in the Times analytics department. Well played, James.
Never mind that some will use his pathetic ideas as an excuse to validate their hatred toward cyclists.
It’s just business, right?
Unfortunately I suspect you’re right. Amazing how one emotive opintion can hold sway against a hundred facts.
Speaking of facts, here’s the Copenhagenize take on the idea: http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/05/rewarding-cyclists.html