by John Steinberger | December 9, 2018 4:14 pm
If you listen to a lot of Charleston elected officials and bicycle activists, you would get the impression that bike paths are a civil right. They tell us that the bicycle is a form of transportation and the government owes bicyclists paths to travel everywhere in the city. We’re even told that a large number of people want to ride their bicycles to shop for groceries. I shop at West Ashley Walmart at least once a week, and even though there are bicycle paths throughout the big neighborhoods along Bees Ferry Road, I have never seen anyone ride a bicycle to that store.
The emphasis on bicycle transportation is part of the New Urbanism movement. The movement is guided by the Leigh Gallagher book The End of the Suburbs, which condemns the suburban lifestyle of single family homes with attached garages and traveling by car. To the advocates of New Urbanism, the car is responsible for global warming and sea level rise. They want people living in apartments and riding bicycles to reduce their “carbon footprint.” The New Urbanists also want shopping centers built with fewer parking spaces, which is not conducive to the suburban lifestyle.
The City of Charleston bought the former Northbridge Piggly Wiggly property for $3 million for the expressed purpose of improving “connectivity” in the surrounding neighborhoods. Connectivity is a New Urbanism code word for more bike paths. The four transportation designs for the area recently presented by Charleston County transportation officials even showed bike paths going between houses. In some neighborhoods, that would require homeowners to dismantle their backyard fences. Such a policy would result in declining home values and possibly provide a conduit for criminal activity.
The West Ashley Master Plan, adopted by Charleston City Council in early 2018, shows bike paths everywhere. What has never been addressed is how much they are going to cost. How much are taxpayers expected to pay for the vocal minority which insists on calling bicycling a form of transportation? Bike paths are definitely not a civil right.
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