Friday, August 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

A bicycle bilk for Stu

Right after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood proposed a "sea change" in transportation policy to "make biking as important as driving" - by building more bike lanes and maybe even an interstate bike-path system - Stu Bykofsky weighs in derisively on local efforts along those lines.

A bicycle bilk for Stu

Philly's top bicycle nemesis is back - and we've got him!

Right after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood proposed a "sea change" in transportation policy to "make biking as important as driving" - by building more bike lanes and maybe even an interstate bike-path system - Stu Bykofsky weighs in derisively on local efforts along those lines.

Stu begins by complaining that only 4 tickets have been written to bicyclists in the first quarter of the year, versus six in the same time last year. Oddly, he then cites a similar discrepancy in ticketing cars, but then claims that one is clearly due to the harsh winter, an explanation not considered for bikes - I suppose because there's nothing like a bike for getting around in 23 inches of snow.

He also reiterates that it's ludicrous to trust the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia to monitor the amount of bicycle ridership in the city because they're "partisans." He says this is "like letting vegetarian "volunteers" count hot dogs eaten at a barbecue." An odd choice, given that a more handy true-life analogy would be "letting meat-and-dairy-industry 'professionals' count how much meat and dairy Americans should eat, according to the 'impartial' USDA."

But Stu's piece de resistance today is the fact that the counters are concentrating on good-weather days instead of bad. "The coalition wants to report the highest possible numbers," he explains.

Well, yeah, they probably do. But if it's known that ridership falls in inclement weather (something that may still be debatable given all those bikes whizzing around in two feet of snow), that would logically be factored in as long as you have data points that are consistent with each other - i.e. if you counted in good weather before, you would want to minimize factors that would unfairly alter the current results.

Let me say, though, that I also have still seen bike riders on sidewalks since the bike lanes went into effect. I don't recall anyone claiming that a couple of streets with bike lanes would suddenly change the behavior of the entire city's bicyclists, but if you're one of these sidewalk-riding bozos, remember: Every time you mount that curb, you're only proving Stu Bykofsky right. And really, who wants that?

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Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

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Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.


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Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.


Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...


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Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.


Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.


In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man





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