Friday, December 30, 2011

Ten goals for 2012

Concerning the bicycle, I thought about some goals I might aspire to achieve in the coming year. Without going too deep into it, these came to mind:
  1. At least once a week, January to December, go somewhere on the bike, if only to catch the bus at the end of the street.
  2. At least once a month, contact one elected official (any level of gov't, down to town council and school board) about bike safety, bike advocacy, street design, racks, whatever.
  3. At least once a month, contact one business or building owner about improving bike infrastructure -- racks, security, etc.
  4. At least once a month, go on a group ride. Group: More than riding solo.
  5. At least once a month, get someone seriously interested in trying to use a bicycle for basic transportation, who isn't doing it already.
  6. Log my miles in the Car-Free Calculator.
  7. Beat 1,000 miles. Maybe better stated, how early can I hit 1,000 miles?
  8. Complete my fleet, i.e., have every ridable bike ready to mount and ride off on a moment's notice.
  9. Equip every car I own with a bike rack.
  10. Acquire a growler from Pittsburgh's East End Brewing.
That's enough to start with, anyway.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The evil plan is working

What worries me about the possible transit cuts ("Port Authority braces for another slash to service; 35% reduction possible if funding doesn't increase") is that an influential set of people, whether elected or not, is smiling, leaning back in their chairs, and thinking, "Good, the plan is working."

State GOP leaders have been on public record since at least 2008 with plans for dismantling public transit as we've known it for almost 50 years (link). Every important decision since the Spring 2005 funding fight has fed into this possibility, though no single action overtly screams privatization.

Don't think it's not happening, though, and don't think they won't prevail. They are slowly killing off every piece of the system that cannot make money, and replacing old, undersized buses with new, high-capacity artics, all on the public dime.

Once complete, one more pen stroke will effect an ownership transfer to private hands, and the deep-pocketed puppeteers will get what they have always wanted: Total control of all existing public transit in metro Pittsburgh. They will pay its non-union drivers miserable wages with shoddy benefits, charge you $5 to ride, and expect you to say "thank you very much" for rescuing them from the horror they have painted Port Authority.

Check back around 2016 and see just how right I am.