Denver, Colorado Editorial: The folly of bike lanes

I’m a Denver transplant.  I came here almost 50 years ago in my 20’s having escaped from New York City.  I’m all too familiar with traffic congestion on roadways like the Long Island Expressway (not-so-fondly known as the longest parking lot in the world), the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the West Side Highway, the Belt Parkway, and, of course, midtown Manhattan.  Other than in the wee small hours of the morning, the so-called “expressways” are such in name only.  And the streets of Manhattan were the inspiration for the term “gridlock.”

What Denverites complained of as rush-hour traffic on the Valley Highway in the 1970s seemed like the wide open spaces to me, by comparison.  That was then; this is now.  You bet, we have a serious problem of traffic congestion in the metro area, the consequence of our rapid population growth.  And it’s not just at rush hours.  This is the new normal here.  But like so many other public policy problems, this one has no “solution,” just mitigations, one of which is mass public transit.  New York City has plenty of that, including a massive subway system, but the traffic congestion is nonetheless a constant, just as it is in Chicago, Boston, L.A and, as it will be from now on, in Denver.

Metro Denver’s mass public transit isn’t as “mass” as NYC’s.  We have our own buses and light rail, and that helps somewhat.  But what certainly won’t make any significant difference is the so-called “multi-model” remedy of bike lanes.  I know, Colorado is a healthy, active, outdoorsy place.  And I have nothing against bicycles or bicyclists ─ except for the minority of them who are arrogant, holier-than-thou, condescending, enviro-signaling, road hogs.  (Incidentally, Spandex is derived from oil.)