Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Detroit's Unusual Opportunity to Become Bike City

When people think of the future, Detroit doesn't usually come to mind. Detroit has been a sinking ship for the 50 years. A combination of racism, changing economy and some very bad decisions have left it a shell of it's former self. Whole neighborhoods have turned into rubbled ghost towns. The downtown looks impressive from a distance, but on closer look, appears more a set for one of those movies where everybody on earth disappears.

Toby Barlow ,in his New York Times Op-Ed, thinks that from the ashes of Detroit's ruin, a vibrant bike-centric city could arise. The city's emptiness, gives Detroiter's an opportunity to remake their city with all sorts of bike-enhancing infrastucture in ways that crowded cities can't. Why? There's nobody in the way. Nobody to complain about how those bike-nuts are taking over valuable realestate.

Already, more people in Detroit are hopping on bikes. Why not? There's not much motor traffic to deal with. That's a dream of many cyclists. Where'd all the cars go? Who cares, lets ride! This holiday weekend gave me a chance to have more of the road to myself(and other happy cyclists), as many motorists clogged up someone else's roads, on their way to the lake cabin. It was a pleasure.

While my city hasn't been hit as hard as Detroit, maybe this down economy can give the "bike-way"the chance it needs to create more bike infrastructure. Let's use this slack time to grab some more road.

Drawing by Esther Pearl Watson


Doohickie said...

This story has been making its way around the blogosphere. It almost makes me wish I still lived in Dearborn; it was easy riding distance from Detroit.

Lovely Bicycle! said...

Heh, what a great way to put a positive spin on the state of things! It would be wonderful if Detroit became the American Copenhagen!

She Rides a Bike said...

Imagine. Someone with the vision to think a bike centric community might be a community where people would want to live and be able to LIVE! How often do our elected leaders ever ask us to try something different, really try, and demonstrate why it really isn't that hard and might actually be good for us? Cash for clunkers. Pretty uninspiring and a whole lot of the same old thing. Good for Detroit.