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