That, Sir, Is A Bike Lane

There is something all too empowering about a bike lane.

Really, when you get right down to it, all you have is an ephemeral white line upon equally ephemeral man-made pavement. In mere minutes, the bike lane can be reduced to nothingness, the restricting boundary erased like a stray pencil mark on white college rule, the manicured rockery eroded like silt along a riverbank.

And yet for some reason we give unto the bike lane as if it were more than that. As if its whiteness — purity’s hue, mind you — is more than just the rigid absence of color. We are asked to share the road, to co-inhabit the concrete, and we do that. We do it both willingly and lawfully, steering our motor vehicles or our pedestrian paws away from said lane. Seemingly at all costs we avoid this forbidden expanse…save for those of us who pedal our Schwinns down its purity-lined path, of course.

As drivers and foot commuters, we yield space to our two-wheeled brethren. One could argue, however, that they do not yield equally to others in return. Consider, if you will, all those cyclists who filter into the flow of motorized traffic, who wander onto walkways, who stray from the sanctity of the bike lane in spite of its mere existence. Wherefore art thou, dear cyclist, when this holy light through yonder pavement breaks? Dost thou not revel in its grandeur, in its grace? Nay, thou dost not.

What it really boils down to is this: the bike lane is underutilized and overrated. We share with it; it shares not with us. Yet in this fair city of ours, this wonderful oasis of emerald infrastructure, the bike lane holds the key to all political perpetuation.

So I propose this.

Imagine if the bike lane held not just bikes, but people of all modalities of transportation, all walks of life. As we share our external havens with cyclists, they too will share their haven with us.

The bike lane will play host to thousands at a time, perhaps up to 20,000 in one sitting alone. They will sit and stand and scream and cheer and turn this lane once reserved for occasional transport into a celebration of emotion.

And yes, there will be seats. Tiered seats with cushioned backs and armrests with cup holders. Seats that fill with bodies and warmth and vibrance. Seats that contain the absolute verisimilitude of human life.

The bike lane will become a sought-after destination. Parents will take their children to witness greatness in the bike lane, to teach them values in the bike lane, to share memories with them in the bike lane. Young adults will mingle in the bike lane, find love in the bike lane, take their dates to the bike lane. The bike lane will be characterized as a social dwelling, an intersection of interaction.

Then, you will see it blossom. The city will flourish in its midst. Foam fingers will emerge, pride will swell, happiness will sprout, civic unity will thrive.

And there, in its center, at its heart, will sit a slab of stained hardwood upon which to play. A testament to achievement, to will, to sacrifice, to goodness. It will be the focal point of the bike lane, where the patrons of the bike lane will lay their eyes when they sit and stand and scream and cheer.

It will dawn on someone that this isn’t a bike lane. That it’s an arena. A venue. But no one will care. Because they will go to it anyway. Because it’s theirs and it serves a purpose greater than any white line on cold pavement could ever attain.

For now, though, we must disguise it. If not, it will never get built. This sanctuary of ours, sports fans, must be shrouded amidst the impracticality of sequestered white lineage. To see it come to fruition, we have to hide it, lest our government see it for what it is.

So please, sir. Mayor McGinn, sir. Your Almightiness, sir. Please do us this favor. Please give us this bike lane. It will bring you money beyond your wildest dreams. It will make you a hero. It will be unlike any other bike lane you’ve vomited upon our streets thus far.

It may not look like a bike lane, it may not smell like a bike lane, it may not even be a bike lane.

But if we say it is, will you believe us?

11 responses

  1. Genious. Sheer, subtle genious. Oh how I hope this reaches McGinn’s computer screen. Maybe this sports fan’s ‘reaching across the aisle’ to the ignorant liberal’s personal passion will help them see what value there is in having a team to be proud of and root for.

  2. Sorry, I’ve got to add one more. Alex, I’ve been reading your articles on this site for a long time and this may be the best one yet. Again- ingenious, and bravo.

  3. bikelanesfor themasses!

    Where are the taggers when you need them? Imagine the works of art these bike lanes could produce, framed within the white lines. I have chalk but that is so temporary, bring on the taggers!

  4. Thanks for the kind words, Matt, much appreciated.

    I do want to add that this isn’t really about bike lanes, so much as it’s the juxtaposition of two rather polarizing politically-charged topics.

    On the surface, someone might read this (or just the title, or just part of the article) and think this is some hatred towards cyclists, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. This serves to compare the reckless funding of these ill-conceived bike lanes by the local government to the real need (perceived need by some, real need to those of us who are sports fans) for a plan on a multi-purpose facility that would net us the return of the Sonics.

    I realize to some folks, the idea of an arena is twice as ludicrous as the idea of bad bike lanes, but that’s beside the point. It’s not about what’s being funded, per se, it’s about how the taxpayer money is being spent. Would you rather have your hard-earned dollars put towards these poorly-planned bike lanes that serve no real purpose (some cyclists, themselves, say these bike lanes are ill-conceived) or towards something that could be utilized by all citizens and, simultaneously, generate revenue for the citizenry?

    There are petty individuals out there who will read this and just get upset. I understand that. But before you let your emotions get the best of you, I urge you to look past the facade. I tend to think the readers of this website are of a critical enough mindset that they can do just that, and in the end, will at least consider a) how ridiculous this whole article sounds and b) how ridiculous the reality of the current political situation has truly become.

  5. I like mayor mcshwinn…

  6. Holt – You would!

  7. Thanks for the clarification on the article. Didn’t eat my wheaties when I first read it a couple days ago. Completely by me. Matt looked for and found what he wanted.

  8. Looked at the article and found what I saw.

  9. [...] not really big on the hazards of bicycling. You all know [...]

  10. […] fans know by now, McGinn has evolved over the course of his term from the bike-lane-loving hippie we once poked fun at to a hero that has professed his desire to return our favorite green-and-gold-clad basketball team […]

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