Chicago, Seattle Mayors Spar Over Bike Lanes, Tech Workers

Nothing like a little friendly competition between mayors. It seems a feud of sorts has developed between Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn over who can build the best bike lanes.

Credit for this awesome image goes to ##http://seattlebikeblog.com/2013/02/20/mayor-mcginn-to-rahm-emanuel-seattle-will-keep-its-bikers-thank-you/## ##Seattle Bike Blog##

At a speech in December marking the opening of the Dearborn Street protected bike lanes, Emanuel boasted that Chicago was going to lure Seattle’s tech workers — and companies — with state of the art bicycling infrastructure.

Now I think it’s self-evident that I am a competitive, let alone an impatient person. So when my staff gave me this headline from Portland, it did bring a smile. The editorial from a magazine in Portland [the blog BikePortland.org] read, ‘Talk in Portland, Action in Chicago,’ as it reflected on Dearborn Street. The Seattle Bike Blog wrote, ‘Seattle can’t wait longer. We’re suddenly in a place where we’re envious of Chicago bike lanes.’ So I want them to be envious because I expect not only to take all of their bikers but I also want all the jobs that come with this.

Now Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is firing back, Seattle Bike Blog reports. McGinn addressed the challenge explicitly in his State of the City address earlier this week.

McGinn held up the city’s new 7th Avenue separated bike lane — which is being built with financial support from Amazon — as evidence that the city is working hard to support cycling:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, when he announced bike routes in downtown Chicago, called out Seattle, saying he wanted our bikers and our tech jobs. We’re going to work to keep them here.

Sounds like good, healthy fun. If only more mayors were competitive about making streets safer for their residents.

  • mikesonn

    So San Francisco isn’t even a thought? Thanks Ed Lee.

  • Anonymous

    Fighting over bikers like we’re a non-renewable resource. How cute. Of course, the beauty of building proper bike facilities is that bikers spring up wherever you plant the facilities.

  • ZestyWesty

    Sorry, I think Rahm would kick McGinn’s butt… 

  • Segue

    San Francisco has a long way to go to be considered a bike-friendly city. No Bay Bridge bike route? Restricted access on BART during rush hour? No way to cross the Bay Bridge at night except with a large motor vehicle?  Looks like dependance on oil is here to stay…

    We won’t talk about the embarrassing unreliability of the SF Bus system, the lack of triple racked buses, nor the fact that bikes are banned from the Muni surface rail system entirely.

  • G. W. Hayduke II

    Rahm already has Boeing back there and due to the increasing congestion of Mayor McShwin’s crazy quilt of bike lanes now impeding flow thru traffic FOR THE MAJORITY OF OUT CITIZENS WHO DRIVE (carpooling or not), Rahm can have our bikers as well.  We will keep the Tech jobs, thank you!

  • Dcmartin1

    Well Mayor Emanuel, if you think bike lanes are the key to getting our bikes and tech people to your fine city….and I am from Chicago…greatest city in the world….he had better not let the folks know what the tax structure is in Chicago and all around…its a lot higher than Seattle….and that might be because people have paid such high taxes…to make it the city it is…Lake Shore Drive, The Expressways, The Zoo, the unbelievable Museums and parks….gonna cost a lot more to live there…than here…if thats what the folks want..Dcmartin1
     

  • evan

    Before Mike McGinn was elected I was at a McGinn rally at a local bike shop. Mike arrived in a well-worn windbreaker on his beater, looking like everybody else. The only biker thing he didn’t have was a good night light, so I gave him an extra blinker from my panier. I think a lot of folks didn’t recognize him as a mayorial candidate until he took the microphone. Can anyone describe Rahm Emanuel on a bike? I think we might find some differences here…

  • People who drive are actually not the majority, at least not for commutes to downtown Seattle. Bus is the biggest commute segment into downtown, followed by car, rail, then bike, which is astonishingly high to be honest (the bike segment)

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