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 ## ##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] 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.

8 thoughts on Chicago, Seattle Mayors Spar Over Bike Lanes, Tech Workers

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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…

  6. 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)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Chicago Bike Lane Envy Sweeps the Nation

Who would have thunk it just two years ago: Portland, Seattle — even some New York City residents — jealous of Chicago’s cutting-edge bike infrastructure. But here we sit, roughly a year and a half into Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first term, and the city of Chicago has a protected, bi-directional bike lane running directly through the […]

Denver Tech Companies’ Number 1 Demand: Bike Lanes

First Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel famously threatened to steal Seattle’s tech workers with protected bike lanes. Then Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn fired back saying the city would use protected bike lanes to keep them there. Today, Michael Andersen at People for Bikes reports that Denver wants in on the competition. Tami Door, president of the […]

Look Out Portland, New York, Minneapolis: Here Comes Chicago

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is wasting no time making good on his campaign promise to make Chicago a world-class cycling city. Just 24 days after his swearing-in ceremony, Chicago has its first bike box. The new mayor and his department of transportation head, Gabe Klein, formerly of DC, held a press conference Tuesday at the site […]

Bikes, Bikes, and… Bikes!

It’s all bikes, all the time on the Network today. Chicago Hails Loop Lane: On Sunday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new protected bike lane on Dearborn Street. “The new route connects the near north side with the south loop and is designed to appeal to young, tech-savvy commuters who work downtown,” writes A/N […]

Chicago Business Owner: No Protected Bike Lanes Is a Dealbreaker

As our Chicago readers are well aware, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made bike infrastructure a key part of his economic strategy. Since Emanuel took office, Chicago has been adding protected bike lanes perhaps faster than any city in the United States. The famously sharp-tongued Emanuel has even pledged to attract businesses from other cities, notably […]