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.
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.