Podcast: Do Bicycles Cause Gentrification?

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This week we’re chatting with Dr. Melody Hoffman, professor of communications studies at Anoka Ramsey Community College at the American Planning Association Midwest Conference about her book Bike Lanes are White Lanes. We discuss how bike lanes are flashpoints for neighborhood gentrification fights, bicycle advocacy history and the women’s movement, and how bikes can be seen as rolling signifiers.


  • CarlessInOKC

    I like the content, but think the branding of this book is problematic. I could definitely see this burrowing into people’s minds that bike lanes aren’t for them, and then support for active transportation infrastructure may wane with the groups that could benefit from it the most.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I don’t like the title at all, and people need to think about what “gentrification” means. The people moving into cities and riding bikes are, for the most part, not rich, even if their skin has a little less melanin than some people have. It’s not like they are driving BMWs.


    Imagine it was 60 years ago, and people started saying similar things about infrastructure and services for, and businesses frequented by, Black people who were moving into predominantly White neighborhoods. Actually, that’s exactly what happened.

    Just more tribalism. I’m against it.

  • When I did a newspaper report on the Queensborough Bridge bike lanes 7-8 years ago, about 75 percent of the bikers that I interviewed that I saw and/or interviewed were immigrants, the vast majority of them being Latinos, but also a sprinkling of cyclists from Europe. And almost everyone I interviewed was commuting to work.
    Yes, that is a thoroughly unscientific survey, as Brian Lehrer says, but it fits with my more frequent observations of who is using the 34th Avenue bike lanes in Jackson Heights.

  • The Overhead Wire

    It’s true. In the episode Melody talks about how people of color and mostly latinos are seeing the largest increase in ridership.

  • The Overhead Wire

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts after listening to the episode.


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