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Meet Logan Square Driver, the Steven Colbert of the Safe Streets Movement


Last week I noticed an odd comment on my post about Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to tweak the universally despised parking meter deal, including the introduction of free Sunday parking in outlying neighborhoods in exchange for longer metered hours downtown. After a River North resident wrote in to complain that parking rates are already high in his district, someone responded calling themselves Logan Square Driver, with a “Stop the War on Cars” stop sign for an avatar.

“Agreed,” LSD wrote. “Even though I don't live there, my friends in River North moved there for the abundant parking and ease of car-ownership. If they had wanted a walkable neighborhood with abundant public transit and bike-friendly streets, they would have moved to some communist country!” After scratching my head, I responded that I assumed LSD was being ironic, since River North, located a stone's throw from the Loop, actually is a walkable neighborhood with great transit access and several streets with bike lanes.

On closer inspection, Logan Square Driver appears to be a brilliant send-up of cranky pro-car, anti-bike types like local columnists John Kass and Mark Konkol, as well as auto-bound Chicagoans like the folks who made so much noise at last week’s meeting on the Milwaukee bike lane proposal. Much like political satirist Steven Colbert’s absurdly conservative TV persona skewers the Right, LSD is lampooning self-centered motorists who think convenient driving conditions are more important than safe streets for pedestrians and bicyclists.

LSD has been been tweeting sporadically since September at @LoganSqDr. Here's a typical tweet:

I can't wait to drive my car down the Dearborn bike lane! Problem with that, cyclists? Maybe you should pay for the lanes. CC: @john_kass

— Logan Square Driver (@LoganSqDriver) December 14, 2012

Last week LSD launched a new Tumblr blog that further showcases his or her Jonathan Swift-like wit, as well as what seems to be a thorough knowledge of transportation history, urban planning issues and other topics near-and-dear to Streetsblog readers. In the five wickedly clever essays posted so far, the author raises a call to arms to “True Warriors,” AKA motorists, against the fictional bike, pedestrian and transit menace. LSD suggests strategies like ridiculing young people who are too foolish to choose an “adult” transportation mode, and railing against the dangers of scofflaw cyclists, when everybody know autos are to blame for the carnage on our streets. Here’s a sample:

Decades ago, we set aside road space and said, “This space belongs to automobiles”. We decided the pedestrians are free to use that space, as long as they defer to cars - as long as they “look both ways before crossing the street” and refrain from crossing when cars are approaching. We enshrined this decision into law, designating pedestians who would ignore it “jaywalkers”. “Where did bicycles fit into this?”, you may ask. Don’t be silly. Bicycles were and are for children and triathletes. The idea that somone on a child’s toy, dressed like a superhero, would expect to be the equal of an adult who has paid for his own automobile, is so absurd that we did not even coin a term like “jaywalker” for those who would try to undermine the chosen order.

I don’t know for sure who Logan Square Driver is, but I’m confident it’s someone well-known in Logan Square’s burgeoning transportation advocacy community. Hopefully the author will unmask herself or himself at Wednesday’s Streetsblog Reader Meetup, 5:30 – 9 p.m. at Haymarket Brewing, 737 West Halsted.

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