Today’s Headlines for Friday, October 20

  • Emanuel’s Running in 2019, Touts Affordability of Homes W/ Short Commutes as Amazon Bait (Crain’s)
  • Editorial: Chicago’s Proposal to Tax Ride-Share to Fund Transit Will Help the Poor (Washington Post)
  • John Kass Drags Out His Old “Make Cyclists Pay” Warhorse (Tribune)
  • Changes to Bus Boarding Locations at 95th Street Station Start Tonight (Sun-Times)
  • Mural At Armitage Station Is One of Many New Public Artworks in Lincoln Park (DNA)
  • Vinyl-Themed B-Sides Coffee + Tea Opening at Beverly’s 99th Street Metra Stop (DNA)
  • Pilsen Quality of Life Plan Survey Will Be Presented Saturday 9 AM at Juarez Academy (DNA)
  • Belmont Flyover TOD Meeting Rescheduled for Monday 10/23 6-8 PM at Center on Halsted (DNA)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

wide banner copy

  • planetshwoop

    I’m curious about the juxtaposition of the Kass piece and the Wash Post editorial about Uber.

    (Full disclosure: I despise Kass’ columns, and his repugnant small-mindedness makes my blood boil. Asking for a discount if you’ve never called 911 is ridiculous, and typical of his “if it isn’t for me why should I have to pay for it” mentality” If he has a heart-attack from Flamin’ Hot Cheetos I hope 911 is well staffed or he’d write a column about that too.)

    It seems to me that increasing bicycle using might be as damaging to transit as Uber. Yes, bikes don’t generate pollution, they don’t generate congestion, they are more space efficient, etc. etc. But I’m guessing most of the people who bike didn’t give up their cars — they stopped taking the el or Metra.

    Bikes and transit are more symbiotic than Uber/Lyft and transit. But I think bicyclists have to think about at what point we might pay for infrastructure besides just through property taxes. If biking increases to 10%, and CTA ridership is way down — should we do something about it? Or if gas tax revenues decline, do we raise them to continue to squeeze the same amount of money out of the remaining drivers (like the govt does with cigarette consumers)?

    I love biking, and I pay for local services and sales taxes on services to have my bike fixed, repaired, a gym membership, etc. But I don’t kid myself that I’m really cutting too many greenhouse gases – I’m just one less seat on the train or bus that someone else can take, and I think most bikers are in the same boat.

    Eventually that will cause some financial pain, and I think a lot about the right way to compensate for it.

  • rwy

    I take the CTA when it is practical. But it often isn’t. So I bike. If the bike where to be gone then I would very definitely drive.

    Nor is revenue being taken away from something else a reason to place a tax. Uber is being taxed because they impose a cost of the areas that they operate in.

  • planetshwoop

    I agree but the point is that if biking grows enough, eventually it will hollow out a) transit and b) gas taxes. So yes, by all means, tax Uber/Lyft/Via etc. But the continued growth of cycling will eventually mean a reckoning for revenue.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    If cycling ever grows to the point here where it’s taking a significant bite out of gas tax revenue, I’m guessing it will more than make up for the lost revenue in savings on wear-and-tear on roads, time lost in congestion, bills for dealing with the aftermath of serious crashes, society’s cost for dealing with medical issues caused by sedentary lifestyle, etc.

  • rwy

    We’re nowhere near that point. Best not to encourage cycling by not placing another tax on it.

  • Alex_H

    These are good questions. I’ve wondered this myself. I ultimately have shrugged and decided that if the day comes that cycling is taking a measurable bite out of transit, that will be a “good problem to have.” (Whereas I would say Uber taking a measurable bite out of transit is a “bad” problem.)