Critical Mass in San Francisco was one of those reminders that I didn't belong in California anymore. Every month or so, the arrogant, rude, and holier-than-thou bicycling sorts would intentionally create traffic jams by ignoring all the traffic rules at rush hour. It was part of liberalism's belief that if you don't do things our way, well, then you are some sort of immoral and depraved person who needs to get slapped across the face a few times.
Now I see that the same crowd is in charge of the U.S. Department of Transportation. From the March 27, 2010 New York Times is this report that Secretary of Transportation LaHood was announcing the end of "favoring motorized transportation at the expense of nonmotorized":
The new policy, which was introduced a few days after Mr. LaHood gave a well-received speech from atop a table at the National Bike Summit, is said to reflect the Transportation Department’s support for the development of fully integrated transportation networks.
It calls on state and local governments to go beyond minimum planning and maintenance requirements to provide convenient and safe amenities for bikers and walkers. “Walking and biking should not be an afterthought in roadway design,” the policy states.Look, I enjoy bicycling and walking. I occasionally bicycled to work when I worked for HP. When I lived in Irvine, I often walked the three miles to work--even though, in a liberal controlled city--there were often no sidewalks. (Everything had been "planned" for bicyclists--not pedestrians.)
I've found the experience of sharing the road with automobiles scary enough that I am generally sympathetic to laws requiring automobile drivers to behave as though bicyclists are humans, too. There's a place for bicycling and pedestrian travel as part of a city. But the arrogant assumption that anyone who drives an automobile is lazy, stupid, or an environmental criminal--that's the subtext of what Critical Mass and their friends like Secretary LaHood are saying.
Somehow, I'm not expecting bicycles to replace trucks for transporting merchandise anytime soon, nor is bicycling or walking a realistic alternative for most commuters. The only that it could be would involve the sort of totalitarian control that liberals seem to love: "You are going to live here. And if you find a job across town that works better--you are going to have to move--or arrive drenched in sweat (or snow) 90 minutes later."