Two cities, two bike lanes, one is successful, the other isn't. Why?
Witness now a tale of two cities. One the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. The other, Portland Oregon, is the City of Roses. Each city has a growing bicycling infrastructure and activists who are involved in it. And yet when confronted with the same challenge they each had a different approach.
Each city has a bike lane covered in layer of debris. The kind of stuff that punctures tires and makes it difficult to ride. In Portland a group of citizen activists who are part of PDX Transformation put on safety vests and grabbed some brooms and cleaned the bike lane.
But in Philadelphia it was a different story. A city blessed with paid, professional activists, The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. Who leaped into immediate action by Tweeting for someone to take a picture for them. Instead of having an employee or intern go check it out themselves.
Instead of organizing a work party to clear the lane of debris. I have no doubt that the BCGP will make a few phone calls and send a few e-mails to various city agencies asking for them to clean the lane. Which will be ignored or subject to empty promises.
Philadelphia cyclists are at the mercy of professional activists who have become so wrapped up in nebulous long term goals. That they have forgotten how to get their hands dirty over more immediate needs.