Connolly vs. Cantor On Bike Sharing

This coming Monday, city councilor John Connolly will hold a public hearing about his brain-child -- or Mayor Menino's brain-child, depending who you ask -- a bike-share program for Boston, which is getting a helping start-up grant from the state. Appropriately, this hearing will be at a bicycle shop: Landry's on Comm Ave. Starts at 6:00pm.

But wait, is this all a giant wasteful boondoggle? Congressional Republicans seem to think so!

That's the impression I get from today's issue of the "Whipping Post," the daily floor schedule put out by Minority Whip Eric Cantor. (See, he's the 'whip,' and they 'post' this schedule, so they call it the 'Whipping Post.' Get it?)

Today's Post features a "Weekly Waste Watch" item, and guess what? it's about the first bike-share program in the country, right in Washington DC. This week's Waste Watch references a WTOP report on plans to expand that program from 10 racks to 50, with around 500 bikes. There are some 1000 registered "Smartbike" members, paying an annual fee of $40, according to the article, which says that people are mostly using the bikes for commuting, and that there have been very few reported problems.

Or, as the Whipping Post quotes (bolding is theirs):

"It began as a pilot program, but now D.C.'s Smartbike program is pedaling toward a huge expansion... there will be numerous neighborhoods that get the bikes, including Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Capitol Hill, Anacostia and Georgetown.

DDOT [District of Columbia Department of Transportation] has set aside about $3 million in stimulus money to fund the upcoming expansion."

Yes, that's right, the Whip bold-faced Georgetown for emphasis. I guess because rich people live there who should be able to afford their own bicycles.

So if you go to Monday's hearing, be sure to ask Connolly whether the state grant money will be paying for bikes in neighborhoods like Beacon Hill.



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