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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Portland bike share program already running late

Could it be because Portland City Hall's darlings at the Alta Planning company can't get the job done in New York or Chicago? Apparently.

Comments (1)

Heh. Earlier this month, Fort Worth became the latest city to drink the Flavor-Aid on bike rental kiosks, and now half of the cities in the Southwest looking for "creative class" money are pointing to Fort Worth and crying "Well, THEY can afford it!" At the time it was announced, I just sighed and shrugged, figuring that Fort Worth had enough tax money to pay for this out of Barnett Shale fracking permits, and figured "We'll see what happens."

Yeah. About that. Apparently, under the previous mayor, Fort Worth became overloaded with all sorts of dopy "attracting the creative class" ideas, and the city is now seriously in debt. The current mayor had no choice but to institute extensive budget cuts to keep the city from defaulting on loans, leading to (drum roll) cuts to the arts. Now, you may laugh about the words "Fort Worth" and "arts" going together, but the city has had an extensive history in supporting artists for over 100 years, and the Bass family is famed for its generosity in contributing to Fort Worth's various arts projects. To residents in most cities, this would have come across as an expected cut. Fort Worthers are as horrified that the cuts have to happen, with a corresponding collapse in various arts programs, as Portlanders are about turning off the water fountains in downtown.

Sadly, the current budget cuts are just the beginning, and folks out there are already pointing to the bike rental kiosks as a waste of perfectly good city funds that could have gone toward more legitimate uses. Yes, they've already acknowledged that the kiosks will never pay for themselves, and that they're a perk demanded by yuppies who scream about getting rental bikes when they aren't available and then refusing to rent them when they are. If a business-savvy city like Fort Worth is already having problems with the whole concept, I honestly can't wait to hear the Bike Portland rationalizations when the Portland system craters and all of that money spent on it turns back into pumpkins and mice.

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