Adonia Lugo at the League of American Bicyclists and I co-wrote an academic piece about LA and Minneapolis’s “world class” bicycling. You can access the full article here. No log in or special access needed!
Article summary: In many U.S.metropolitan areas, bicycle advocates have been breathing sighs of relief as their elected officials join with them in fighting for bicycle facilities. No longer a battle between bicyclists and their government, the partnerships have blossomed into more than just bicycle paths. Through two case studies, we explore how politicians are exploiting the growing appeal of bicycle culture for economic development. In Los Angeles an open streets event, CicLAvia, brings together a diverse array of residents but politicians and local business owners celebrate it for its potential to increase downtown development. In Minneapolis, the city government appears to have used a popular off-street bicycle path to ‘clean up’ areas of town and create prime real estate for luxury apartments. The city’s mayor unabashedly connects his dedication to bicycle infrastructure to recruiting the ‘creative class’ to Minneapolis. In this article we argue that advocates and policymakers who frame bicycle amenities as ‘creative class’ bait ignore and potentially undermine bicycle mobility by those who do not fit into this desired group of
citizens. Furthermore, conflating the practice of bicycling with specific urban development projects designed to accommodate it, limits what can be seen as ‘bike friendly’ neighbourhoods and manufactures scarcity in what should be a public resource: urban street.