The Establishment strikes back, Upper Providence Township council votes down the adoption of their Trail Plan.
Email Communication from DVBC member and Bicycle Coalition Volunteer Woody Kotch:
I attended the Upper Providence Township Council meeting tonight. It was the biggest crowd ever at a township meeting. I'd say three hundred residents came out to rant at the council on the poor job they did on communicating with the community on this project and urged them to vote down the entire proposal, which they did.
The speakers from the audience called the report by the consultants a waste of $80,000.00 that was poorly done (Note: this was federal money). The arguments of higher taxes, undisclosed expenses, security issues, and eminant domain concerns, that the township would take land from property owners highlighted the opponents points. Only three people spoke out in favor of the proposal. 30 or so against.
A lot of work went into this plan and it is a shame that it seems to have been killed by the inclusion of trails that would have been built on or behind private property many years in the future. In this case it might have been better to start small with just some designated streets and extended sidewalks. That might have been downed too. The venom in the room was that thick.
Sounds like another populist revolt in the burbs, apparently the reality of $4 a gallon gas, an obesity epidemic and climate change doesn't translate to support for bicycling and walking.
Danish Urban Planning Guru Jan Gehl noted similar opposition in the 1960's when Copenhagen decided to prioritize bicycling and walking over motor vehicles. The city's solution? Take baby steps every year. Now 1/3 of all commuter trips taken in Copenhagen are by bicycle.