Mike McGinn's "Walk Bike Ride Challenge" a Waste of Taxpayer Money

Mayor Mike "The Bike" McGinn has persuaded a slew of public officials to set aside their cars during the month of July and get around solely by biking, walking, or taking public transit.

Is that really a good use of taxpayer money?

First, let's clear something up: Although it wasn't mentioned in the mayor's official announcement on the subject (or in the challenge's official name), carpooling is an acceptable behavior . That's how Jean Godden's staff told SW's Celina Kareiva that the extraordinarily mature columnist-cum-councilmember will be getting from meeting to meeting until month's end.

But doesn't simply riding shotgun or picking up your chief aide each morning go against the spirit of the car-free initiative? Probably. Yet if that's cheating, we hope all the participants follow Godden's lead or, worse (meaning better) yet, put on flammable suits and jump in the cockpits of a fleet of Indy cars and pass old Volvos on the shoulder to get where they need to get. Because not even a well-intentioned effort to get citizens out of their cars should get in the way of public officials serving those citizens as efficiently as possible.

If public officials want to bike, bus, or crawl to and from work, that's their prerogative. But if such greener-than-thou behavior gets in the way of providing the highest level of service to constituents while they're on the clock (and aren't electeds always kind of on the clock?), then good intentions will produce bad results. And you know it's only a matter of time before some of these do-gooders jet to a faraway junket--probably one on pedestrian-friendly cities.

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