In this year's budget, the city of Louisville has committed $300,000 to create new bike lanes on city streets. Much more has been spent in previous years to create bike lanes on streets like Breckinridge, Kentucky and Grinstead Drive.
Meanwhile, anyone who's driven in just about any part of the city will confirm that a large percentage of our public roads are, literally, crumbling away. Giant potholes and other deterioration are rattling motorists' teeth and damaging their cars.
I recognize the benefits of cycling. But this equation seems absurd to me.
Even the staunchest champions of bike lanes have to admit that the number of city residents who actually use them is tiny, compared to the number of automobiles on those same streets. So why are we ignoring one of the basic purposes of a city - to maintain its infrastructure - for what can only be regarded as a luxury?
If Louisville had plenty of money to go around, then sure - let's create more bike lanes. But our current approach is like not feeding your kids so you can afford to buy them prom dresses and video games.
As the new "in" thing, bike lanes may get a lot of national attention. But street repair is a far more basic and vital need. If we let our streets crumble, our claim of being a "world class city" becomes absurd.