Jeff Speck on HWC Engineering’s bicycle-free, two-way streets abortion: “I guess that’s what you get when you ask engineers who do not value biking to change a plan.”


The photo above was tweeted yesterday by Jeff Speck, and shows the protected bike lanes being installed according to his recommendation in Cedar Rapids.

When Speck made his proposals for New Albany, a bike lane protected in this way was his standard template for a biking network he envisioned cohabiting the current one-way street grid following its conversion to two-way traffic.

Here is Speck’s tweet about Cedar Rapids.

Noting that between the efforts of Team Gahan and HWC Engineering, roughly 95% of Speck’s recommended bicycling infrastructure improvements has been removed from our heroically under-performing “bare minimum” Option B, I replied to Speck’s tweet — and he went straight to the heart of the matter in response.

Damned if he didn’t “like” it.

Option B is an inept compromise, and we must put the debit where the debit’s due, with Mayor Jeff Gahan himself.

Neither Gahan nor his illustrious crew of hee-hawing suburbanites has ever understood the future significance of bicycling, and as I predicted all along, Jeff Speck’s 21st-century grid plan was run through New Albany’s 19th-century sausage grinder and stripped of most aspects (biking and design) that might have served as two-way mobility multipliers in years to come.

Yes, we’re going back to two-way streets as they were, not forward to two-way streets as they might be. For anyone who ever spent five minutes with Gahan, this should come as no surprise.

For a glitzy park system, no expenditure is too great for Gahan’s TIF fetish, but for transformative transportation, we mustn’t ever transform too much, and the Potemkin plan we devise, more surface show than real, must be calibrated for available federal financing, with its familiar sluices for widespread beak-wetting. We can find millions for an indoor practice field, but can’t spend an additional penny on getting streets right.

It’s amazing what inferior education and electoral ambition can do to stunt one’s cognitive ability, and whatever we get from HWC Engineering comes equipped with the usual campaign finance siphons, and so as such, what’s Gahan running for next?

If it’s any office beyond dogcatcher, I’d think twice.