The local newspaper has been doing an ongoing series called "Reset 2010" wherein they prod readers to reconsider our local governmental spending priorities in the light of state tax shortfalls.
Recently it was "kick those irritating spandex people" day, with columnist Joni Balter writing:
"The bicycle lobby helped elect the mayor and now it wants significant bike striping all over town in return." Read the full article: "Now is not right time to ask Seattle voters to fund bicycle improvements" here.
As a cyclist who also drives a car, I get a tired of such either/or logic. If you build the bike infrastructure, people will use it. I often ride on two streets: 32nd Ave NW and 24th Ave NW, which, during the past 18 months have been painted, where wide enough, with a bike lane and in the narrow bits, been "sharrowed," that is, had the road surface stenciled with the symbol that means: "motorists and cyclist need to share this road." At first, it felt strange heading my front wheel at the apex of the sharrow, which notes the position on the road where it's safest for cyclists to ride, but if you do it, you avoid the danger of being "doored" by someone opening the driver's side door into your path. Sure, it costs money to sharrow the road, and motorists are puzzled and sometimes get a bit upset initially, but after a while everyone adjusts and it's the new normal.
Striping a road is an investment in the future of the community. You may not use it now, as you don't ride a bike. But that can change. If it's safer to ride on the road, you will be more likely to do it. It has similarities with using tax payer $s to fund public schools. I don't have any kids in the public schools, but I still pay my property taxes, as a downpayment on the future. When I'm retired and need to use my pension, the kids I supported in school will be grown up and paying back into the system by paying into social security. I invested in their future, they invest in mine.
If you think about funding road infrastructure improvements that expand the possibilities for multi-modal use, whining that "we're shoving aside the cars" isn't necessarily valid. I wonder what the bottomline, $-wise, really is. Cutting out all the white paint still won't build us a new 520 bridge, and when we come out of the current recession, we'll still have terrible traffic and too many of us will be obese because it's still too dangerous on the road if you don't drive, and too darned difficult to incorporate biking short distances into our normal life because cyclists will still be marginalizes as wierdos, instead of normal people like everyone else.