Brickbat: Just Take a Car


The Washington (D.C.) Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has spent five years and $3.8 million trying to build bicycle racks  at two of its stations. The project was originally projected to cost $500,000 and be completed by December 2015. The project still isn't finished due to "construction quality issues" that led the Authority to sever ties with two contractors, but officials say they hope to have it completed in just a few months. The racks will hold a total of 92 bikes.

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  2. But health care will be cheaper if our betters take it over.

  3. Jesus God…..$500k projected cost? Obviously a textbook case of corruption, otherwise I couldn’t imagine anyone giving such a stupid figure for TWO bike racks…..

    1. They’re large platform-style ones with a roof over it and such. $500k is still way too much for them, but by a factor of like 5 rather than 20 or so.

      The fact that they’ve managed to spend over a million dollars on them without actually getting them finished is uh, well, your tax dollars at work.

      1. That’s dumb: a roof? If someone can ride a bike in the rain, they can rack the bike in the rain.

        1. Roofs are fine. We have them all over the place in California. You can put solar panels on top. But no way to any of them cost $500k! Not even in California!

          1. Roofs are expensive. Projected cost: $20K. how much would rental be for a bike rack with roof ($20K) vs without ($500). How many bike commuters would pay the difference? How many pedestrians would be happier with the extra inconvenience of roofed bike racks?

            Markets answer all questions, when phrased properly. Markets would not support roofed bike racks.

    2. DC city government is third world, the winning bid was probably politically connected, took 75% then sub-contracted the work.

  4. They’re large racks that are partially covered from weather. So it’s a little more than just a few pieces of pipe bent and welded… all the same, a textbook case of government.

    These are the people that are best suited to manage every aspect of our lives and finances. Surely.

    1. If you let those people manage a school bake sale, it would end up $500K in debt.

    2. They have one of those at the College Park metro station and I know someone who uses it regularly. They said it was awesome and every station needs one.

    3. Here’s a video about it.

      I can see multiples of these costing a government millions to install. Any other organization could do it for 1/10 the cost, of course.

      1. So it’s basically an enclosed cage for your bike.

        I had a bike stolen; it was tied to a bike stand outside my place of work. It was, predictably, stolen in broad daylight one day. It was my method of getting to work. Losing a bike sucks, but it doesn’t suck enough for a half-million-dollar facility.

        Hipster doofuses continue to make us poorer.

        1. An enclosed cage does nothing to improve security unless there are guards to ensure only the owner of a bike can enter the cage and remove a bike. And hiring guards at government-union wages and benefits becomes _really_ expensive.

  5. Will they spontaneously combust like the rest of Metro?

    1. The escalators to the bike racks will break.

  6. The numbers don’t add up. In the text in the link provided WJLA News says the budget was $600,000 for -each- rack (not $500K for the project, as Charlie offers here). WJLA says the cost soared to $1.9 million each (3.8M for both) but then says that’s “over $20,000 per bike”. $3.8M divided by 92 bikes is $41,304.35 per bike, over twice what they claim. To be fair $41K is over $20K. Maybe they mixed up each for both? The link’s relevant text is cut and pasted below.
    “…WMATA originally budgeted $600,000 for each rack, but the price tag has soared to $1.9 million each.

    The covered bike shelters will house 92 bikes, putting the price tag at more than $20,000 per bike. Future costs to finish the projects could raise that number even higher…”

  7. The original estimates forgot to factor in the graft.

    1. and the government’s own oppressive regulations and rules to build.

  8. Time for DC residents’ wallets to sever ties with Metro Area Transit Authority.

    1. They’re demanding more from Maryland and Virginia. They may get it now that Democrats control Virginia.

  9. $3.8 million (so far) divided by 92 bike spaces. So $42K per bike space. But these racks will probably last forever, so the cost is essentially zero.

    Am I doing this right?

    1. It is the new math.

      1. *** jazz fingers ***

        1. Get a towel and wipe that off!

          1. Ooh nasty

    2. Riders’ bikes will look nicer, being kept out of the paths of falling bird poop. This will cause INCALCULABLE increases in bike-rider self-esteem, whose positive benefits will ripple through society! $42 k per bike? It’s still a STEAL of a HUGE net-positive for society!

      (^ Liberal-psycho-babble-logic… One of the few thangs that I larned it in pubic scuulle!)

      1. But the most important thing, is the project being conducted with diversity and inclusion as a critical success factor?

  10. It was supposed to be completed in December 2015!!! Thanks for the laughs this morning

  11. Price to store a handful of bikes: $3.8 million.
    Chance of completing the project as planned: none.

    Virtue signaling and political graft: priceless!

  12. DC streets are full of potholes, garbage, etc and the drivers are among the worst in the country. Riding a bike on DC streets is a cry for help and suicidal ideation.

    1. the drivers are among the worst in the country


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  15. Anyone here from the DC area? What is the accountability process of this MTA? Is this just appointees of appointees of appointees?

    1. Jacks Evans needs to wet his beak. He is/was Chairman of the WMATA board and a member of the DC council. Real scumbag, who is under indictment/investigation now I think for using the metro to get deals for his legal firm (IIRC).

    2. It has appointees from Federal Government, DC, MD and VA. It is up to each to determine how they appoint.

    3. What is the accountability process of this MTA?


  16. My handle gives you some idea of my view of bikes but this is totally insane. The best way to make bike riding more accessible is to a) expect bikes to act like vehicles and b) make outside lanes a bit wider to accommodate cars passing bikes (NOT painting stupid bike lanes dangerously close to parked cars). When the bikes get to wherever they’re going to be parked, they just need some solid metal to lock themselves too. If the bike owner is worried about rain (or bird poop) they can carry a garbage bag to cover their bike during the day.

    1. Disagree 100% – and yes I ride too. Cars and bikes do not mix. Period. Drivers do not obey paint or signs. And since they are not physically at-risk either, they simply will not give a shit (or even be aware of) the risks that non-drivers face.

      The countries that are 50 years ahead of us have tried your suggestions – and they all failed. Period. And those were places where drivers themselves also rode bikes – unlike the US.

      The only thing that works (in urban areas at least) is completely separating the traffic. The thing that most kills bike riding is – the bike helmet. The nanosecond it becomes ‘wise’ (legality doesn’t matter) to wear armor – and force them into a lower visibility position and higher speed while in traffic, you have just eliminated 95+% of potential bike riders. The biggest enemy of ‘biking accessibility’ are those bikers in helmets and spandex who think playing in traffic for multi-mile commutes can be ‘solved’. No it can’t.

      Re-imagining the urban street grid for multiple modes of transportation is not really that difficult. But it does not mean ‘sharing space’. It means separate systems.

      1. Uh, the Euros have been riding bikes on roads built for cars for over a hundred years. It’s been working pretty well…

        Stupid people are stupid, and some will risk their own lives to go a bit faster (in cars or on bikes). Some people simply don’t care if they kill others (in cars or on bikes).

        Bikes are likely less dangerous than motorcycles, and are statistically less dangerous (per mile) than walking or running. The only real problem is that people are jerks, and that applies to every group.

        The government should simply treat cyclists as slow vehicles and the laws for bikes and slow vehicles should be the same, period. Almost like “equal protection under the law”! Otherwise, the government should ignore us.

        1. Uh, the Euros have been riding bikes on roads built for cars for over a hundred years. It’s been working pretty well…

          That is not true. Pre-WW2, the private passenger car was irrelevant in Europe. Actual post-WW2 history of biking in Netherlands. The turning point was the early 1970’s.

          NL got outraged at the number of people killed by cars – specifically kids riding bikes (which is that age groups only mode of independent transportation) – and has spent the last 40 years ensuring that all ‘transportation’ decision-making is now fully multi-modal and separated.

          We didn’t get outraged over the number of people killed by cars (or even the gas lines of 1973) – except to sell ‘bike helmets’ as normal for normal biking (note the complete absence of bike helmets in that NL video). The result was the virtual elimination of both biking and walking. Kids are now driven everywhere. It is now difficult to even BUY cheap utility bikes – only racing and mountain and kids. And sprawl became the ‘normal’ even for things like errands. Which is why fewer bikers and peds are killed now – but it’s for the same reason that fewer people are kicked to death by horses.

  17. I had a 16 year-old install bike racks as part of his Eagle Service Project. Granted, it wasn’t in DC but he did it with all volunteer hours and paid for it himself. Years later, they are still in great shape and perfectly serviceable.

    There was a character in West Wing who said that “government is a place where people come together”. That character could not have been more wrong. We have no need of government to come together willingly to make the world a better place. Scouts and other volunteers do that every day. Government is the place where people exercise force. Building bike racks is one more thing that government has no special skill at and therefore no business trying to do at all. If the local community wants bike racks, ask for a few volunteers then get out of their way.

    1. We had the same exact thing happen at our neighborhood park recently. Once the government got the fuck out of the way, it was a simple project that turned out amazingly.

    2. I think we’re not at a point where not essential government services like building bike racks should be go fund me projects. If they want a roof or solar panels that’s beyond most volunteer work. But they should get interested parties to put a little skin in the game.

      1. A roof is not beyond volunteer work. I’ve had other Eagle candidates lead the construction of pavilions and other low-roofed structures with no problems.

        Solar panels might be beyond average volunteer capabilities – but it’s a bike rack! What are your solar panels supposed to power? It’s not like the bikes need a charging station.

      2. “…put a little skin in the game.”

        Pretty much the key if you want to comment. He who pays the piper…

    3. Like it or not, government owns that land.

      Yes – what they should do operationally is just get out of the way. But – government still has to decide who will get to occupy that public land – parking for cars v parking for bikes. And you can bet that because our entire system is geared towards cars, that those in charge of govt are also geared entirely towards pleasing those voters who drive cars. The best way to do that is to dick around with those POTENTIAL voters who might ride bikes if it were a reasonable option but who can also be forced back into cars. The way to do that is to make sure everything ‘bike-related’ is utterly corrupt and expensive and accomplishes nothing. So that we can get back to spending money for cars instead.

    4. There was a character in West Wing who said that “government is a place where people come together”.

      Your first mistake was watching West Wing.

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  19. Even the original cost at $500k. 92 bikes and bike racks.
    Are they kidding. At $500 per bicycle that is $46,000. Install bike racks at 2 locations the remaining $454,000???????? That grew to 3.8 million?????
    Let’s see who got the contracts and who they are related to by family or donations in the DC government. Nah, can’t allow that investigation to happen.

  20. Can I get that contract? At $3.8M for a grand total of 92 placed to secure a bike we are talking about over $41,300 PER bike rack. Really?

  21. Holly sht. I thought it would be super protected and all that stuff rack to prevent from stealing one of those mountain electric bikes but wtf, ~42k per rack??? Really? It would be much cheaper to let those been stolen and just buying a new one!

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