Introducing bike tolls and the Rahm-PASS

The once-popular Fenty lost his re-election bid in 2010 after critics portrayed him as a pro-bike elitist hipster.

In a Washington Post article headlined "How D.C. Mayor Fenty lost the black vote — and his job" was this chilling passage:

"Frustration mounted as the Fenty administration added dog parks and miles of bike lanes while unemployment in Ward 8, home to the city's poorest neighborhoods, reached 30 percent."

Listening, Rahmfather? How can anyone argue that the city should spend cash to create bike lanes for pedaling One Percenters while not having the cash to hire enough cops to protect neighborhood folks dying in gang wars?

The Rahmfather isn't the mayor of Portlandia. He's the mayor of Chicago. But his sucking up to bicyclists seems less about serving Chicago and more about appealing to hipsters on the East and West coasts as he stokes his national political ambitions.

Symbolism costs money, though, and addressing an understaffed police force is more important than bike lanes, don't you think?

Please don't misunderstand. I love our noble bike-ists. Anyone with a brain would applaud them for their carbon-footprintless pedaling.

But if you have a brain, you must also realize that when politicians start handing out government perks — like special bike lanes costing millions — it's only a matter of time until people become addicted to them.

And then government's reach into the public wallet is mere child's play.

Ashley Doublet, 24, a notary who bikes to and from work, said she'd refuse to pay my recommended bike toll.

"If I was going to drive my bike on the interstate, that's fair," she said.

You better have some quarters in your change purse, Ms. Doublet.

"I'd do an I-PASS," she said.

No way.

It's a Rahm-PASS. And get ready.

jskass@tribune.com

Twitter @John_Kass

CHICAGO

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