Author Highlights Displacement, a Problem the Bike Movement Ignores

When this bike lane on Denver's Martin Luther King Boulevard was installed, some African-American residents in Park Hill raised concerns with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who then was a City Councilman. Image: Google Maps.
When this bike lane on Denver's Martin Luther King Boulevard was installed, some African-American residents in Park Hill raised concerns with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who then was a City Councilman. Image: Google Maps.

Thursday, Adonia Lugo, PhD, author of “Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, and Resistance,” will lead a workshop titled “Race, Place, and Open Streets” at the Denver Streets for People Summit from 3:00 – 4:45 p.m. She will also be the event’s featured speaker.

Denver Streets for People Summit
Thu, April 11, 2019, 5:00 PM – 9:00 p.m.
The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa Street, Denver, CO 80204
Tickets: $0 – $25 at Eventbrite

Streetsblog summarizes here some of the issues Dr. Lugo raises in her book:

  • 51nqeuxwauL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_Bike advocates don’t consider inequality. Lugo described an event in Los Angeles where Janette Sadik-Khan, the former New York City transportation commissioner, gave a talk. (Streetsblog Denver interviewed Sadik-Khan in February). During the question and answer period, a young black man in the audience mentioned that after bike lanes were installed in his neighborhood, gentrification followed. Sadik-Khan responded that bikes are an affordable mode of transportation. But Lugo wrote that she missed the point: When bike advocates push for changes to the streets, they do no analysis on the impact it will have on inequality.
  • Bike advocates promoted “gentrification as a good thing.” On Richard Florida’s “creative class” idea, Lugo writes: “…if politicians want to attract desirable, talented residents/consumers to their regions in the post-industrial, idea/upscale consumption economy, they must invest in the urban design elements that are as honey to these worker bees.” … “If influential people have decided who, exactly, they want to attract to cycling, maybe the question we should be asking is if you build it, who will be replaced?”
  • People who are displaced are not safe. “… safety for ‘cyclists’ didn’t look like safety for everyone,” she wrote.
  • Many cyclists are “invisible” to the organized bike movement. A survey for L.A. Metro identified communities where “using a bicycle was a necessary evil rather than a fun choice,” including undocumented people who bike.
  • The fastest growth of bicycling is among blacks, Hispanics and Asians, according the report “The New Majority, Pedaling Toward Equity.” 
  • But people of color get killed more on bikes than whites. A 2004 U.S. DOT study shows that black and brown men are overrepresented in bike fatalities nationwide.
  • Installing bike lanes is not the only thing that can be done for cyclists in challenged communities. Lugo suggests building “human infrastructure,” stating: “I’ve found that the most equitable way toward sustainable transportation is through building a multiracial movement for mobility justice.”
  • TakeFive

    We’re all wacist! Wacism here, wacism there, wacism everywhere. That said I’m certainly happy that white elitists have something to occupy their time worrying over.

    Btw, Richard Florida has recanted and revised his “Creative Class” with a new tome entitled The New Urban Crisis:

    From my front porch chair and from driving around I find bike lanes everywhere; pick your demographic or neighborhood and chances are bike lanes are there. Just to be sure Phoenix is adding another 176 miles of new lanes including bi-directional lanes to the existing 778 miles. To be fair Phoenix has a nice canvass to work with, with nice (generally) wide lanes; paint a nice bright white line and you’re done. No wacism down here.

    • TM

      This is probably your worst comment ever. Maybe try a little more listening, a little less being a stereotypical a-hole white guy.

      • TakeFive

        “When white people move out of a neighborhood, it’s called white flight and it’s racist. When white people move back to a neighborhood, it’s called gentrification and it’s racist. So, white people should just never move.” – internet comment This is in the ‘Signature Line’ of ‘The Dirt’ on a different blog.

        Have any idea who the singer/song writer was that wrote/sang what later became the anthem for the Civil Rights Movement? Do you know who Rosa Parks was? How familiar are with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, SCOTUS decision in Brown vs the Board of Education, Bloody Sunday?

        • TM

          Oh, the poor white people. They just can’t win can they?
          Again, more listening, less stereotypical whiny white guy shit.

          • TakeFive

            Have any idea who the singer/song writer was that wrote/sang what later became the anthem for the Civil Rights Movement? Do you know who Rosa Parks was? How familiar are with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, SCOTUS decision in Brown vs the Board of Education, Bloody Sunday?

          • TM

            Are you trying to prove your boomer cred? Maybe just try reading the book before criticizing it?

          • TakeFive

            I acknowledge that ‘Denverdant’ provides a proper comment.

            Urban densification is very different in Phoenix primarily because it happens more outside of the ‘city of ‘ in places like Tempe and Scottsdale. While city of Phoenix has some downtown growth, displacement is not an issue. In Denver displacement from gentrification is very real as is Denver becoming very unaffordable.

            We both understand what Denver is experiencing; I understand both city/metros and one thing Phoenix has done well is to put bike lanes in every demographic neighborhood. There is no connection between bike lanes (as a cause) and displacement.

            Anyone can cook up a theory and then make scholarly sounding arguments to support the theory. Displacement is real in Denver. In Phoenix bike lanes in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods are no different than anywhere else. Gentrification and Displacement may be a worthy topic but bike lanes are bike lanes.

          • TM

            That’s very different from your extremely hateful first comment.

            Maybe think a little harder before being an ass.

          • TakeFive
          • TM

            What’s your point? There are horrible people in the world so it’s ok for you to make shitty comments? It doesn’t make your mocking dismissal of these people’s concerns any better. If that’s where you have to go to make yourself look good you’re in trouble.

          • TakeFive

            Wut? I give up. I’m way to old to worry about looking good. You’re an interesting cat though.

  • Lori B

    His name was “Martin” Luther King, Jr., not “Marin” as identified in the photo caption. The “journalist” may want to revisit their 3rd grade curriculum on civil rights history. Or maybe review the spelling/writing portion of their ES lessons. It only takes a few seconds to proofread your copy.

    • Streetsblog Denver

      As a one-person nonprofit, this “journalist,” who is also a human who makes many inadvertent typos, would love to expand the organization to include a copy editor. If you would like to contribute to this cause, please do. You can donate here: https://denver.streetsblog.org/about/ways-to-give/

      • Camera_Shy

        While Ms. B did a horrible job of suggesting a correction, I hope you will continue to accept reasonable, considerate, polite suggestions for grammatical corrections to the stories/copy. You do a great job, IMO!!

  • Denverdant

    Dr. Lugo raises some interesting points that are worthy of further consideration. The argument that adding bike lanes caused gentrification, however, is classic “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” (after this, therefore because of this) reasoning. My guess is that a lot of other things were going on in the neighborhood in question besides just the addition of bike lanes. Does adding bike lanes, of itself, cause displacement? I would need to see a lot more evidence and a more rigorous analysis.

    • deadindenver

      Ahh what came first the chicken or the egg? My guess is gentrification was well underway, then came the bike lanes as the new residents demanded them.

  • George Joseph Lane

    I accept that bike lanes contribute to gentrification, which causes displacement. I accept that displacement *on its own* is bad.
    I don’t understand the argument that improving a neighbourhood will lead to gentrification therefore we shouldn’t improve neighbourhoods.
    Also, achieving vague platitudes hasn’t worked to achieve sustainable mobility in any western nation, how would it work in Denver?
    “Lugo suggests building “human infrastructure,” stating: “I’ve found that the most equitable way toward sustainable transportation is through building a multiracial movement for mobility justice.”

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Crossing street

Friday’s Headlines

|
Colorado could get more money for street safety under a proposed federal law. A motorcyclist died in a crash on 6th Avenue near I-25. The truck driver accused of causing the fiery I-70 pileup that killed four will be charged. More headlines ...