Can Bike Lane Funds Really Solve Pittsburgh’s Lead Crisis?
Mayoral Candidate Rev. John C. Welch just released a video that blatantly attacked bike lanes. In his video titled, “Misplaced Priorities in Leadership,” he stated, “While I like bike lanes, not many of us use them.” We beg to differ.
According to Welch, “misplaced priorities” on life saving bicycle infrastructure is the reason Pittsburghers have higher levels of lead in our drinking water.
We did some back of the envelope math and using current levels of bike lane spending to pay for lead-free service lines, it would take over 125 years to fix our lead problem. The bike lane budget is a tiny fraction of the overall capital budget, and is not a solution to the lead problem – it’s a solution to reduce injuries and fatalities on our streets.
This argument isn’t new
In a Post-Gazette article last week, “Mr. Welch… argued that the mayor spent thousands on bicycle lanes that could have been used to mitigate water supply problems.”
“Both funding for bike infrastructure and funding for clean drinking water are expenditures to keep Pittsburghers healthy and safe,” said Scott Bricker, executive director at BikePGH in a recent PGH City Paper article. “Pitting one against the other is bad policy. Using the City’s bike infrastructure budget isn’t a real solution to the lead problem and Mr. Welch knows it.”
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