A little bit of data in the hands of local elected officials can be a dangerous thing and in this case, it could cost St. Croix County taxpayers millions. A couple of weeks ago the St. Croix County Board approved a plan that could result in the construction of over $30 million worth of bike paths. At the time, we suspected the Board had ginned up a bogus survey in order to present a decidedly pro-bike path view. After reviewing the actual survey, we know that’s the case.
Figures 3 and 4 from the survey summary reveal a constituency that doesn’t spend much time riding bikes. But while we’ve included them below, these images somehow did not make their way into the materials for the County Board Meeting:
Given the actual results, it’s hard justify spending tens of millions on new paths, and pairing this information with the types of bicyclists surveyed, raises some interesting questions.
Given the numbers, is it possible that the 15% of riders who only feel safe on separated trails and paths are among those who never ride their bikes or only ride monthly? If you only ride your bike a few times of year, perhaps for special occasions like Mother’s Day, are you only comfortable on trails because you can barely steer a bike? Are you really someone that would benefit from an additional $30 million in bike path improvements in St. Croix County given how often you use the existing infrastructure?
Taxpayers are being squeezed at every level just to maintain our current infrastructure. Would it be too much to ask local officials to stop ginning up new and completely unnecessary ways to soak taxpayers?