Friday, January 9, 2009 at 10:45 a.m.
Well, with the economy in the tank, Israel blowing Gaza to shit (L'chaim!) and CP coming late to the game on uselessness of Airborne, 2009 sure is off to a heinous start. At least this isn't the same for the biking world of Minneapolis. They're moving strong and battling for funding.
The biking community is battling each other for the funding. Think of it like Thunderdome, only take out Master-Blaster and Tina Turner, and add in gladiators with death-bleating names like Shaun "Chainwhip" Murphy and Judith "The Torque Wrench" Hollander.
Oh yeah. Grant proposals have never been this deadly. There's $5 million in federal funds up for grabs.
The leader of the pack is the City of Minneapolis. They want to use part of the funding to boost the Paris inspired bike-sharing program. With luck, they're hoping downtown will morph into Rue de Velib. And CP is all for that... especially if it attracts Carla Bruni to our fair tundra. (Ce' la hope so. Ce' la hope so.)
Next up in the battle is the University of Minnesota. Goldie and friends want a bike center built into the Oak Street parking ramp. But Goldie also wants cash for a futuristic bike tracking system where riders will have a chip [implanted?] on their bikes, so said rider can ride past a tracking station to qualify them for the 20-dollar bike bail-out benefit. You heard about that, right? If not, look at the fine print in the $700 billion bail-out package. Or don't... it's a boring read.
Our following warrior is Hennepin County. They're looking for funds to build a bike station--think the Midtown Greenway--for downtown. The plan is to build it inside the Government Center... cause, you know, our public servants are tired of sweaty cracks and stuff.
And we can't forget the dark horse in the battle, Sibley Bike Depot. The non-profit run by dudes who have a penchant for quoting the latest Ken Burns documentary look to do something simple: hand out free bikes to people.
"All the funding comes from the 'Demonstration for Innovation Category,'" says Chainwhip, reached by CP deep inside his downtown parking-garage lair. "It offers us a chance to do things we wouldn't normally do. They're things to showcase to the rest of the country. It's fun."
Two man enter... one bike leave?