Oh, the spin of things…

“Merchants speak out against proposed bike lanes” – the News Gazette *not* at its finest with this one.

“Plans to put bike lanes along Main Street in downtown Urbana are opposed by Urbana merchants.”

Yes, it’s opposed by some of them.  It’s opposed by all of the ones quoted in the article, and the quotes state that all the merchants are opposed.  That’s a complete, simple, boldfaced lie — but two different quotes state it.  More objective people at that same meeting heard several merchants lauding the bike lanes.  However, truth is obviously not a priority for the News Gazette on this issue.

Of course, holding one’s hands over one ears and reciting “everybody agrees with us, everybody agrees with us” is a pretty common political tactic.  It was painfully acute at the meeting abotu the Washington & Race street bike lanes, where the one lady was stridently exclaiming that just a few people were pushing this idea that *nobody* else wanted — except that she was outnumbered by, oh, about four to one.  I”m sure in her mind *all* her cohort had such busy lives and we were the entire cohort of jobless, lifeless bums… but there are an awful lot of people in the “nobody” category.

The folks who speak out against the bike lanes have been consistently unconvincing, I’m glad to say. F’rinstance, the News-Gazoo article states taht for the merchants, diagonal parking is a priority.  Clearly they think bicycle lanes are in the way.  However, Bill Gray stated that for a host of other reasons, diagonal parking simply doesn’t make sense for Main Street.  (For starters:  there is enough parking; the problem is that people don’t know where free parking is.)

I suppose the merchants envision “North Prospect II” in downtown Urbana… but while I can’t bring myself to lie like they do and say “to a one,”  I can tell you that any decent survey of Urbana residents would disclose strong preferences for a Main Street atmosphere, not a Concrete Jungle.

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