The Alt-Bike Movement of St. Paul

The following is a transcript of a recent speech by former Mayor Donald Singer at Saint Paul’s University Club.

SINGER

Thank you! Thank you! You’re a fabulous audience! And what a great entrance song! (Highway to Hell by AC/DC)

(APPLAUSE)

I was Chief Executive of Saint Paul– the best one they ever had. A few haters called me a fascist, but I got things done. It’s a long story but it’s a fabulous story …and you’re such a great audience that I’m gonna tell you the whole thing.

(APPLAUSE)

I ran for office on an alternative transportation platform. The corrupt downtown politicians said I couldn’t win, but I won. I mean the planet is burning up and we’re drowning in traffic and plastic waste. It’s crazy, right? Transportation and fossil fuels are the biggest causes. So I said, “I can fix that!”

(APPLAUSE)

I promised to build a border trail for bicycles around Saint Paul and get motorists to pay for it.

(APPLAUSE)

I said, “We’re gonna ban motorists from zip codes outside of Saint Paul until we know what’s going on!” Let’s face it: Some motorists are good people but many are speeding, texting and killing our pedestrians and cyclists.

(APPLAUSE)

I said, “We’re gonna make Saint Paul a world-class bicycling and walking city.” My slogan was “Get America Walking Again”!

(APPLAUSE)

The Motorists said I’d never win, but they had eighty years in office and what did they deliver? Nothing! Our city was decaying, traffic congestion was worse than ever, people were getting hit and killed by cars and all they cared about was more highway lanes and parking lots. Think about that– people were getting hurt and DYING on our streets, and all the politicians and engineers cared about was parking.

(BOOING)

But the Saint Paul people aren’t stupid and they elected me in a landslide. And we got to work. We implemented the entire city bike plan in my first 100 days in office. We did it on the cheap. The Motorists had talked about bikeways and pedestrian safety for years but they did nothing. They made excuses for their lack of action. “We don’t have any money,” they said. …Or, “It’ll take away parking!” …Or, “We can’t give motor vehicle travel lanes to bicycles without years of pointless bureaucracy!” …Or, my favorite, “We need to do an 85th Percentile Study before we can lower speed limits!” The engineers and the corrupt downtown politicians claimed they couldn’t narrow big streets to make them safer for pedestrians because “it would create traffic congestion!” That’s all they cared about– traffic congestion and parking. They were a bunch of whining losers!

(APPLAUSE)

So I got into office and, in my first 100 days, we implemented the entire bike plan! We used jersey barriers and parking-protected bike lanes. We took away some parking and some travel lanes. We narrowed streets to make them safer. We put in concrete-protected pedestrian refuge islands and bump-outs everywhere. We built the border trail around the entire city and we called it “The Grand Round” …and we got drivers to pay for it with federal grants. It was the least they could do. It was fabulous. People loved me.

(APPLAUSE)

But then the motorists got jealous and tried to smear me. Groups like Saint Paul Strong or the Center For The American Experiment accused me of “colluding with Denmark” or having secret ties to the Dutch. They said, “Saint Paul isn’t Copenhagen!” They loved to say that, like there’s anything wrong with Copenhagen. I’ve been there. It’s a fabulous city. Fabulous people.

Then the fake news media smeared us. They called us the “Alt Bike” movement, like it was a bad thing, and they printed all this nonsense about me colluding with Denmark. But, when it comes to transportation, the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune are just fake news. They’re paid for with automobile advertising! Of course they’re gonna bash pedestrians and bicyclists!! They’re bought and paid for by car companies, auto dealerships and auto shows. They had columnists like Joe Soucheray who called his column “Garage Logic” or Patrick Reusse who encouraged motorists to hit cyclists. These people are evil, fake news. Sad.

Next thing I know, they’re trying to impeach me for “Danish collusion”. But it was all a baseless witch-hunt by people who have no ideas on how to get Saint Paul moving.

(BOOING)

I mean these people have no new ideas! Their idea of saving the planet is driverless, electric vehicles, like out of some science fiction fantasy film. But electric vehicles are still cars! They still hit people and animals. They still waste space. They create toxic battery waste, and still produce heavy particulate from wearing tires and brake disks, and thousands of crashes and debris. And they don’t even do much for climate change. Where do you think lithium and nickel come from?!? They have to be MINED! So we get a 25% reduction in greenhouse gases but we’re punching thousands of new holes in the earth for mining. We’re poisoning the Boundary Waters with copper-nickel leach mines, and these motor-heads are calling it “Green”! This is the only idea they have!! …Or they’re all corrupt– bought and paid for by automobile and mining companies. …And they have the nerve to say that I’m corrupt?!?

(BOOING)

During my administration we built thousands of units of new housing and a new light rail line. We revived our downtown and improved the local economy. Vehicle Miles Traveled actually fell during my administration, for the first time in the history of the state! I left the city in the best shape the city’s been in for seventy years! It was incredible and people loved it.

(APPLAUSE)

But the motor-heads got jealous and wanted to take us backwards. They couldn’t impeach me, and they couldn’t win an election fair and square. So they stole it from me. They stole the election with their ranked choice voting machines! Now they’re suing me and trying to charge me with all sorts of crimes, just because some of my supporters rampaged around the city smashing cars. Heck, my supporters were just blowing off steam. They’re the REAL patriots! Besides, I wasn’t involved.

And what about Melvin Carter’s E-mails? Is anyone looking into Melvin’s e-mails?!?

(LAUGHTER)

I’ll be back. The Saint Paul people won’t be denied. I’ll be back and we’re gonna finish the job!

(APPLAUSE)

We’re gonna extend the Midtown Greenway into Saint Paul!

(APPLAUSE)

We’re going to stop this explosion of pedestrians being hit by cars, and we’re gonna turn I-94 into a surface boulevard!!!

(APPLAUSE)

It’s gonna be beautiful! …And, with your support, we’ll get America Walking Again!

(APPLAUSE)

Reelect me and we’ll make Saint Paul Great Again!

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you Saint Paul. Thank you and God Bless.

(APPLAUSE)

Andy Singer

About Andy Singer

Andy Singer is doing his second tour as volunteer co-chair of the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition. He works as a professional cartoonist and illustrator and has authored of four books including his latest, "Why We Drive," which examines environmental, land use and political issues in transportation. You can see more of his cartoons at AndySinger.com.

6 thoughts on “The Alt-Bike Movement of St. Paul

    1. Andy SingerAndy Singer

      I managed to get all my anxieties (except sports) into one column. So I’m not surprised. 🤣

  1. Ian R Buck

    Andy, I don’t think that facetiously connecting the safe streets movement to Trumpism and fascist rhetoric is in good taste, nor is it productive.

    1. Andy SingerAndy Singer

      I wanted to also get a dig at electric cars (which I consider one of “liberalism’s” big lies) and a trump-like character seemed like a good way to do that. Plus the things some supposedly liberal opponents of safe streets say about “Saint Paul isn’t Copenhagen” remind me of the collusion accusations and Cold War rhetoric. Whatever, I guess I’m a tasteless, unproductive guy! 🤣❤️🚴‍♂️. I’ll avoid the analogy in the future.

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