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Isn't it Weird That

Isn't It Weird That ... 

Puget Sound Bike Share (henceforth to be known as—sigh—Pronto!), which announced a September 2014 launch this morning, will be sponsored primarily by Alaska Airlines?

Weird because bike travel, which produces no carbon emissions, is being subsidized by air travel, which produces more carbon emissions per passenger than any other form of transport. 

For example, according to a New York Times analysis, three short domestic flights—in their example, between New Orleans and Detroit—produce a total of two tons of carbon emissions per passenger.

In comparison, an entire average year's worth of driving (around 9,600 miles per year, per capita, in the U.S.) produces about 3.5 tons of carbon emissions. (International flights, obviously, produce far more emissions—three round-trip flights between Chicago and Frankfurt produce 10.4 tons of carbon emissions per passenger). 

Put another way, a single round-trip flight from New York to San Francisco produces two to three tons of carbon dioxide per passenger, or between 10 and 16 percent of the average American's total carbon emissions contribution per year. 

Alaska Airlines' $2.5 million contribution (over five years) to Pronto! could be seen as a tiny (minuscule, really) contribution toward offsetting the massive carbon impact of the airline industry. Except that every single Pronto! bike will be emblazoned with the Alaska Airlines logo—a not-so-subtle invitation to everyone who sees one of these bikes to buy an airline ticket and contribute a few more tons of carbon pollution to the atmosphere. 

Even more insidiously, the association with bikesharing gives Alaska Airlines a sweet opportunity to greenwash their carbon-spewing image.

Isn't It Weird That ...

The Seattle Department of Transportation's Twitter feed appears to have gone rogue? 

We admit that we totally missed the "Scumbag Steve" meme, but the West Seattle Transportation Coalition clued us in, by pointing out indignantly that whoever runs SDOT's Twitter feed (which mostly consists of traffic updates) Photoshopped Scumbag Steve's Scumbag Hat (a sideways brown houndstooth-print baseball cap) onto a line of cars stuck in traffic on the West Seattle Bridge. "You get a scumbag hat, I get a scumbag hat, everybody gets a scumbag hat! haha I'm mean #sorry." 

In a statement, the WSTC called the somewhat inscrutable joke "completely inappropriate and unprofessional," adding, "Instead of insulting taxpayers and voters for trying to survive, SDOT and the heads of city government should be answering today why, for decades, West Seattle’s transportation issues were overlooked." 

We have a call out to SDOT to find out what the hell they were thinking. 

UPDATE: SDOT spokesman Rick Sheridan says the "scumbag hat" joke was a (perhaps misguided) effort to poke fun at drivers who were "rubbernecking at an accident and causing delays," and was not intended to make fun of West Seattle commuters in general. "Not everyone got the joke," he says, and "we apologize to anyone who was offended by it." 

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