Chicago Mayoral Election 2023

Lightfoot Slammed on Social Media For Allowing Security Detail to Park in Bike Lane During Stop For Doughnuts

lightfoot

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is taking a beating on social media — from cycling enthusiasts and their City Council champions — for allowing her bodyguard detail and security tail car to park both SUVs in a bike lane so she could run into a North Side doughnut shop.

During the pandemic, Lightfoot was accused of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do hypocrisy for getting her hair cut at a time when beauty parlors were shut down. The mayor defended it after photos surfaced on social media showing her getting her hair cut without wearing a mask.

It happened again on Nov. 9, when the advocacy group Bike Lane Uprising posted a pair of photos.

The first showed a mayoral SUV parked in the North Avenue bike lane outside Roeser’s Bakery, 3216 W. North Ave. The other showed Lightfoot waiting in line inside the bakery.

“Coincidentally, was at Roeser’s the same time as Lori Lightfoot. Observed her entourage (2 XL SUVs) park in the North Ave bike lane for 10 mins. For some damn donuts. Unreal,” cycling enthusiast Sara Brammeier wrote between the two photos she apparently took that day.

The Bike Lane Uprising tweet, first reported by Block Club Chicago, says, “Hey @chicagosmayor parking in bike lanes so you can get doughnuts means you value doughnuts over the lives of bicyclists. A RECORD NUMBER OF CYCLISTS HAVE BEEN KILLED DURING YOUR TERM. We need a mayor that leads by example. This ain’t it.”

The mayor’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

North Side Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) was outraged.

Earlier this year, Vasquez proposed a crackdown on bike lane obstructions with sign requirements and stepped-up ticketing and towing to prevent a repeat of the tragic accident that killed 3-year-old Lily Grace Shambrook.

On June 9, the toddler was riding in a carrier attached to her mother’s bike when she was struck and killed by a semitruck. Her mother was maneuvering around a ComEd truck blocking the bike lane.

The traffic accident — one of three fatal incidents in June involving children struck and killed on Chicago streets — occurred on a busy Uptown block that had triggered a barrage of complaints from local residents.

“Even as we’ve been trying to move legislation to get it done through the Transportation Committee, the administration has been blocking us left and right,” Vasquez told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I’m trying to figure out what else she does besides block because that’s what it feels like. Between blocking this. Blocking the Anjanette Young ordinance. Blocking Bring Chicago Home. It seems like that’s her move. She doesn’t deliver. She blocks.”

Lightfoot announced earlier this year that Chicago would add 25 miles of concrete-protected bike lanes by Dec. 31 and convert all bike lanes protected by plastic posts to concrete separation by the end of 2023.

At the time, the mayor called it the “biggest expansion and upgrade of low-stress bike routes” in Chicago history.

After the doughnut shop episode, Vasquez said, “I have concerns about how seriously this administration is taking infrastructure and transportation knowing we have more cyclists. And it’s really not the best to send a signal to Chicago that they should, `Do as I say, not as I do.’”

Retiring Transportation Committee Chairman Howard Brookins (21st) questioned why Lightfoot would allow her detail to defy the law prohibiting motorists from stopping and standing in bike lanes, particularly when “the bodyguards could have dropped her off at the bakery, circled the block and come back around to pick her up.”

“The message is a message of duplicity. It doesn’t set the right example as a leader of this city and especially as someone who believes in the Green Revolution,” Brookins said.

“As someone who has grown up in the public eye understanding that people are always watching you, it just seems to be a dumb move. Especially when you have bodyguards and the means to do things differently. … I just don’t understand why you would take that chance of somebody calling you out for doing those things and damaging your brand. It doesn’t make sense. Those will be things that will be thoroughly discussed in the upcoming election and she’s gonna have to answer for it.”

Brookins said the Vasquez-proposed crackdown has been stalled in his committee because officials at the Chicago Department of Transportation “had some objection to the language” even though they agree with the thrust of the legislation.

“I intend on moving on that soon if they can’t seem to get it together,” the chairman said.

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said there is “no good excuse” for violating the law that prohibits standing, loading or parking in Chicago bike lanes “whether you work for the Postal Service, Amazon or you are mayor of Chicago.”

“Buying doughnuts is certainly not a good reason for placing bicyclists’ lives at risk,” Reilly wrote in an email to the Sun-Times.

Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
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