Opinion: A brilliant strategy to induce exercise
Commentary by Chris Hoyt
Former Mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, thought he was being clever when he outlawed sugary drinks larger than 16oz. Not to be outdone, City of Carmel leaders here in Indiana have devised a much more complex and radical plan to get its residents in shape. What’s so brilliant about Carmel’s plan? Simple. It is disguised as an infrastructure improvement project.
Camel residents have been enduring an epic construction project this year, with the main stretch of U.S. 31 closed, many “side projects,” and constant re-direction. It just seemed strange to me that anyone would think closing and clotting up so many high-traffic roadways along the same commutes was a good idea. Then I realized that right before all this construction started, the Monon Trail through Carmel had been completed.
I did some digging and got ahold of an anonymous lead at INDOT, whose name I cannot disclose.
“Oh yes, this was all planned out,” the person explained. “Having the Monon Trail finished was step one. Step two was making sure all the main roads were virtually impassable during high-traffic periods. Our goal was to make it as desirable as possible to walk or bike instead of drive. With traffic this bad, residents are compelled to bike or walk, and they don’t even see the connection!”
My informant went on to explain that INDOT get the results it wanted right away.
“The weather hasn’t been great, and traffic isn’t always bad. People have been working around it by changing their schedules. To combat this we set up a step three, now we have construction vehicles and trucks on the roads 24/7 to keep people from going much past 30 mph. Now bikes are looking much better,” the source said.
“Has the city started to see the results yet?” I asked.
“The needle is moving, pedestrian traffic on the Monon is finally going up. However, we realized the big problem is hope. As long as people have hope of the construction ending, they are willing to endure it,” the source said. “Step four is going to be to have a series of delays and long-standing ambiguous schedules so that people get discouraged.”
The motive for all this is hard to pin down. My informant just knew about the plan, but not the politics.
“If I had to guess,” the person said, “there is only so much you can do to make fancy buildings, I bet they just wanted to upgrade the people.”
So be it for vanity or health concerns, it is clear they won’t stop until Carmelites all look like CrossFit posters.
“So just to be clear,” I asked, “this was all planned out from the start?”
The person nodded, “Oh yes, of course. I mean, why else would a thriving city put businesses at risk with multiple projects and closures all around a single area. That would be … well, that would just be idiotic. No, this was ingenious.”
I am afraid I have to agree. After all, as a megalomaniacal narcissist bent on world domination, I can’t help but notice and appreciate such a well-done, evil plan.
When Chris Hoyt isn’t plotting to take over the world, he writes a satirical column for Current in Carmel. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.