Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan stands against Seattle bike project
Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan has a few opinions on City of Seattle politics and its projects.
The Seattle resident and Roosevelt High/Seattle University alum told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that the City of Seattle’s plan to add bike lanes to 35th Avenue Northeast is a “dumb” idea that “will not work” and will only “back up traffic.”
McKagan knows from which he speaks; the rock singer is an avid bike-rider and marathon runner who knows which streets in Seattle would be most appropriate for bicycles.
“That’s a car arterial, 35th,” he said. “We bikers use 39th — it takes you to Burke-Gilman (Trail).”
He chastised Councilmember Rob Johnson for claiming he didn’t know about the opposition to the project from small businesses that will lose parking spaces.
“That’s not leadership … It’s super frustrating,” McKagan said of Johnson.
For city government leaders to spend their time “vilifying the other side” does nothing to solve problems, McKagan said, and only serves to divide residents. He compared this tactic to creating “an awkward family argument.”
“It’s causing our little neighborhoods to fight and not talk to each other,” he said.
Guns N’ Roses N’ bikes
McKagan said that city leadership has not made much progress in improving gridlock, despite passing the $930 million Move Seattle levy three years ago. Having traveled the world on tour with Guns N’ Roses, McKagan said that he has seen public transportation systems around in other cities that are far more efficient than Seattle’s.
“We voted this thing through, Move Seattle, and I guess I kind of assumed they’re gonna make the underground great, they’re gonna get stuff moving for mass transit, like a city like London or New York,” he said.
McKagan admires New York City not only for its superior public transit. He said that Seattle could take a cue from the Big Apple in the way that it deals with the current homeless crisis.
“New York City did an amazing job with that some 10, 15 years ago,” McKagan said. “You go down Broadway, through Times Square, you don’t see homeless people, you don’t see drug addicts on the street.”
He praised New York for building hospitals and health facilities to treat drug and alcohol addiction, and “dealing with it at the core.”
“We could do that here if we worked together and had a plan,” said McKagan, who himself beat substance addiction.
McKagan criticized Councilmember Kshama Sawant for calling Ballard residents who complained about tent encampments on their streets “NIMBYists.” McKagan stated that if someone saves their whole life to buy a house, they should not have to deal with homeless people setting up camp in the neighborhood.
“Don’t name-call them … That just doesn’t help,” he said.
McKagan suggests building more affordable and homeless housing in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle.
The rock star will have to put his political goals aside for a while though — he heads out in three weeks for a two-month Guns N’ Roses tour across Europe.
“It’s been a really great run,” he said of his time with the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame band. “… I’m very grateful and happy, and it’s great to share the music again with so many people.”