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When Herbert met Steve

October 1, 2011

In typical intellectual fashion, it takes Herbert London of the Manhattan Institute this many words…

Most bicyclists in Manhattan are delivery carriers, and most New Yorkers resent the usurpation of road space.

Bloomberg’s transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, continues to argue that the bike lanes are popular, but the claim doesn’t seem to square with observation. To test my suspicion that these lanes are barely used, I stood at two busy locations— 30th Street and First Avenue and the intersection at Houston and Allen Streets. In the second case, I arrived at 5 PM on a weekday, the beginning of rush hour. For the next half-hour, I didn’t see a single bicycle in use, despite bumper-to-bumper traffic on Houston Street. Similarly, at First Avenue, where both sides of the street have bicycle lanes, I stood near the entrance to New York University Medical Center counting bicycles at 9:30 AM, near the end of the morning rush. In one hour, I counted just two bicycles, only one of which used the bike lane.

…to say what tabloid master Steve Cuozzo can say in far fewer:

Her ever-proliferating bicycle lanes not only look dreadful, they’re hardly used; I’ve counted as few as a dozen riders per half hour, mostly Chinese-food deliverymen, in the lanes on Grand Street, Ninth Avenue and Broadway.

But then again, Cuozzo has a lot of practice with this line:

You don’t need a degree in statistics to grasp what’s obvious to any New Yorker out for a stroll: The DOT’s bike lanes are usually devoid of bikes except for food-delivery personnel. The lanes are the superhighway for General Tso’s chicken, but lonesome highways for everyone else.

Again, here’s Herbert London:

As for the pedestrian plazas, while they’re sometimes crowded with tourists seeking a respite from walking around the city, more often their chairs stand empty, and for good reason. At Broadway and 40th Street, the car fumes are so intense that al fresco dining and even simple conversation are impossible.

And here’s Steve Cuozzo:

Her Times Square “plazas” are even worse — block after block of prison-yard asphalt devoid of meaningful landscaping, furniture or other amenities, crowded mainly with Big Mac-chomping tourists.

When viewed in comparison with London’s false wonkery, Steve Cuozzo is a bikelash poet.  It just goes to show, you can’t out-Cuozz the Cuozz.
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