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The Tom Wolfe Novel Writes Itself

November 22, 2010

On top of the Wall Street Journal piece comes a story in today’s New York Times titled, Expansion of Bike Lanes Brings Backlash.  I think the article stinks a bit of cable news style debate with equal weight given to the DOT’s statistics and a vocal minority of cranksters.  One great example is Leslie Sicklick who “grew up driving with her father around the Lower East Side, where she still lives.”  It takes a special kind of auto-centric thinking to look at Union Square, teeming with pedestrians, NYU students, farmers market vendors, artists, and street performers and say that it’s “one of the worst areas created by the new bike lanes.”

Later in the story, check out who is quoted as a representative of the”well-connected neighbors” on Prospect Park West who “are fighting to eliminate the 1.8-mile, two-way strip of green paint.”

“Things have come to a critical pass,” said Lois Carswell, one of the organizers of an Oct. 21 protest by several dozen opponents of the lane.

Carswell. You can not make stories like this up.

One other thing to point out in the story that speaks to a larger problem in the news of all opinions being weighted equally with actual facts.  The Bedford Avenue bike lane was removed because of objections by the local Hasidic community.  Their objections weren’t that it caused more accidents (it didn’t) or created more traffic (it didn’t) or that it was ugly (who can argue?) but that it allowed scantily clad bikers, mainly women, to ride through “their” neighborhood and offend their religious sensibilities.  But the Times doesn’t mention that.

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