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Quick Hits

January 4, 2011

– Per @Naparstek’s suggestion, add the phrase “…except for bicycles” into most sentences of this New York Times article on increased transit costs and you’ve got a game that’s as fun as adding “…in bed” to fortune cookies.  To wit: “Transportation, by wheel, foot or hoof, has become one of the fastest-growing costs of city life, and in 2010, no mode in New York City seemed immune…except for bicycles.

NY1 has named Janette Sadik-Khan their NYer of the Year.  The piece on the DOT head includes the requisite quote from Norman Steisel:

“Just five months since the bike lanes were opened, we’ve received eyewitness accounts of 10 vehicular accidents on Prospect Park West, which compares to an annual average rate of 8.8 for the preceding four years,” said bike lane opponent Norman Steisel.

Give NY1 credit for calling a duck a duck.  This is the first time that I can recall Steisel being correctly identified as a “bike lane opponent” rather than as someone who is in favor of better bike lanes, whatever that means.  Steisel pulls out the old trick of citing unverifiable, anecdotal “eyewitness accounts” of PPW accidents, which, as Tom Vanderbilt notes, include no information on severity or type of crash.  Tellingly, even though NBBL is happy to tell anyone who will listen that there was a previous average rate of 8.8 accidents they never saw the need to do something about it until the DOT, CB6, and others did it for them.

– Also in PPW news, the bike lane was still unplowed as of yesterday, although that may have changed.  As Ben Fried at Streetsblog notes, “In the eyes of the opposition, NYC’s bikeways are damned if they get plowed, and damned if they don’t.”  I guarantee you that at the next CB6 meeting, someone from NBBL will present the lovely Catch-22 that an unplowed, impassable bike lane that no one can use is proof that the bike lane is useless.  If you build it, but then don’t plow it, they won’t come.

City Council member David Greenfield rails against Bloomberg for clearing the Ocean Parkway malls before the roads.  Two things might make his complaint true, but they both require you to live in an alternate New York universe.  First, you have to ignore the fact that the Parks Department, not Sanitation, is responsible for the OP malls.  (Unlike the PPW bike lane, which is under Sanitation’s purview yet remains snowed over.)  The other inconvenient fact is that those “bike lanes” are actually shared sidewalks and bike ways with benches used by the a large number of the area’s elderly population.  But other than that, Greenfield is correct.  Remember when you watch the video and see Greenfield complain that the oil truck can’t get down the side street that this is the City Council member who wanted to add more parking spaces to city streets by reducing the space around fire hydrants.

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