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Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer Argument, Part 2

January 20, 2011

Not much to add to Mike Epstein’s brilliant take down of the utterly bogus NBBL “Case Statement and Neighborhood Accident Summary.” Smarter minds than I have already provided sufficient rebukes to the mental gymnastics demonstrated by the the authors of this “report,” but a few things caught my eye.

First, a note on their observational accident reports.  Here are their descriptions.

Late June-Early July (Fri or Sat nite, after Celebrate Bklyn concert): PPW & 4th St: SUV sideswiped parked sedan (low speed, lane so narrow van swerved into sedan)…

If there was an NYPD report of this accident, I have a feeling that in the space marked “DATE,” an officer would not write, “Late June-Early July, Fri or Sat nite.”  There’s no reason to believe the bike lane was the cause of this accident.  Plenty of cars pass through PPW without sideswiping parked cars, so perhaps the SUV’s swerving had something to do with this?  This is an argument for slower, more careful driving, not an argument against bike lanes.

Date uncertain: a car swerved across 2 lanes, causing an accident…

Right.  I guess we’ll trust you on this one.  There was an accident, but no police report?  Does the NYPD know that NBBL does not trust their data?  Can we all just make up whatever we want?

Week of Oct 4: 40-44 PPW, 5:30 pm: van back-ended by a sedan…low speed collision (less than 25 mph)

Thank goodness that with the redesign of PPW fewer cars are exceeding the speed limit, otherwise this would have been a far more serious collision.

And that’s just a small sampling of the anecdotal, please-trust-us-when-we-say-they-happened accident reports collected not by the NYPD, the DOT or even the Parks Department, but by, you know, some people.

They then call into question the DOT data, which bears no repeating.  But I did find this analysis curious.

The other interesting point is the profile of counts across the day…on weekdays…the profile shows a double peak with a small morning peak about 8-9 am, followed by a mid-day trough, with a slow rise to a second wider and higher peak in the afternoon.

Quick: are they describing car traffic or bike traffic?  If you guessed bike traffic, you’re right!  How strange that people who commute to work do so during morning and afternoon peak hours.  Guess all those bikers aren’t hipsters and drug addicts after all.  Best of all is what this observation and analysis must mean to NBBL:

We surmise that the morning and some of the afternoon peak is due to commuters combined with baseline recreational bikers…biking in the middle of the day is quite low, less than a biker every 2 minutes.  Our counts…are consistent with what many observers of the bike lane have reported: long intervals with no biking activity, particularly during the week.

As someone who works from home, I often take mid-day rides to Prospect Park.  Guess what?  I don’t see a lot of cars on PPW at 1 PM or so either, less than a driver every 2 minutes by my observation.  Roll up the pavement!

This one was by far my favorite stretch of logic.  It’s truly astounding.

We were not able to surmise from our videos exactly how many “round trips” were happening, but it is likely that a substantial number of bikers were traversing the bike lane more than once, which would reduce the total number of distinct bikers to an unknown fraction of the total count recorded.  As many as half the trips, or more, may be second passes on the lane.

Given that so much of the traffic in Park Slope consists of drivers cruising for parking, can we surmise that many of the cars trips may be second passes on the street?  As for “round trips,” I’m fairly certain that most people who go to work, run an errand, go to the library, or drop off the kids at school come home after they are done.  I’m guessing that the people who drive back into a neighborhood at the end of a work day are, for the most part, the same people who left it in the morning.

To give some context, the larger MTA subway cars carry over 250 passengers when fully loaded…It’s not clear how much positive”green” impact this lane has had on NYC…

And how many car drivers are able to travel through PPW?  According to the DOT study, at the peak PM hour (4-5 PM) measured at Carroll Street, 1,010 vehicles travel PPW.  By NBBL’s measurements, the same volume of people could be carried by four MTA subway cars.  Good thing there are multiple lines at either end of PPW for all of the members of NBBL so concerned with the “green” impact of their transportation choice.  (By the way, I’m clearly no survey expert but I’m not too sure that most contain words with quotes around them that aren’t, you know, actual quotes said by real people.)

They summarize:

This leads to the very real question of whether the PPW bike lane is simply duplicating the adjacent Prospect Park which is more appropriately a venue for recreational biking than a heavily traveled public street.

Again the NBBL exhibits a prejudice for one type of riding over another when they do not apply the same standard to driving.  Shorter NBBL: if you drive to your spin class, drive wherever you want.  If you bike to work, or for any other reason, stick to the park.

I could go on.  We all could.  It’s endlessly infuriating and entertaining.  Best thing to do is show up tonight.  See you there.

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