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To the Daily News Editors

August 12, 2011

To the Editors:

As you know, you have a puzzling “open letter” to Janette Sadik-Khan on your editorial page today, in which you take on the subject of the pedestrian/cyclist swap on the Manhattan Bridge.  It’s so incoherent, the only reason for publishing it I can think of is that you are behind on your anti-JSK quota for the summer and wanted to bury something on a day most of your readers are headed to the beach.

Where to begin?  The beginning.

We invite you to take a walk across the Manhattan Bridge today so you might understand why so many New Yorkers – even reasonable New Yorkers – are so dead-set against your bike lanes.

I get it.  As long as you align yourself with “reasonable New Yorkers” you are free to be as unreasonable as possible.
As you know, two lanes of the bridge are dedicated to people rather than to vehicles: one on the north side, one on the south side.
You are trying to make it sound like DOT took away car lanes to accommodate “people.” Scary!  But even the Daily News knows this is not correct.
In July, you rerouted all bike traffic to the south, reserving the north for pedestrians. This was done to accommodate repairs. And it was done with clarity. Bright orange signs tell bikers to go one way and pedestrians another.  But you will see that bikers are illiterate, blind or merely – this is our guess – oblivious to all man-made law. They zoom along the pedestrian side of the bridge as if it were the last leg of the Tour de France. And pity the pedestrian who slows them down.
Not that I’m complaining, but as long as we’re accusing people of being illiterate, you’ll find plenty of pedestrians still walking on the south side.  Are they “oblivious to all man-made law,” too?
They ring their bells.
Yes they do.  Would you rather they scream?  Remain silent and crash into people?  Or maybe we should mount car horns to our handlebars?
They shake their heads in disgust.
As opposed to drivers, who only move their heads from side to side when they’re looking for their cell phones.  Or their flip flops.
They flip the bird at the working stiff from Brooklyn who’s trying to burn off a few calories on the way home from the daily grind.
The most artful sentence in the whole piece proves that you can call cyclists elitist, yuppie transplants without actually saying it!
We’re so terrified of these Cannondale-mounted maniacs that we fear getting out of our cars.
Except that you kind of say it right here.  Cannondales are expensive and must therefore be the vehicle of choice of the elitist, yuppie transplants that are ruining Brooklyn for the working stiffs.  (By the way, why is it that the most anti-bike editors seem to know a whole lot about expensive bike models?  Do you guys have a stash of Serottas tucked away in a broom closet?)  I’m confused.  This is an editorial about terrorized pedestrians — “pedestrian perdition” — right?  That makes the final sentence either the most idiotic in the whole thing or the most revealing.  I’m betting it’s the latter.  You have probably never set foot on the pedestrian path of the Manhattan Bridge, at least not since the detour went into effect.  It’s just proof that in the end, all anti-bike editorials — even one meant to appear as if it’s protecting Joe Pedestrian — are really just pro-car.
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7 Comments
  1. August 12, 2011 12:27 pm

    Cannondales are stupid. Linus in the vehicle of choice for this yuppie transplant (ten years ago, bitches!) who is ruining Brooklyn for the working stiffs.

    The dreadful bridge detour of 2011 has convinced me that it is a bad idea to segregate traffic there in the first place Thanks to the total prioritization of auto traffic on and around the bridge, it is *really far* from one path to the other on the Manhattan side. Since I have been riding as instructed on the south side of late, I have a lot more sympathy for the “rule breakers” who were walking on the north side before. If you’re going headed uptown, that’s where you want to be. Especially on foot where distances are more significant.

    So I think we would be better off with an actual map on both ends (imagine that!) that encouraged people to take the route that makes the most sense. There are going to be walkers and runners on both sides regardless so we may as well eliminate the excuse for the pointless nasty scolding that some people on and off bicycles just LOVE to engage in.

    But then, I’m a blind or illiterate or law-ignoring cyclist, so how could I possibly relate to the concerns of people on foot as well as the esteemed and afraid-to-exit-the-car editors of NYDN?

    • cyrus permalink
      August 12, 2011 8:57 pm

      I agree 100%. I have no problem with pedestrians walking on the “wrong” side during the detour. Walking off the north side of the bridge into Manhattan and then heading downtown means crossing multiple lanes of traffic at Canal Street or taking a long detour and going down Forsyth St under the bridge and around. It’s a long and dangerous way to go for someone on foot and I can’t blame anyone for keeping their old routine! Same goes for the other way. If you’re heading into Brooklyn, you either have to walk around that giant bike off-ramp or hike down a steep grassy hill and then go under the bridge. Not that easy!

      Any cyclist who makes a big deal out of a few pedestrians walking on the south side is a total jerk, but I don’t think too many cyclists ARE making a big deal out of it outside of the imaginary Cannondale riders cat six-ing everyone on the bike path. The Daily News is looking to create controversy based on one editor’s jog across the bridge every now and then. Maybe they could find out how may people have died in bike-on-pedestrian accidents on the bridge ’cause I’m sure the number is way way way lower…zero…than the number of pedestrians killed by cars in Chinatown or anywhere near the Manhattan Bridge.

  2. Multi-Modalist permalink
    August 12, 2011 4:52 pm

    Don’t the vehicles have people in them too?

    Seriously — Daily News editorial board — How can I put this nicely?… You are complete fugging morons. It is very hard to take you people seriously. Sadly, we must because so many people read your incoherent, fear-mongering, hate-inciting drivel.

    The next time a road-raging outer borough motorist injures or kills a cyclist it’s on you, you assholes.

  3. krstrois permalink
    August 12, 2011 5:43 pm

    “We fear getting out of our cars.”

    I think the more subtle (perhaps not so subtle, really) meaning behind this is “we fear that a city that reflects our value system has left us behind.” And that basically informs every NYDN and Post editorial on bikes. And why they keep on keepin’ on with that fake populism despite the incredible diversity of New York’s cycling population. Nathan’s funny comment about cannondale v linus is, in a way, what they’re most terrified of. They don’t even know how to make fun of this shit, people. And if you can’t effectively make fun of someone, what have you got?

    You really have to close your eyes to suggest that NYC cycling is not a microcosm of all New York. And more so than ever.

  4. August 13, 2011 1:44 am

    • The NY1-Marist poll that was released yesterday shows that working stiffs like bike accommodations. You know who doesn’t like them? Desk jockeys who sit on their asses flipping through dictionaries to find a pathetic alliteration for “pedestrian.”

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