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“No one except the Daily News has cried over it.”

November 2, 2011

Please read this brilliant response from n8han regarding the “Pedestrian Safety Managers” program on the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges.  The PSMs were contracted by the DOT through Sam Schwartz engineering at considerable taxpayer expense to mitigate the “pedestrian perdition” described by Alex Nazaryan and the Daily News editorial writers in an open letter to Commissioner Sadik-Khan.

It’s true that the “managers” are making a difference on the Manhattan Bridge. You see fewer people walking on the cycling side when the high-viz vests are out. What isn’t true is that defiant modal desegregation was ever a problem worth spending $80,000 a month to mitigate, and for only a few hours of the day at that.

I don’t particularly enjoy having to pass groups of people walking on the wrong side—as I still must do on every ride home—but I didn’t ask to have my taxes spent to redirect lemmings. And in terms of public safety, the numbers just aren’t there. The only thing that was ever there was an ignorant rant that the Daily News editorial board coughed up after jogging around the bridge once or twice.

The reality that regular bridge users experience every day is that hundreds of pedestrians opt-in to the supposed post-apocalyptic demolition derby by walking on the cycling side. And yet, it’s just not that big of a deal. We can’t report on the other side since we aren’t over there but it looks pretty friggin’ desolate. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the walkers who are turned away from the south side, which faces the Brooklyn Bridge, abandon their river crossing plans entirely. In “unmanaged” hours they seem to universally prefer the side with the views.

The News owes us $80,000 for this little song and dance they ordered.

I’ve been covering this nontroversy since shortly after Alex Nazaryan wrote his fact-free editorial for the Daily News.  Ben Fried at Streetsblog has also debunked this story with aplomb.  And now we have n8han who has added his voice to the peculiar canon that is bike-lane-hysteria response pieces.

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3 Comments
  1. November 2, 2011 3:21 pm

    …bleh, when i think of what else that money could be used for i get a little nauseous. are the PSM’s Sam Schwartz employees or people they have hired to stand around wearing a vest – and do they have the ability to ticket anyone making the space a “battleground”?

  2. November 3, 2011 10:36 am

    The PSM’s don’t have the authority to ticket anyone. They’re somewhat like crossing guards or security guards in that sense.

  3. NY Observer permalink
    November 8, 2011 8:38 am

    Alex Nazarayan will be let go from the Daily News in the next round of lay-offs. His colleagues and superiors know that he’s a moron.

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