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I’d Like to Use a Lifeline, Please

November 17, 2011

One thousand dollars for a video camera divided by seventeen seconds of footage of an ambulance using a bike lane comes out to about $60 per second.  That may seem like a bargain for getting your propaganda aired on local TV, but the long-term reaction didn’t quite pan out the way Hainline may have hoped.

Here’s DNAInfo just last week, in a story on East Harlem bike lanes:

[DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret] Forgione said FDNY officials also like the protected lanes because they use them to traverse the roadways when there is a traffic jam.

“What we find when we implement this plan is that it makes the street safer for all users,” said Forgione.

If Hainline and her fellow NBBLers had been paying attention to the rest of New York’s bike lane story and not filtering everything through a heavy cloud of confirmation bias, they might have been able to read the tea leaves long before their Marcia Kramer co-production.  Here’s a story from DNAInfo from November 2010:

The department doesn’t track response times on a neighborhood level, but response times citywide for the first 10 months of 2010 were better than they were last year, said FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer. The northern stretch of Columbus Avenue bike lanes were installed in late August.

Firefighters this year arrived on average two seconds faster than they did in 2009, Dwyer said.

“Overall, we’re getting to fires faster and better than we ever have before,” Dwyer added.

Dwyer said he couldn’t comment on anecdotal remarks made by neighborhood fire officials.

Marcia’s dogged perseverance against vital pedestrian safety projects and Louise’s “time and expense” in the fight against PPW are counterproductive to the goal of making streets safer for everyone, especially emergency responders.  Bike lanes are lifelines for a traffic-clogged city.
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