Reminder to CBS 2 Reporters: TV is a Visual Medium
October 22, 2013
Brad Aaron at Streetsblog has a very thorough takedown of Lou Young’s segment on CBS 2 about a potential bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue. I have very little to add to Brad’s astute analysis, but since I work in TV and spend my time matching words to pictures, one moment from Young’s report caught my attention.
Young uses the present reality of Columbus Avenue to illustrate what could happen if a protected bicycle lane is installed on Amsterdam Avenue in the future. If you watch the segment, you’ll notice a point when Young steps onto Columbus Avenue and talks directly to camera, saying that when trucks double park on the busy thoroughfare, “in places there’s only one clear lane of traffic.”
But there’s a problem. The reporter is standing along a stretch of Columbus Avenue with two clear lanes of automobile traffic. There’s a giant truck parked by the bike lane on the east side of the street and a row of double parked trucks on the east side, yet there’s still enough space for a big USPS truck and an SUV to speed by in one lane and an MTA bus to move downtown in the other. Young even stands in the middle of the bike lane when a cyclist goes right by him without incident.
In other words, to illustrate a point about how dysfunctional Amsterdam Avenue may become with a bike lane, Lou Young stands in front of a perfectly functioning Columbus Avenue.
You may remember when CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer stood in front of an empty First Avenue and declared, “There’s no place for the cars to go!” You may also recall when she feared that the “traffic congestion caused by bike lanes…will impede emergency response” as she stood along a car-free Prospect Park West. Lou Young’s report, like Kramer’s many segments before it, is just another reminder that when you step away from the television, turn off the computer, and put down the newspaper, the real story of our streets is that they’re working better all the time.