There has been a lot of back and forth on the internet lately with regard to bike lanes mostly due to the high percentage of idiocy of the New York Times article on Sadik-Kahn and the controversy over the dedicated bike lanes on Prospect Park West.
The article talks about Ms. Sadik-Kahn’s style or approach but devotes far fewer lines to the most basic public policy issues. How effective is it at accomplishing your goals and how much does it cost? If your goal is to save lives then she should be praised by the very same people who are currently complaining about her.
“Regardless of fault, there’s another twist here. As various studies have found, the more cyclists and cycling infrastructure a town has, the safer it becomes statistically, not just for cyclists but for drivers and pedestrians alike. When New York City put a protected bike lane on Ninth Avenue, some protested it as unsafe for people on foot. But since the lane’s opening, pedestrian injuries on Ninth have dropped by 29 percent. Last year, as miles of bike lanes were added, New York had its best pedestrian-safety record ever.”
9th Avenue is great, the plazas in Times Square make the place navigable on foot when it was nearly impassable before and the new mix of bike lanes, car parking and bus traffic on 2nd Avenue in the East Village has been convenient for me regardless of the transportation I have used. I ride the M15 bus on a regular basis and have driven by car as well. The decision not to go forward with the 34th Street plaza is regrettable because most of the people who use 34th Street already walk or ride the bus.
Once, way back in 2002, during my bicycle commute from Astoria to Soho I hit a pedestrian. Why? Because a taxi turned right without signaling, cut me off and the only course of action that did not result in me slamming into the rear of his car or jerking into traffic took me onto the sidewalk at speed. I hit a lady knocking her to the ground and myself over my handle bars onto the pavement next to her. I apologized, tried to explain how I got cut off and she apologized to me. The very nice lady on the sidewalk and I would have been safer if there had been a bike lane and signage that made drivers more aware of my presence on the road.
So, I say “Viva JSK!”