Monday, September 28, 2009

Death wish at the NYT

When Jonathan Swift suggested that Irish children be fattened up and fed to rich landowners he was KIDDING and everyone knew it. The terrible Irish potato famine could have ended at any time, if only rich British landowners had simply dropped their selfish opposition to imported potatoes. Famine on your doorstep is a life or death issue and Swift wanted to wake people up.

However, when The New York Time's cycling advocate Robert Sullivan (Bicyclists vs. Pedestrians: An Armistice) proposed that bicyclist yield the hard-won separate bike paths which we share with pedestrians on the Brooklyn Bridge in favor of "physically protected bike LANES" on the road itself he is dead serious. If we do this we will "earn the public's respect."

Here, friends, is the Brooklyn entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge in a decidedly leisurely moment. Note the visible space between a few cars. Note too how many cars are attempting last minute lane changes as they approach Manhattan. The existing bike/pedestrian lane is on the left. To "earn respect" we'll be giving that up to merge with traffic on the right. See any room for a bike lane, with or without "physical protection?"

brooktraffic.jpg

Say you got tied up in traffic on the way to the bridge. (You wouldn't be the first New Yorker to be so afflicted). It's getting dark, but Brooklyn looms just across the river. So you strap on your trusty rear flasher and decide to go for it. This is what the Brooklyn Bridge would look like on a typical night if you looked back over your shoulder from your "physically protected" bike:
4D7D4DC5-64BD-4751-8C5E-B3E5318B5A4C.jpg
Don't forget to signal when changing lanes.