The New York Post editorial board isn’t known for enlightened positions on transportation policy and street design. Even so, I was kind of floored to read this tone-deaf screed published over the weekend, blaming the city’s post-Sandy transportation disruptions on bike lanes, pedestrian plazas, and traffic-calming measures.
While the mainstream business press quickly caught on to the fact that bikes and bike infrastructure are getting New Yorkers where they need to go after the storm, the Post completely freaked out. Normal New Yorkers see huge numbers of people on bikes and can probably appreciate how bike infrastructure provides a viable transportation option when trains are completely packed. The Post sees the same thing and wonders out loud whether bike lanes will cripple the city in the event of a terrorist attack.
Is the Post just trolling for pageviews, or do they really hate the fact that they live in a compact city where safer streets for walking and biking save lives and help people get around? Who can really say what goes on in that newsroom. But a confidential source sent us this internal memo to Post editor Col Allan that seems to explain a lot…
Friday, November 2, 2012
Attn: Col Allan
Subject: Sadik-Khan hatchet job
I’m gonna be a bit behind schedule with the new rant about the transportation commissioner and bike lanes. Hate to waste the great set-up from Jen blaming bikes for getting in the way of buses (so great that Lhota tweeted about that in the middle of the worst disaster that’s ever hit the MTA), but I got stuck waiting for free gas from the National Guard for 20 hours.
The line was unbelievable. I ended up sleeping behind the steering wheel. When I woke up, the Excursion was actually out of gas (I had gotten in line with half a tank — gotta be prepared!) because I’d kept the engine running to stay warm. After that, I had to get out and roll the car forward every time the line moved up.
So, while I’m rolling the Excursion toward the gas tanker this morning, all these cyclists start whizzing by me, ringing their bells cos I’m standing in a bike lane pushing my car. Crikey. Can you believe the nerve! Some of us have jobs to get to, and these people are only worried about their precious bike lane and their precious children sitting in their precious rear rack-mounted child seats. If I’d had gas in the car I’d have given them all a good scare.
Actually, when I got to the line for gas yesterday, right off the bat I started talking to this other bloke waiting for gas who said you might as well scare the snot out of cyclists with your car, no one’s going to stop ya. Turns out he’s a cop. Great source. Hates the bike lanes and the pedestrian plazas. Before they let him cut to the front of the line, he was letting fly about Bloomberg and how they took away his personal parking placard four years ago. Boy, he’s still steamed about that one.
Anyway, they should really let him run the transportation department instead of the nutso commissioner we’ve got now. He gave me some fantastic ideas for the piece. Sorry it’s late, but the timing’s going to be perfect. What New York really needs right now is someone willing to say that we need as much space as possible for people to burn gas on the streets.
See ya later,
— Faceless, Anonymous editorial writer
Makes more sense now, doesn’t it?