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Crain’s Asks: Should Manhattan Give Up on Bike Lanes?

5:37 PM EDT on October 13, 2010

This poll on the Crain's site has been tearing through the Twitterverse rather ferociously this afternoon:

crains_poll


I dunno. Should NYC call it quits after a few successful years of trying something new on the streets? Should the city give up on policies that are reducing injuries to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists? With bike traffic into downtown Manhattan booming after a safe, connected bike network has started to emerge below 34th Street, should we throw up our hands and leave the job half done? Should we disregard the recommendations of the public health community and toss out one of the main transportation strategies in the city's sustainability plan? Tough one here.

Another note about this: The media has really wrested the narrative about Scott Stringer's bike lane report away from Scott Stringer. The report [PDF] mainly calls for NYPD to keep bike lanes clear and observes that protected lanes -- the ones that have the press so ginned up -- work better than the painted lanes which have been around for a while:

...locations with protected bike lanes were found to be half as likely to be blocked by motor vehicles and, on average, had about 30 fewer infractions.  These findings indicate that protected lanes may provide a safer cycling experience.

On the Crain's poll page, that conclusion is nowhere to be found:

In recent years, the Bloomberg administration has aggressively rolled out bike lanes all across the city, snatching away lanes from cars and trucks and handing them over to cyclists. A new report by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, however, found that the lanes in his borough aren't living up to hopes -- with motorists parking in them, pedestrians walking in them, and cyclists riding the wrong way in them.

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