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Bin Laden Is Dead, But the Second Avenue Bike Lane Lives On

9:26 AM EDT on July 8, 2011

Given enough time, the theory goes, a thousand monkeys banging away at a thousand typewriters will eventually compose the complete works of Shakespeare. But Marcia Kramer and the crack news writers at CBS2 only needed a couple of hours, maybe less, to come up with last night’s masterpiece about the extension of the First and Second Avenue bike lanes.

Construction has barely started on this project and already Kramer’s got it covered. Annotated highlights below:

Residents said they’re wondering what officials were thinking when they installed the lanes on First and Second Avenues from 34th to 59th streets.

It’s an area already so congested at rush hour that cars can barely move, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

“I don’t think it’s going to work,” Bruce Silberblatt said.

Brilliant! Start off by quoting someone who won’t tolerate the loss of one or two parking spaces if it means giving more room to pedestrians and cyclists. Don’t mention the fact that the local community board voted for this project two years in a row. This is the exemplary journalism we’ve come to expect from Marcia Kramer.

Silberblatt’s group, the Turtle Bay Association, took pictures showing how the First Avenue approach to the 59th Street Bridge was already congested.

“It was bedlam,” Silberblatt said. “Anybody trying to ride a bike is taking their life in their hands. It’s that dangerous.”

Classic Kramer jujitsu. This guy who hates the bike lane? He’s actually concerned about cyclists. So concerned, in fact, that he appears to believe no one should ever ride a bike. Whatever his point is, pay no mind to the cyclists and pedestrians who are already getting maimed and killed by preventable East Side traffic crashes in obscene numbers. Don’t cite the stats showing how traffic injuries dropped after the first segments of the East Side bike lanes were installed last year.

A Second Avenue bike lane is next to the Israeli consulate, leaving many wondering what would happen if a man on a bike were a terrorist.

Very true. What would happen if a man who is a terrorist, who is riding a bike on Second Avenue, and who has a broadsword strapped to his rear rack, were to unsheathe his weapon and extend it sideways at arm’s length as he pedals next to the sidewalk? How many Israeli diplomats would be disemboweled or beheaded? Many are wondering.

Just kidding. Of course Kramer is referring to Al Qaeda’s well-known plan to disguise explosives by surgically implanting them in terrorists’ bodies. Such bombs can only be sewn into the flesh of cyclists.

Kidding again. Let’s get real. What Kramer’s really getting at is that Osama bin Laden’s second-in-command, Ayman Al-Zawahri, will not assume the leadership of Al Qaeda as previously reported. The Second Avenue bike lane is taking over instead.

In the end, it may simply be about who the streets are for, what percentage of people who use the streets are bicyclists, and what percentage are driving automobiles.

“It’s a tough number to pinpoint, but where we’ve already installed the new bike path, we see somewhere around 10 percent of the traffic is bike traffic,” Benson said.

Wait, what? Allocating space according to who uses the street? Heresy! The sidewalks of Manhattan would be 40 feet wide. Major crosstown streets would turn into busways. Avenues would have only one or two traffic lanes. On-street parking would cease to exist.

Opponents might argue that the 90 percent who use cars and buses should rule the road, especially in an area with such high levels of congestion.

Okay, right on. Opponents finally get a word in edgewise. Cars rule. The solution to congestion is to fill up as much space with traffic as you possibly can. A return to form for Marcia Kramer.

Except, if you actually gave 10 percent of NYC street space to cyclists, you’d have to build a lot more bike lanes.

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