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Help Make Sense of Crazy Steve Cuozzo

So, Streetsblog is well past the point of bothering to rationally rebut anything that Post columnist Steve Cuozzo has to say on the subject of re-engineering streets for greater safety. The man clearly has a few screws loose, and, in the words of midtown BID impresario Dan Biederman, "He doesn’t know this field. He just loves to scream and rant about it."

But after reading today's out-of-touch diatribe about the Columbus Avenue bike lane, I'm still scratching my head, trying to puzzle out exactly why the Cuozz loves to scream and rant about this stuff so much.

You have the conventional theories. Bike lane rants goose pageviews. The Post is a reactionary Murdoch-financed rag that couldn't care less about actual New Yorkers wanting to make their streets safer. And Gothamist's favorite explanation: Cuozzo is just a grumpy old man, like Abe Simpson with column inches.

I'm starting to think there's something else going on, though. Some deep psychological need embedded in Cuozzo's amygdala that compels him to write this garbage.

It could be a manifestation of obsessive-compulsive disorder, as Cuozzo's extreme discomfort with "vehicles unattractively parked in the middle of the street" suggests. In other words: Who cares if fewer pedestrians are getting injured with the new parking arrangement! Streets are absolutely perfect when cars are parked by the curb, and the street must not deviate from the perfect arrangement!

It could be a form of stalking, where the object of Cuozzo's obsession is bike lanes. The amount of time Cuozzo spends monitoring bike lanes certainly seems obsessive. "I’ve watched it repeatedly, at all hours and in all weathers, on weekdays and weekends," he says of the Columbus Avenue lane. Yes, "all weathers." While the rest of us were holed up during Hurricane Sandy, apparently, Cuozzo was out there watching a bike lane.

It could be some childhood trauma that's blocking Cuozzo from embracing the infrastructure that would clearly give him great joy, if he would only allow himself to use it. "Growing up on Long Island," he writes, "I lived on a bike." Transplanted to New York, though, he finds traffic too dangerous to ride here, "with or without bike lanes." While many New Yorkers would probably agree with Cuozzo that they don't feel safe enough riding on the streets as they exist today, most of us think bike lanes are a good thing. Personally, I think one of the reasons they're good is that they can help people overcome their fear of riding in traffic, especially if there's a connected network that can get you from point A to point B.

Maybe some awful encounter with a motorist on the peaceful, bikeable streets of Cuozzo's idyllic Long Island childhood is preventing him from seeing how the Columbus Avenue bike lane extension would create a safer, useful connection to other parts of the city.

Got a diagnosis? Share it in the comments.

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