Tuesday’s Headlines: Shall the ‘First’ Become First Edition
The Department of Transportation was so excited about all the cycling New Yorkers have been doing that it sent out a tweet that raised a lot more questions than it answered:
Bikes are not a niche form of transportation! As we celebrate #BikeMonth, we've seen a major uptick in bike traffic in NYC. On 1st Ave in #Manhattan, there were 750 #BikeNYC lane users in one hour vs. 1,100 motor vehicles. Let's make this the summer of cycling. pic.twitter.com/wG5DG0A26U
— NYC DOT (@NYC_DOT) May 15, 2023
Question 1: When was that?
The answer from agency spokesman Scott Gastel: “Last Wednesday. And it was also last Tuesday … between 6 and 7 p.m. on both days.”
Question 2: Does the 750 cyclists vs. 1,100 motor vehicles numbers include buses?
Answer from Gastel: Yes.
Question 3: So if bike riders represent 40 percent of the road users, how come they are crammed into six feet of space, while the movement and storage of vehicles comprises 64 feet on First Avenue? That’s a split of 8.5 percent of space for cyclists and 91.5 percent of space for vehicles. So will the DOT consider widening the bike lane on First Avenue?
Answer from Gastel: “Our tweets on April 7 lay out the benefits of wider bike lanes and there we note plans for additional widenings this year.”
There were two tweets that day related to wider bike lanes, neither of which addressed our question:
Wider bike lanes can create more comfortable spaces for a growing number of cyclists & modes, including e-micromobility and cargo bikes. Implementing wider #BikeNYC lanes is part of “Charge Safe, Ride Safe,” the City’s holistic effort to support safe e-micromobility use. pic.twitter.com/kdmeXtMfAs
— NYC DOT (@NYC_DOT) April 7, 2023
Well, we’ll stay on this story, as has our friend from Streetfilms, Clarence Eckerson Jr., who has made a cottage industry of pointing out to DOT that our bike lanes are too narrow to handle all the exciting cycling going on (and don’t forget Citi Bike breaking all these records!).
In other news from a pretty slow day (at least beyond our pages):
- Well, Citi Bike was having a great week … until this lady showed up and tried to steal a bike already taken out by someone else. (NY Post)
- A driver of a Jeep injured lots of people when he ran a light in The Bronx and hit a school bus (NYDN, NY Post). Once again, neither paper bothered to run the plate of the Jeep, which only has 12 camera-issued speeding tickets and one camera-issued red light ticket since late 2019, according to city records (which are available to everyone, even reporters, on Howsmydrivingny. Use it, please). NYC Bike Lanes had the perfect takedown of the lamestream, lazy media:
I wish there was a way to detect drivers who speed near school zones so their vehicles can be confiscated before they hurt children.https://t.co/3bCGCnQyLS pic.twitter.com/X5Nxjw3iNl
— NYC Bike Lanes (@NYCBikeLanes) May 16, 2023
- The Times for some reason took seriously the arguments of two New Jersey senators in their quest to prevent New York City from finally charging some drivers for the damage they do. Even the lede of Ana Ley’s story was flat out wrong: “New Jersey’s United States senators have joined the fight against New York City’s plan to charge drivers on Manhattan’s busiest streets, arguing that the tolls would unfairly burden suburbanites who must travel into the city for work.” The fact is, the toll only affects suburbanites who choose to drive into the most-congested part of the city.” (Crain’s also covered.)
- There are lots of garages that are ticking time bombs. (NY Times)
- Finally, Henry Grabar just got the New Yorker bounce for his book, “Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World” (Penguin Press).