Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pedestrians, Cars, and Bikes, but no Buses! (cont.)

The City Council’s 12/9 meeting on “Oversight - Bicycling in NYC – Opportunities and challenges" is over and we don’t yet get to hear their decision.
“Please note: this meeting's minutes have not been finalized yet. Actions taken on legislation and their results are not available.”

No word on the proposed changes to Alternate Side Parking Rules either. That Introduction was “Laid Over by Committee” on Nov 9.

The Mayor deliberately withholds information (See post ”Tight Lipped City Officials Won’t Say where Parking Spaces Will Be Cut. and the City Council procedurally buries it. So once again I am left to decide what is right for this great city and I have to do it without the benefit of all the facts. One fact I know about the addition of bike lanes is they don’t all fit: the cars, the trucks, the buses and bikes; never did, no reason to think they will now. So I have to wonder how far this little social experiment will go.
Does Bloomberg & Company foresee our streets only used by bikes, taxis, fire, police and delivery vehicles? That would hurt his beloved tourism. Just the reduction of parking garages will seriously alter the tourism those garages make possible. In fact, the percentage of our economy due to cars is huge. How much of it are we meant to sacrifice in the name of bike lanes. How much of the buying; selling; repairing; parking; manufacturing; parts; fueling; maintaining of roads, bridges and tunnels; tourism; moving; traffic signals, signage and the other many purchases of traffic planning and control that are just a few of the businesses that depend on automobiles are we to give up? Not to mention the $574 million dollars from tickets last year that I think we can safely assume, this administration has no intention of giving up.
So, I have to assume he doesn’t want all the cars out, just fewer people to drive in the city, but which ones are allowed to stay? Does he just want people who can afford garages to drive in the city? Is it survival of the strongest? Has he fashioned his own traffic Tetris or Hunger Game so that only the most quick handed, cutthroat or persevering will remain? The bike lanes by themselves sound like a great thing, but in the ecosystem of our streets, they are traffic clenching and to call them "traffic calming," Mr, Mayor, does not make the little people feel the pain any less. When you constrict the arteries, blood rushes to your head. Do New Yorkers need more tempers flaring and horns blaring? Does this sound like a lot of questions? Well that might be because our city government is not giving us the answers.
We all know about the lost parking spaces and enforced traffic congestion, but the greatest concern to me so far is that the experimental growth of bicycles comes almost in direct opposition to the availability of transit buses. Our once great New York system of MTA Buses has already taken some hits from this Mayor’s policies. That carbon monoxide street plaza he landfilled in Times Square was at the expense of Bus routes through the heart of our Broadway neighborhood’s glitz and glamor (and theatre owners don’t much like the more difficult access either). And buses have again been cut back heavily this year. Bike lane enforced “traffic calming” only promises to make buses even slower and less popular. So let’s see, the buses will be slower. The trains are already overcrowded. How many people can actually ride a bike to work? How many can and show up looking professional? Does the A/C on those things even work? How many can ride a bus and look great doing it?
The problem with this process is there is no process as far as ordinary citizens go. We don’t see any scale model or drawings of New York in 2020. Is there any kind of grand plan (a little more far reaching than a map of proposed bike routes) or is it play as you go? Where does it end? How does it work practically? Show us the money. What is it supposed to look like? Amsterdam? Bermuda? Will the next Mayor just scrap it all? It might help us decide if this is just another New York ego giving us a headache or much needed growing pains. When do we get to see and hear your final objective, read the minutes of your meeting, Mr. Mayor?
Have you thought it all through, Mr. Mayor, Really?

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