Thursday, March 10, 2011
Is anyone surprised?
From CBS 2:
Angry residents are suing City Hall, and in a first of its kind action, are demanding that a judge order the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane ripped out. They claim the Department of Transportation falsified its information.
Residents, who include former DOT commissioner Iris Weinshall, also claim the agency is in cahoots with pro-bike lobbyists to go after lane opponents.
Through a Freedom of Information Act suit they obtained what they call “stunning” e-mail communications between Ryan Russo, the DOT’s director of street management, and a bike lobbyist.
On June 21, 2010, Russo told the lobbyist: “There are enough important people talking to other important people for me to worry and to require neutralizing.”
The lobbyist offers a proposed counter-flyer and directs Russo to a blog in which the lobbyist called bike lane opponents: “shameless, selfish pigs” and “complete [expletive] troglodytes.”
And he also writes on the blog: “If they won’t shut up and they can’t be ignored, then they need to be publicly disgraced every time they pop their heads up.”
Russo called the comments “very enjoyable.”
From the Daily News:
According to court papers, when DOT proposed the lane to Community Board 6 in April 2009, the department reported there had been 58 crashes on Prospect Park West and side streets from 2005-07 - proving a need for so-called traffic calming. That number was inflated; a more honest accounting wouldn't have included 12 accidents that did not occur on the thoroughfare.
The plaintiffs allege more shenanigans: At a followup meeting six months after the bike lane was installed last June, transportation officials declared the path a rousing safety success.
How? They used a three-year average culled from the second halves of 2007, 2008 and 2009 - purportedly showing a decline in the number of accidents from 29.7 to 25 in the second half of 2010.
That was heavy spin - papering over a jump in accidents from 22 in late 2009 to 25 in late 2010.
Why didn't DOT present the raw numbers? Because they didn't help make the case for the lane?
Then there's this. According to the complaint, back in 2007, worried about speeding cars on Prospect Park West, the agency changed the timing of traffic lights to slow vehicles from 30 mph to 20. Crashes dropped from 29 in 2007 to 23 in 2008 to 14 in 2009, and the number of injuries fell as well.
Both those numbers went up after the bike lane, justified by Sadik-Khan on grounds that it would make the roadway safer for all, was installed.