Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pedestrians imperiled on Manhattan Bridge

The following is an open letter to Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (from the Daily News).

Dear Ms. Commissioner:

We invite you to take a walk across the Manhattan Bridge today so you might understand why so many New Yorkers - even reasonable New Yorkers - are so dead-set against your bike lanes.

As you know, two lanes of the bridge are dedicated to people rather than to vehicles: one on the north side, one on the south side. In July, you rerouted all bike traffic to the south, reserving the north for pedestrians. This was done to accommodate repairs. And it was done with clarity. Bright orange signs tell bikers to go one way and pedestrians another.

But you will see that bikers are illiterate, blind or merely - this is our guess - oblivious to all man-made law. They zoom along the pedestrian side of the bridge as if it were the last leg of the Tour de France. And pity the pedestrian who slows them down.

They ring their bells. They shake their heads in disgust. They curse out the family from Japan trying to take in the East River view. They flip the bird at the working stiff from Brooklyn who's trying to burn off a few calories on the way home from the daily grind.

What use have bikers for signs, regulations or restrictions? Walk across the mighty Manhattan, Ms. Commissioner, and you will see that you have loosed upon New York a two-wheeled army run entirely amok. We're so terrified of these Cannondale-mounted maniacs that we fear getting out of our cars.

All the best.


Anonymous said...

It was the same sham Saturday on Park Ave for the so-called "Summer Streets." Bicyclists took up all of Park Ave heading both north and south. Walkers took to the sidewalks for their own safety. And forget trying to cross Park.

After the first year when bicyclists and walkers badly mixed on the same road, bicyclists were to keep to the left, and walkers to the right. Now the bikes take up all of Park Ave.

Time for the City to own up to the facts -- bicyclists and pedestrians do not mix. Bikes hog the roads, leaving no room for walkers, endangering our lives.

A Walker.

Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah. I'm a responsible biker. Gotta say that I've been riding in NYC for 20 yrs and I've never felt more in danger than since all the bike lanes and Summer Streets and etc. Used to be that bikers realized the risks and were responsible. I may go the wrong way down a one way street now and then but it's usually because I know from experience that it's a less busy way to go. I don't think drivers are that terrible, nor are bikers. People who bithc and moan just like to bitch and moan I guess, but I do think these bike lanes give bikers an illusion of safety.

Gary the Agnostic said...

I walked across the Manhattan Bridge last Thursday afternoon. Bicyclists were ignoring the signs AND the barriers on the north side of the bridge. No one was ringing bells, honking horns or using whistles. Many of them were riding as fast as they could, without concern for the safety of pedestrians.

It's a great walk - the view is wonderful, but the bicycle riders make it a very risky walk.

Anonymous said...

This was a terrible open letter. No actual facts, just conflicting hysteria. The Daily News is following the Post in a race to the bottom.

Anonymous said...

This was a terrible open letter. No actual facts, just conflicting hysteria. The Daily News is following the Post in a race to the bottom.

I must state how disappointed I am on the young people that think they are so environmental and in touch with nature.

They go drinking at bars that air condition the sidewalks, they patiently listen as stooges of the developer/politicians carefully tell them what to do at the waterfont (like pull out shopping carts) and what not to do (like lobby for park space instead of development), look at plans for a million new people yet ask no questions on infrastructure (outside of 'green' roof gardens)

So self absorbed - focused on bike lanes and yoga while communities like Ratnerville destroy and develop.

They would no know a real Green (like in Europe) if it bit them on the ass.

Gary the Agnostic said...

You've gotten facts from me. This past Thursday afternoon, around 1:30 p.m.

Anonymous said...

I suggest that all pedestrians go back to carrying walking sticks!