GREAT MOMENTS IN MUNICIPAL IDIOCY: Southside Style
Filed under: 11211, Brooklyn, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Long Island City, Queens, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
Yesterday morning I was alerted by a neighbor of mine that, in their infinite wisdom, the Department of Transportation has removed the “dismount” signs from the Pulaski Bridge. I have yet to verify this in person (I will) but this struck me as being yet another indicator of our fair city’s cow-towing to a bicyclist agenda at the expense of pedestrians. What’s more, it is just plain stupid to have bicyclists (who are apparently now legally sanctioned to go full speed ahead) and people on foot sharing a “pathway” which is eight to (at best) ten feet in width. This is a nasty accident waiting to happen— white lines or not.
I spent a fair amount of my morning fuming over this. In fact, I racked my brain to think of anything our city has perpetrated/inflicted on its citizens (traffic-wise) that could begin to compare to what they have done to the Pulaski Bridge. I came up empty.
Then I took a walk on the Southside. Methinks I may very well have found something worse.
Many of you, dear readers, are aware that I spend a significant amount of time looking down. This may seem to some to be an odd practice but I assure you it has a purpose: to avoid stepping in dog shit. As time has gone on I have found a number of other interesting things on our city’s sidewalks. I have documented them on this web site often.
In the case of Marcy Avenue I present to you this.
Why does this irritate me so, you ask? Well, for starters:
- This “bicycle lane” is on a public sidewalk. Bikes do not belong on sidewalks, people do.
- If my memory serves me correctly one can get ticketed for riding a bicycle on a sidewalk.
- As you can see above the city has sanctioned the use of a public sidewalk for use by bicyclists. Somewhere I hear Franz Kafka and George Orwell cackling their respective asses off.
Follows is a map of the intersection in question to further elucidate my point.
I have highlighted the bike lane in question (which is located on South 3rd Street) in yellow. The sidewalk cum bike lane (on Marcy Avenue) is highlighted in green. The more eagle-eyed among you might have noticed that someone walking towards South 3rd Street on Marcy Avenue would have a limited/obstructed view of oncoming traffic (be it petroleum-fueled or man-powered) from South 3rd Street. Here’s a street level view to drive the point home.
I am not a Southside resident, but I do walk around there pretty frequently. Who do I see walking along this stretch of Marcy Avenue most frequently, you ask? I’ll tell you:
- A large number of elderly people. Many of whom are pushing carts laden groceries, some of whom have limited mobility.
- Young women pushing strollers or accompanying small children.
- Hipsters who have turned on and tuned into their i-Pods.
In a nutshell, people whose ability to dodge an oncoming bicycle— for reasons of their own choosing or otherwise— is compromised. I do not know who thought up this “solution” to the bicycling problem but it is one of the WORST examples of municipal “planning” I have ever seen.
In fact, if this didn’t pose a serious public safety issue I’d find the above image downright hilarious. But it is a safety issue. And it is no laughing matter.
I have often been accused of being “anti-bicycle”. I am not. What I am becoming increasingly fed up with is this “have your cake and eat it too” mode of operation our city is espousing. Bikes neither belong on sidewalks nor any other pedestrian walkway. They belong on the streets. Safely. To make this happen entails making tough choices. Choices clearly the leaders of this city are unwilling to make (presumably because they will piss off motorists).
This is a farce.
UPDATE, 10/30/09 2:00 p.m.: Sure enough, the dismount signs have been removed from the Pulaski Bridge.