Great Moments In Urban Planning, Volume I
Is Manhattan Ave the right place for a bike lane, as busy as it is?
And here is my answer: second only to perhaps McGuinness Boulevard or the BQE, Manhattan Avenue is one of the worst places imaginable to have a bike lane. Here is why.
This is the intersection of Green Street and Manhattan Avenue. Green Street is a popular thoroughfare for motorists (many of whom are cabbies) to turn around and head back to the Pulaski Bridge. While annoying, the added traffic is not the problem. Rather, it is the general reluctance on the part of motorists to obey the law. As a result I have seen many an accident come to pass here. If it has legs or wheels you can rest assured it has been thoroughly pulverized by some miscreant-on-wheels running this stop sign. Follows are a few that things that have been hit at this intersection by negligent motorists:
- One subcompact car
- One tractor trailer hauling construction materials
- A dog
- A bicyclist
- A child
Of incidental interest, here are a few things I have seen transpire where this bike lane will be installed.
- One crazy-ass dude being tazered repeatedly by the police.
- Some drunk guy passed out in the street. The locals, being acclimatized to this sort of thing, placed a street cone in front of this chap and called 311.
And now we are to have a bike lane here? Why doesn’t the city charge a bounty on bicyclists or host some Death Race 2000-esque type of event at this intersection instead? The end result will pretty much be the same.
I know what some of you are thinking: Why not call 311 and complain about people blowing through this intersection? I HAVE. After almost being hit myself. Once I even went to the trouble of complaining to a meter maid present writing a ticket. In both cases absolutely nothing was done. Until our city decides to enforce the rules of the road (for motorists and bicyclists) I see no viable reason why a bike lane should be installed on Manhattan Avenue. Franklin Street (which already has a bicycle lane)* is a much safer alternative.
What’s more, putting a bicycle lane in the path of a bus route strikes me as being downright idiotic. B43 bus service is bad enough as is, why make it worse?