The Current State Of Affairs

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Further to my recent posts about bike lane pavement imperfections, how do you like this one?

 

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It’s only a true New York City pothole when it’s slowly been digesting a traffic cone for months, like a snake that’s swallowed a rat.

There should also be some passive-aggressive graffiti:

I don’t think it’s quicksand so much as it’s the entire path simply sliding off Inwood Hill and into the Hudson River below–which is why they’ll soon be closing the path in order to renovate it, and why complaining to 311 in the meantime is singularly pointless. (Though I guess it’s conceivable they could send someone to chuck a few more cones in there.)

Meanwhile, further (much further) downtown, work will begin on the new Brooklyn Bridge bike lane, which is Kind Of A Big Deal:

As much as advocates complain–and do they ever complain…

…the increase in cycling amenities in 21st century New York City has been stunning. Bike lanes, bike-specifice traffic signals, fully renovated East River crossings, Citi Bike for chrissakes… I can’t ride anywhere without being overtaken by someone on an electric-assist Citi Bike these days, and that includes the Bronx, as the system has finally made the leap across the Harlem River. Are there still too many cars? Yes. Does the city’s approach to bike infrastructure occasionally involve little more than slapping down a little paint and calling it good? Sure. Am I asking a lot of rhetorical questions? You’re goddamn right.

Even so, when I take a break from my own complaining I’m amazed at just how ingrained in the crusty fabric of the city bicycles have become. I realize the author of the tweet above must perpetuate the underdog narrative in order to underpin his own righteousness, but the fact remains that what he’s saying there is fundamentally untrue. While the city may not be restricting motor vehicle access to the extent advocates might like, it has added bikey-type stuff consistently over the past two decades, and I don’t think anyone believes that the days of building new highways and widening streets for cars in New York City are anything but over. Most tellingly, there’s not a single mayoral candidate with a chance in hell at winning who isn’t at least ostensibly pro-bike, which is a far cry from the way it was a decade ago, when one high-profile candidate famously said this:

“When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing?” Mr. Weiner said to Mr. Bloomberg, as tablemates listened. “I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”

That candidate was Anthony Weiner, who later tried to redeem himself by riding around in a vintage helmet:

Until his career exploded in a “sexting” scandal and he went to federal prison.

Anyway, here we are in 2021. No doubt we’ll keep finding new and creative ways to run each other over with cars…

…but in a city that keeps rebuilding itself it’s inevitable that we’ll keep putting more and more bicycles in the mortar.

Unless they come out with flying cars, of course. Because that will totally fix everything.


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