Dear New York: Can we have your Dept. of Transportation Commissioner? Please?

What sadly passes for a writer at the New York Post calls NYDOT Commissioner Jannette Sadik-Khan a “psycho bike lady” and an “incompetent, overpromoted, overzealous bureaucrat.”

And that’s just the beginning.

This time, it’s because of a plan to convert the city’s 34th Street from a throughway to a Complete Streets busway. Although based on the paper’s highly biased coverage of biking news, it could have been about any number of other issues.

Sadik-Khan is recognized across the country as one of the nation’s leading transportation planners — willing to confront NYC’s addiction to the automobile and return some small portion of the streets to the people who actually live along and use them, rather than the machines that have long destroyed the city’s quality of life.

Yet the Post continues to fan the flames of self-righteousness over any attempt to take a single inch of roadway away from overly entitled motorists in order to actually improve the city’s over burdened streets.

And God forbid that the city’s residents should have viable alternatives to driving. Or pleasant and safer places to live, walk and bike — or just be, for that matter.

But evidently, they couldn’t care less how many people are killed or injured by motor vehicles on New York streets, or how poor the quality of life is along them, as long as they can speed from New Jersey to Long Island without stopping along the way.

And you thought yellow journalism was dead.

So here’s an offer.

Los Angeles has been without a General Manager for our Department of Transportation for the past several months. And we’d like Ms. Sadik-Khan to come home every bit as much as the Post’s writers would like to get rid of her.

So if they can convince New Yorkers it’s better to wallow in their own traffic and smog than actually do anything to improve it, we’ll gladly take her.

Please.

Meanwhile, in an amazing outbreak of enlightened self-interest, Toyota proposes building 250,000 kilometers (roughly 155,000 miles) of Japanese bike lanes in order to ease congestion and reduce the risk of collisions with bikes.

And as it turns out, the secret to happiness could be as simple as commuting by bike.

Maybe the Post’s writers should try it sometime.

.………

Video shows the aftermath of a horrifying, apparently intentional attack in which a driver plowed through the full length of a Critical Mass ride in Porto Allegre, Brazil, injuring over a dozen riders; the vehicle involved was later found abandoned, but no arrest has been made.

The driver reportedly felt threatened because cyclists were banging on his car, yet cyclists report that he was driving aggressively before his attack on the riders.

Here’s a thought: if you feel threatened by cyclists, just turn at the next corner and get away from them. Somehow, watching them bounce off the hood of your car as you drive through several blocks of bikes would seem to weaken that argument just a tad.

But that’s just me.

Meanwhile, posters on a gun forum seem to find it pretty damn funny; then again, they’re posters on a gun forum.

Thanks to Will Campbell for the tip.

.………

In an ironically appropriate crash, a drunk driver smashes into a sober living facility in South L.A.; as long as his SUV is already in one of the bedrooms, he might as well check in.

No word on whether Charlie Sheen was behind the wheel.

.………

Make a trip downtown Wednesday morning to witness Mayor Villaraigosa signing the — hopefully — newly approved bike plan in front of City Hall. Sign up as a Bike Buddy to guide less experienced riders on Bike to Work Day this May; I’m seriously considering it even though my usual commute is from my bedroom to the living room. A reminder about GOOD’s fundraising party to benefit CicLAvia this weekend. Jim Shanman, a founding member of the Culver City Bicycle Coalition, looks at a possible Westside bike share program. Adventures in bike commuting: Matt Ruscigno finds himself with 40 minutes to get five miles to the airport on a broken bike, and makes his flight anyway. Chinatown is catching bike rack measles. Here’s your chance to ride through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Palm Springs police catch a bike burglar after a brief chase. San Diego kicks off a new anti-obesity campaign, including emphasis on safe bike paths and walkways. A grieving father sets off on a cross-country ride to promote awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. A San Jose cyclist is critically injured after losing the hit-and-run lottery; thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up. The North American Handmade Bicycle show moves to Sacramento next year; Cyclelicious has links to coverage of this year’s show in Austin over the weekend. Experience the Amgen Tour of California, without the inconvenience of actually having to ride it.

Biking our way to a better economy. Urban Country eviscerates the argument that bicyclists must obey the law if we want to share the road. A look at Major Taylor, one of the greatest racers of all time, who broke the color barrier in cycling 20 years before Jackie Robinson was conceived. A medical study shows spending on bikeways returns 1.2 to 3.8 times that amount in healthcare savings. Over 3,700 cyclists take on the Chilly Hilly ride on Seattle’s Bainbridge Island. Kansas shoots down a proposed three-foot passing law, while Georgia considers one of their own. Rising numbers of Chicago cyclists points to the need for more protected bikeways. Ohio’s Bike Lawyer Steve Magos says it’s time to criminalize negligent driving; he’s right.

If there really is a war on cars, the cars are winning. A British motorists organization calls for a mandatory helmet law, rather than just asking their members not to hit us. But at least they have the sense to pull an anti-bike rant from one of their columnists and say her services will no long be needed; those Brits are so polite, aren’t they? Edinburgh cyclists create their own DIY map of off-street bike paths, patterned after the famous London Tube map; thanks to Evan Garcia for the links. A look at bike parking in Amsterdam; and to think we’re happy to get a lousy bike rack. Proof that population density has nothing to do with cycling rates. A Sydney paper looks at the rising numbers of video cams on bikes.

Finally, Colorado’s proposed legislation to ban the Blackhawk bike ban failed thanks to the actions of the state’s Republican House Majority Leader; maybe it’s time to point out that cyclists spend a lot of money in her state, which can easily be spent elsewhere.

And a New York legislator proposes hanging a $25 license plate off the back of every bike in the state; and yes, that includes children, evidently. But why stop there? Let’s confront the menace of scofflaw pedestrians by forcing everyone to hang a set of numbers on their ass.

2 comments

  1. [...] the other side of the continent. Los Angeles would love to have Sadik-Khan’s leadership, says Biking in LA in response to New York’s sensationalist press: “So here’s an offer. Los Angeles has [...]

  2. Is it just me or is watching that SUV plow through that group of cyclists akin to watching the World Trade Center crumble? I seriously felt that same sense of tragedy, and that frankly, this is terrorism. Drivers behave like terrorists on the streets. And while there were some people on that Gun Forum who expressed compassion for the people who were hurt, those that laughed and stereotyped all cyclists as “hippy queers” need to be stoned to death. Okay, maybe not stoned to death, but can we at least put them in the stocks and throw tomatos at them?

    I have said before that when people (more than we would like to admits) become drivers they also become psychotic maniacs. Most entirely lose their ability to think clearly and with common sense. They place infinite value on their 30 seconds to 2 minutes that they might be forced to slow down for other road users. They don’t care about safe streets; no, they just want fast streets. And 30,000-40,000 senseless deaths a year is a reasonable price (to them) to pay so they can save 30 seconds.

    I almost picked up my bike and threw it at an SUV this morning that passed me very closely and going 40 miles per hour (on 4th Street and I was on the sharrows). I caught up with him 10 seconds later at a light. He would rather have hurt me or killed me so he could reach an F***ING red light.

    I seriously would prefer the personal automobile to be a thing of the past. I can’t wait for peak oil, and these bozos will be forced to change their ways.

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