Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Playing "Knuckles" With the Daily News

For those of who who have ever played "knuckles" you know it can be really painful at times-but not as painful, in our view, as reading the "Knucklehead Awards" from the NY Daily News. The paper's latest effort at buffoonery is directed at CM Eric Ulich who had the effrontery to suggest that it was time that the city cracked down on out of control, cyclists.

The News calls this suggestion, "silly," and goes on to say: "We're sorry to report that forcing bicyclists, as we said in 2004, "to get licenses for a legal activity, and, of course, pay a nice fee for the privilege, and, of course, build a bureaucracy to keep track of the paperwork" is just dumb. It is also part and parcel with a feeling, epidemic among lawmakers, that the Council can legislate away every inconvenience."

Of course, a little context here would be helpful-and the News, providing none, misses the rising anger out in the nabes over the uncontrolled bicycle phenomenon. As Ulrich told the NY Post: "Ulrich says that many of his constituents are seniors and that "people on bicycles scare the hell out of them. Sometimes they can be an intimidating presence on the city streets."

The larger context, however, is the effort by the city's ditsy DOT commissioner, Sadik-Khan, to shove bicycle lanes down every neighborhoods throat in order to replicate the ambiance of, let's say, Copenhagen. The Post has more on this stupidity: "Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said creating a more bike-friendly city means fewer cars on the road, safer streets and more New Yorkers engaged in healthy activity. But some residents said they feel their streets have been invaded. “What has been created is nothing less than a nightmare,” said Brooklyn resident Lois Carswell, who lives on a main thoroughfare in Brooklyn where a two-way bike lane has drawn heated debate since its recent installation."

So, in our view, this is a serious policy issue-and the true knucklehead is Sadik-Khan, along with her boss, who wants to change the way the city commutes without the benefit of either legislation or environmental oversight, And the commissioner is a flat out hypocrite at the same time. When Willets Point United demonstrated that the traffic studies for that development severely underestimated the number of car and truck trips a day-and NYS DOT responded appropriately with some caution-the Sadik fired off threatening messages to the state for slowing down the one project that will generate massive auto and truck trips on the city's local roads and highways.

In this two-faced attitude, she joins with Knucklehead Bloomberg who is foisting auto-dependent malls on neighborhoods all over the city-and is now fronting for Walmart as well, the ultimate auto-dependent retailer. Put simply, Bloomberg's malling of the city has done more to undermine the notion of sustainability that any crack pot bicycle lane scheme can hope to remedy. And CM Ulrich is a knucklehead? Try the News editorialists and the mayor their covering up for-they are the ones that deserve a hard rap on the knuckles.