I’m ambivalent about bike snob, but he has an awesome take-down of Dan Cassidy’s rant against bike lanes. Cassidy, the completely inept and lazy “Economics Contributor” to The New Yorker, wrote a column (and an update) complaining about how he thinks bike lanes are infringing on his right to drive from Brooklyn to Manhattan and park for free. The column is completely data free, and his editor should be embarrassed. He makes lots of claims:
But from an economic perspective I also question whether the blanketing of the city with bike lanes—more than two hundred miles in the past three years—meets an objective cost-benefit criterion. Beyond a certain point, given the limited number of bicyclists in the city, the benefits of extra bike lanes must run into diminishing returns, and the costs to motorists (and pedestrians) of implementing the policies must increase. Have we reached that point? I would say so.
Hey, economics reporter! Just because you say something doesn’t make it a fact! Why don’t you get off your couch or chair and go do some real reporting? Go find out how much the city has spent on bike lanes. (“All of the current DOT’s bike projects [from 2007 until now] combined have cost a total of $8.8 million, including analysis, design, outreach, and construction, Sadik-Khan said. When you factor in the 80 percent federal match, the city has spent less than $2 million from its own coffers on the major expansions to the bike network we’ve seen the last few years.” From Streetsblog. Oh, and by the way, just this winter the city has spent $2 million on pothole repairs.) Go find out how much congestion costs New Yorkers. Go do some work.
In fact, the city has done some reporting, and published this PDF about effects of the Prospect Park bike lane. And look! A nice man interpreted that data for you and make charts and used clear, easy-to-read fonts. Why doesn’t Dan Cassidy read this data? Why doesn’t he analyze it?
Oh right! He believes, without any evidence, that the city is fudging the data. “In her [Iris Weinshall] lawsuit, according to the Times, she is promising to expose the cozy relationship between officials and bike activists as well the dubious statistics that the city uses to justify its policies.” Mr. Cassidy, go find your own data! Go outside and count the number of cars and bikes on Prospect Park West. Count the accidents. Get a radar gun and count the speeders. Just go do something! Stop primping yourself in Versailles, and go measure something.