Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


A lane for the rest of us

Filed under : New York City
On July 10, 2009
At 5:30 pm
Comments : 2

Earlier today, I responded to a Tweet by the creators of my favorite podcast, NPR’s Planet Money, about why people walk in the bike lanes when there are “perfectly good” sidewalks to walk on. They posted a picture on the associated blog post of Times Square to illustrate it (we have lots and lots of new, green bike lanes here). I already answered them with my opinion but I really needed more than 140 characters. Especially after I had to navigate the Columbus Circle area this afternoon on my way to to Best Buy. (Please don’t think I am a fan of Best Buy, I was buying competitive product from their stock of 20 CD’s).

Around the curve of Columbus Circle near the park, I had to make my way through the following:

1. At least 15 different people holding “Bike Rental” signs. I guess they go along with the bike lanes but they seem to have proliferated overnight into an army. I have no idea if they are all one company or competing places or each one guy with a bicycle, but they are everywhere near the park. One enterprising guy had laid the sign on the sidewalk with 3 bikes “parked” against it. Fabulous.

2. At least 5 different sets of tourists stopped, looking up, looking at maps, snapping pictures, stopping to gawk at an office building and calling it a nice hotel, etc. Bottom line, not moving.

3. A woman with a Fox News mike and her cameraman interviewing a quintessential “man on the street” about the NY Post article featuring a photo of Obama and French president Sarkozy ogling a lady’s fine, fine ass at the G8. It goes without saying that a group had gathered around. Duh, there was a camera!

4. The usual sidewalk vendors of framed pictures of New York, such as a sign that said “Gay St.” (look, says the gay guy, I brought home a picture of a sign that says Gay St!), or John Lennon in his New York shirt next to a photo of the Imagine mosaic in Central Park ($2 with frame).

5. A scene out of the movie Airplane where people from at least three different charitable organizations tried to stop me and ask me for such things as “a moment of my time for the environment.” Also one from a comedy club where the guy actually addressed me by the color of my shirt. What a comedian!

I ask you, dear reader and NPR, where the hell am I supposed to walk?

NPR Planet Money Blog: Why Do People Walk In Bike Lanes?