March 18th, 2019: The Fast and the Flurrious

A little chilly today but not too bad at all:

Monday Weather

Monday A slight chance of flurries before noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 45. Wind chill values between 30 and 40 early. Light and variable wind becoming northwest around 5 mph.

Monday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 31. Southwest wind around 7 mph becoming north after midnight.

Sunrise: 7:03am

Sunset: 7:06pm

Don't even acknowledge the "flurries" part; if we all ignore them maybe they'll go away.

The "Cycling in the City" exhibit is the talk of the town:

Among the show’s other highlights are discussions of bike messengers, particularly in the late 1980s when their numbers reached around 5,000, before technology began to ease demand; the infamous six-day races that took place at a Madison Square Garden velodrome, where cyclists battled exhaustion and hallucinations to see how far they could go on how little sleep (eventually mandating two-man teams); and a digitized bicycling diary from an Upper East Side resident in 1895 who talks about cycling on dates, as well as the time he “ran down an old woman” and the day he “ran a man down,” though thankfully neither were hurt.

That last bit about the reckless cyclist in 1895 sheds a whole new light on the bike lane opposition we've seen on the Upper East Side; it could be that some of the residents remember those incidents firsthand.

It's also good to see our mayor take his rightful place in the cycling firmament:

This past Saturday a vigil for Robert Spencer took place in Long Island City:

Spencer’s brother couldn’t believe there was no protected bike lane on the section of Borden Avenue where his brother was sturck, which local City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer called for a few weeks ago.

Van Bramer said the safety of bike lanes is wildly inconsistent in New York City, “We should not be going block by block, community board vote by community board vote, but instead it taking it city wide , having a comprehensive date-driven, safety-driven approach to the bike lane network.”

In the meantime, as spring approaches, count on consistent enforcement of cyclists on our inconsistent bike network:

Finally, in Austin, SXSW served as sort of a scooter showcase:

Spoiler alert: the real problem is the cars (and the drunken fest-bros):

Changing parking spaces without changing anything else is the kind of "solution" you arrive at when you're optimizing cities for the number of cars you can cram onto its streets. Imagine if we started with an entirely different set of criteria, asking questions like: How can cities make it so people can get from point to point as quickly and inexpensively as possible? How can we ensure that accidents, when they happen, are non-life-threatening? How can we make transportation, the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., dramatically greener, while freeing up enormous amounts of public space in cities where real estate scarcity is driving a historic housing crisis? 

If you started by asking those questions, you'd end up with a city that looked a lot like Austin during SXSW. Only with less drinking, perhaps, and a lot fewer cars. 

Something to consider as New York City ponders legal scooter legality--speaking of which:

Uh-oh, it's a smug-off!

This kind of arguing among people who should agree is what comes of a scarcity mindset.