Bike Lane Economic Debate Rages

Sunday, March 13, 2011 - 01:39 PM

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)   The economic blogs are aflame with a debate prompted by a John Cassidy item in the New Yorker on why he thinks bike lanes are "a classic case of regulatory capture by a small faddist minority intent on foisting its bipedalist views on a disinterested or actively reluctant populace."

That prompted this from Reuters Felix Salmon:

"On top of that, every driver who decides to bicycle on one of the new lanes is one less driver for Cassidy to compete with in crosstown gridlock. By rights, he should be loving the way that bike lanes are reducing the number of cars on the road, rather than railing against them. But for all that he claims to be “wonky” in this post, it’s clear that he’s much more interested in coming up with any conceivable justification for his already-existing prejudices than he is in dispassionate analysis. The fact is, it’s the bicyclists who have all the data on their side. The car lobby just has inchoate rants."

And this from The Economist:

"When Mr Cassidy drives, he imposes a small congestion cost on those around him, drivers and cyclists included. Because he and others do not consider this cost, they overuse the roads, creating traffic. Mayor Michael Bloomberg had hoped to address this problem by adopting a congestion pricing programme in Manhattan, but he was unable to generate the necessary support. As a result, there are too many cars on New York's streets. From an economic perspective."

Oh, by the way, we did this story for Marketplace back in December.

So, (warning: Department of shameless self promotion!) if you want to know what everyone else will be talking about in a month, you should be reading Transportation Nation today!

And, need we remind you, we first had the interview with Marty Markowitz a year ago on this subject.

And, of course, we broke the story of the Prospect Park West bike lane law suit.

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Comments [3]


Re: Brian Lehrer program discussion with deputy mayor Howard Wilson. Mr. Wilson kept insisting that many community boards support the bike lanes. I was at CBd #7's meeting (for another issue) when bike lanes were discussed. While the meeting was packed with bike lane supporters, I now wonder how many bike this area. There should be a record of attendees names and addresses at the board (if they keep them!). I've yet to see all those people riding down Columbus Avenue; as far as I can tell, it is mostly (and not often) used for restaurant bike deliveries.

Mar. 24 2011 11:28 AM

I am pro bike lanes where they are needed and used, and for reducing pollution in the NYC area.
Last year bike lanes were built south on Columbus Ave. (UWS) from 96th St. to 81st.
I have yet to see these used by any vast amount of bike riders; if I see three a day it's a lot. Was any study done on where these lanes were most needed? Is anyone monitoring how much (little) they are used? I bemoan the loss of parking space for people who cannot afford a garage, who are disabled, and need a car for work.

Mar. 14 2011 12:45 PM
chris mcnally

whenever someone says 'its so hard to find parking' you should finish it with, "that's your fault. Either you will have to convince your neighbors to get rid of their cars for your benefit, or you should instead give up your car to provide more space, and less traffic, for them." If we provide free parking, then everyone will want to own a car. and yes it will be hard to find parking.

Mar. 13 2011 04:41 PM

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