"You’ve built 83 miles of protected bike lanes, okay. And I like bikes, I like people who ride, but I don’t think you understand the impact of taking something like 10th Avenue, which is six lanes down to two-and-a-half, particularly when you have a winter storm and you can’t move—none of that is movable. So you can’t get—nothing flows."
Aargh. For all the progress New York, and indeed, America, is making towards accepting livable streets as a goal worth pursuing, something new comes along to mess it all up again — in some cases, by people who should know better!
Recently, the city had prepared to shut down a major subway tunnel in desperate need of repairs for fifteen months — a plan that has now been put on hold by the governor — but there have also been contingency plans for serving the displaced subway riders in which several streets would be rearranged to accommodate bike lanes and faster buses.
A lawyer representing a coterie of limousine liberals has led a vocal opposition to these plans, despite his credentials as a "progressive."
Now this: another alleged progressive speaks out against measures — bike and bus lanes as a means towards social and economic justice — every left-winger should be applauding. (Whoopi's current solution: movable bike lanes.)
But I don't want to get too political here. Instead, I'll counter Whoopi's uninformed remarks with opposing testimonies from other TV and movie stars, since no one will listen to you in this country unless you're famous, it seems:
"I was pretty fast on the bike... I actually had fun on the bike." - Jennifer Aniston
"...thank you for the many of you who wanted to follow me [online]... I totally get inspiration from all of you when I get on that bike." - Hugh Jackman
"...There's a certain amount of freedom involved in cycling: you're self-propelled and decide exactly where to go." - David Byrne, who wrote a book about biking
"Jennifer and I mix it up. We like to lift, and we enjoy bike riding." - Alex Rodriguez on himself and Jennifer Lopez
"...cycling is freedom. It's fun. It's community. It recharges your soul." - Patrick Dempsey, who hosts a bike run
And if you're still unconvinced about the benefits of bike riding, take it from me: give it a try, just once. You don't need to wear spandex, you don't need some fancy, tricked out two-wheeler like they use in the Tour de France, and if you're careful, you don't even need a helmet. You might see the world in a whole new way.