Fighting Cancer

The New York Post likened the expansion of bike lanes to a cancer the other day in an editorial by Steve Cuozzo. Normally I ignore such diatribes, but Christopher Robbins responds with brilliat snark at the Gothamist.

If “giant painted arrows” and potted plants confuse you, perhaps you shouldn’t be operating a motor vehicle. And didn’t Cuozzo’s own newspaper publish a story about how bike lanes and pedestrian plazas actually boost local businesses? Maybe if everyone traveled in a mobile sensory deprivation tank like Cuozzo, we’d learn to appreciate the austerity of New York City’s streets through the bulletproof tint of ignorance.

As satisfying as Robbins’ response to anti-bike-lane NIMBYs might be, Cap’n Transit suggests we should listen to their concerns.

Yes, it’s a bad idea to ignore NIMBY opposition. This is Bob Moses thinking, and it was wrong when he did it. On the other hand, it’s also wrong to simply accept NIMBY claims.

Seriously, how many NIMBY Predictions of Doom have you heard? Things that made absolutely no sense? But when you looked in the person’s eyes as they stood at the mic in the community center, you knew that they really believed that removing two parking spaces would lead to gridlock, chaos and honking twenty-four hours a day. And then the two parking spaces were removed, and there was no increase in gridlock, chaos or honking, but the person has never admitted that they were wrong. Somebody, somewhere should make a catalog of these crazy predictions.

We should listen to NIMBYs, not because that’s how you get things done, but because they’re people. People deserve respect, and one of the best ways to show respect is by listening. But listening and acknowledgment do not necessarily mean acceptance or agreement. We need to listen skeptically.

Speaking of cancer, many of you already know that Ezra of Fast Boy Cycles recently received some bad news about his rectal cancer. I love his indomitable spirit, but you can feel the pain and disappointment reflected from the words on his pages.

H/T to Jinny Jin Jin for the Gothamist piece.

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