Yes, the city continues to add bike lanes:Cmsr Trottenberg tries out one of our new bobcats with broom attachment - perfect for clearing the #ManhattanBridge #bikenyc path! #stella pic.twitter.com/EQVJMMbR8r— NYC DOT (@NYC_DOT) March 14, 2017
And, while it's still something of a hit-or-miss affair, the DOT continues to get better about plowing them. In fact, we're at an awkward point now where the cyclists have it better than the pedestrians. See, what happens when it snows is that the DOT works assiduously to plow the streets for motorists. (And, to a lesser, cyclists.) This creates a massive wall of snow along the curb...which they just leave there, even if it's blocking a bus stop or a crosswalk. And while property owners are responsible for clearing the sidewalks in front of their buildings, that's more or less where keeping the city walkable in a snowstorm ends. The upshot of all of this is that you have to climb a fucking mountain just to cross the street:Now you can #bikenyc from Brooklyn to the Bronx on 9 miles of protected bike lanes! Thanks @NYC_DOT! 🚲 See it on https://t.co/AS6LztFQzS pic.twitter.com/tJGOGYrs7S— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) March 4, 2017
In a city ruled by common sense instead of the admonition to "Be careful out there!" this tweet would read "Hey DOT, clear the fucking crosswalks!" However, sadly the automobile still holds more sway over the city than common sense. This is especially frustrating when you consider that in a snowstorm drivers should be the very last consideration. Driving during a snowstorm is a bad decision, and the city should not encourage it, because the typical motorist is completely inept in this regard. To wit:Be careful out there! Ridges of snow and ice may make crossing streets hazardous today, as @MHerzenberg demonstrates. pic.twitter.com/JTY3hGHlXj— Spectrum News NY1 (@NY1) March 15, 2017
I will post that video until the end of time because it articulates the relationship Americans have with cars better than perhaps anything else I've ever seen--and I say this as someone who has the use of a motor vehicle that is owned by a bank until I finish paying them back for it. Really, this video has everything, included but not limited to:
--"American" car ostensibly with all-terrain capability;
--Driver completely unable to utilize this all-terrain capability due to his complete ignorance with regard to the nature of traction and gravity;
--Grown man throwing an obscenity-laden temper tantrum in front of a private residence in clear view and earshot of children.
Yes, it's quite satisfying to see someone's faith in their lavish purchase get completely shattered, though it's horrifying to consider this represents the state of mind of many of the drivers with whom you "share" the road.
Nevertheless, despite this widespread ineptitude, drivers are implicitly encouraged to venture out into the snow they're too stupid to drive in because the city starts plowing the second the first snowflake hits the pavement. Meanwhile, if you want to simply walk across the street for a sandwich because you've been inside all day watching "Sex and the City," drinking brandy, and painting your nails (at least that's what I was doing) you've got to clamber over a hip-deep mountain of snow. And sure, of course I realize the streets need to be clear so emergency vehicles can respond to people keeling over while shoveling:
Some patients have been hit, accidentally, by shovels. Others have back strains, muscle aches or neck pain from lifting them and twisting. Occasionally, people coming in with chest pain and dizziness are having heart attacks.
“When we’re shoveling snow — especially when the snow is wet — it tends to be a lot heavier, equivalent to lifting hundreds of pounds of weight, potentially,” Dr. Shih said. “A lot of people who are shoveling snow may not be used to the amount of exercise that’s needed and tend not to lift the right way, so they end up hurting themselves.”
1) Ironically, many of these people are probably digging out the very SUVs that have rendered them sedentary and physically unfit in the first place;
2) Always wear a helmet while shoveling:
Oh, and if you're a total Shovel Fred, be sure to get one made from crabon:
Anyway, all of this is a very roundabout and disingenuous way of masking a highly personal complaint as concern for public safety, because yesterday while digging out my Porsche Cayenne my $2,000 crabon snow shovel snapped:
No, what really happened was that these mountains of snow along the curb affected me yesterday, and that's when I start to take something seriously. See, the weather started easing up late in the day, so we ventured out for some family-style dining. Above-ground subway service had been suspended, but was about to return, and I'm assuming NY1 was there to capture the triumphant moment when Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton boarded the first train of the day:
As for us, we prepared to board an approaching bus instead, but were very nearly prevented from doing so by the aforementioned mountains of plowed snow on the curb. Eventually we did find a furrow and were able to get on the bus, only to find that the diner as well as three (3) separate corporate dining chains were closed due to the storm. (That a diner would close for any reason is unthinkable, but I'm here to tell you that it happened.) Fortunately we were able to dine quite lavishly at a local alehouse boasting a mind-boggling array of beers, thus fortifying ourselves for the return bus trip. Alas, when de-bussing, we were yet again confronted with a wall of snow along the curb extending for miles in either direction. Had I been unladen I might have simply walked over it, but upon summiting the mountain the additional weight of the two year-old in my arms caused me to fall through the crust at least my knees, filling my boots with snow and my soul with disdain for a city that refuses to accommodate bipeds. This was not only annoying for me, but it also made me appreciate how difficult the streets are for people who are not mighty strapping specimens of humanity with bulging beer muscles such as myself, and how they're rendered basically immobile because nobody can be bothered to clear the fucking crosswalk for them.
And there you go.
Or, to put it far more succinctly, the city should ban private cars during snow emergencies and not allow them again until all pedestrian crossings and bus stops have been cleared.
Though I suppose that wouldn't help because once everything has been cleared and the drivers dig themselves out they just fuck everything up again by throwing the snow all over the place. Also, they get an additional 5' of latitude in every direction when it comes to parking:
And then it will be spring, and nobody will care anyway.
Alas, perhaps one day we'll be as respected as tractors are:
We can only hope.