Gnashing my teeth
I hold my breath every time I read a ‘special editorial’ by former JP Gazette Editor Sandra Story – wondering whether I will cheer or gnash my teeth. I am gnashing today at her claim that bicycling has “limited” climate benefits (Dec 17 edition – ‘Bike transport is great, but climate benefits from expansion are limited’). In her writing, Ms Story, repeating tired myths about bicycling, reminds me of the angry motorist that yelled – while I was campaigning – from a blocked intersection at Forest Hills, that he would vote for Mayor Wu if she ripped out the bicycle lane on the Arborway. He was ignoring the fact that he was helping to create the congestion and delay problem, which is something I have noted in Ms. Story’s previous columns about traffic problems. Our addiction to private, CO2 spewing, congestion creating and injury/death causing vehicles is a 20th century habit that has no place in a rapidly heating world. As for her observation that the Danes are able to bicycle year round due to milder weather I invite her to consider the Dutch who endure some of the strongest winds (in damp cold) yet bicycle more than any other country. As a decades-long year-round cyclist (whose lungs are healthier than those of drivers sitting in cars) I can attest that the comfortable riding season is getting longer and longer in large part due to our dysfunctional transportation system. And as for her claim that only the young have the physical ability to bicycle for regular transportation I invite her to try an electric bicycle, which increasing numbers of people are using to haul groceries and children. I wonder if Ms Story’s sorry diatribe was an attempt to preempt the heartening story that followed about Mayor Wu’s appointment of JP resident and bicyclist, Jascha Franklin-Hodge, as Chief of Streets.