It’s UN General Assembly time again, folks, and you know what that means:
- In a large swath of Manhattan (basically: 60th to 23rd, Park Av to the East River), all traffic is at a standstill almost all day. If you have a heart attack, don’t expect to live long enough to get to the hospital. At the same time, drivers are even more angry, put-upon, and self-righteous than usual, because as always they feel like everything is About Them.
- All traffic safety regulations are effectively suspended throughout the city, including: crosswalk spillback, bike lane driving, box blocking, honking, and generally driving like an asshole. You’d think the massive police presence would mean better behavior, but given that the NYPD do not think dangerous driving is their problem, that is not the case.
- The NYPD are even more hostile to people on bicycles than usual, with explicit posted and publicized “no stopping including bicycles” covering dozens of square blocks. Last night I saw an officer snarl “move along” to a bicycle rider who stopped short on 1 Av so he wouldn’t be literally run over and killed. They don’t care if you die, folks.
The upside, though, is that this week a bicycle is by far the fastest way to move around Midtown above ground, especially if you can stick to the protected lane network. This is often true, but the size of the speed gap this week is astonishing. And a bright spot: for the first time, temporary 1 Av and 2 Av bike lanes are being set up, which are even safer than the usual ones thanks to parking restrictions (and to routing the 1 Av lane through the tunnel).
Stay safe, despite the odds against you!