Karrie Jacobs On New York's Battle of the Bike Lanes and "Roberta Moses"

bike lane new york

Image Credit New York DOT

Karrie Jacobs writes an Anatomy of a Takedown in Metropolis, her take on the vicious coordinated attack on transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who has been so effective at building New York's bike infrastructure.

One critic labelled her "Roberta Moses" after the all-powerful builder of New York highways and bridges, and the bane of Jane Jacobs. Karrie says it is all very unfair.Jacobs writes:

Sadik-Khan's enlightened Department of Transportation was able to accomplish a remarkable thing. She has come tantalizingly close to building--mostly out of strategically placed green paint, white stripes, and signage--the city's first new transportation network since ... well, since Robert Moses built his highways in the early to mid-20th century.

[Writer Michael] Gross, I assume, used the sobriquet "Roberta Moses" as an insult, but I see it as high praise. I don't ride a bicycle daily, but I ride often enough to marvel at how cleverly Sadik-Khan's DOT has stitched together enough bike lanes--some 250 miles so far--to make cycling in New York borderline practical. She has built something stunningly logical, surprisingly monumental, and genuinely new in a city where most commissioners find it hard to simply keep up with potholes. And she had the audacity to do it on a street where people with political clout live. Time for a little comeuppance.

Robert Moses fought battles with everyone from Franklin D Roosevelt in the '20s, until he was finally toppled by Nelson Rockefeller in the '60's. I hope Janette Sadik-Khan lasts as long in the job.

Read the full article in Metropolis
More on Janette Sadik-Khan:
Janette Sadik-Khan: Creating a More Walkable, Bike-Friendly New York City
One New York Bike Lane And The Future Of Cycling Worldwide
World Class Streets Have More Pedestrians, Fewer Cars.
More on Karrie Jacobs:
Quote of the Day: Karrie Jacobs on Parametric Design
Book Review: The Perfect $ 100,000 House

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