Monday, April 18, 2011

DOT's Statistical Slight of Hand

What's with the NYC DOT? Well, the answer is the same thing that's with all of the other city agencies that put out phony statistics to "prove" the validity of their policies. The best example of this is the DOH's calorie posting experiment that the city claimed was working to reduce fast food purchases. The facts,as revealed in independent reviews of the policy, were starkly different.

Which gets us to the absurd bike lanes, designed to foist a particular world view on New Yorkers; and doing so by ignoring the negative impact that the policy may have on, let's say, ecoonmic activity.

But, as the NY Post's Steve Cuozzo points out, ideology is bad enough without the resort to dishonest statistical analysis that covers up the fact that the policy is helping very few people. How many it might be hurting is not even a consideration of the DOT (just like the DOH couldn't give a tinker's damn about the calorie poating's impact on fast food outlets).

Here's Cuozzo's take: "The city Department of Transportation is lying through its teeth about an alleged biker boom. Last week, an NYU Furman Center study based on US Census data revealed that far fewer New Yorkers bicycle to work than the city's DOT claims. A flack for the agency "answered" by sneering at the survey's methodology: "We count cyclists, not questionnaires." Sorry: The Post has been counting cyclists too -- and they're far fewer on the ground than DOT pretends."

The DOT's counting acumen is on the level with the old state school tests: " The truth about how many people cycle to their jobs matters because Mayor Bloomberg and DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan are using a supposed increase to justify their crazed campaign to install new bike lanes all over town -- at drivers' and pedestrians' expense. If bike-ridership to work is negligible, what possible rationale can exist for wasting precious city funds to reduce the number of vehicular lanes? And, in the process, hurting stores and restaurants that depend on curbside dropoffs? (And let's not even touch Sadik-Khan's bizarre initiative to stick parking places in the middle of streets.)"

The bike lanes are not only failing to encourage folks to bike to work, they are making traffic much worse: "Fun's fun -- but to recognize the lie of a bicycle "boom," check out Broadway between 47th and 59th Streets, where a virtually unused bike lane and pedestrian mall shrank four auto lanes to two. You've only to be stuck in traffic there -- or on Allen Street downtown heading north, where a similar lane was installed -- to appreciate the DOT's stupidity."

We appreciate DOT's stupidity, but what about the agency's mendacity? Progressives like Sadik-Khan like to make fun of neanderthal right wingers for being anti-science; yet they have no compunction about doing junk science themselves in order to promote their ideology.

And what about hypocrisy? As we have pointed out before, the bike fanatic commssioner is in the mayor's vanguard trying to foist a phony traffic study for Willets Point on the NYSDOT-a development that will choke local roads and highway with massive traffic increases.

What all this means is that we have a city government that believes the end justifies the means. And given the mendacious use of data-from education and health, to traffic and bikes-every city agency should go through its own "means" test.