Sunday, May 8, 2011

Inhuman Trafficing

The NY Post comments today on the duplicity of the NYC DOT in regards to the traffic impact of all of its anti-car experiments:

"In a City Council Transportation Committee hearing last week, Chairman James Vacca got Department of Transportation officials to admit that they have no real clue as to the full impact pedestrian plazas are having on surrounding streets. The plazas — such as those at Times and Herald squares — seem second only to bike lanes on Department of Transportation chief Janette Sadik-Khan’s anti-automobile agenda.The eventual goal is to have at least one plaza in every one of the city’s 59 community boards. Fourteen are in the planning stages — at the “request” of locals boards, so the DOT says."

Before we get into the breathtaking hypocrisy of Sadik-Khan's efforts to supposedly reduce the city's carbon footprint by eliminating as much vehicular traffic as possible, let's examine the agency's data veracity:

"DOT officials assert that traffic flow at Times and Herald squares has increased efficiency since the plazas were installed two years ago. The city also insists that local air quality is improved. But why believe them? The agency’s data on this issue, as well as bike lanes, have proven questionable at best — undermined even by its own numbers, to say nothing of independent studies."

What gets us is that all of these officials-from the mayor on down-claim to be data driven; and then they proceed to cook the books by releasing self serving statistics that can't hold up to any independent review. Sound familiar?

It's the same phenomenon over at Willets Point-with a shoes on the other foot quality. There EDC is pushing forward with an Environmental Assessment of ramps to the Van Wyck that is nothing short of a giant Con-with the development agency relying on political muscle instead of science to bogart the state and federal regulators.

Put simply, the EDC traffic mavens have not proffered any new data that would diminish or debunk WPU's original put down of the first fraudulent traffic analysis that the agency submitted to SDOT all the way back in 2009! Back then the state was on the verge of rubber stamping the report until WPU intervened. A year and a half later, SDOT is once again looking like it's going back to its original craven posture in spite of all of the solid contradictory data that demonstrates the chaos that will ensue if the ramps are built.

But let's get back to the blatancy of Sadik-Khan's hypocrisy. First, here's Michael Goodwin's take on the City Council hearing:

"It's taken a while, but a city councilman nails the problem with street plazas. James Vacca, a Bronx Democrat, gets to the heart of complaints when he asks, "How do we make sure that we're not just shifting and diverting traffic and that the problem we had in one spot moves to another?" City officials don't have a good answer because they don't care about cars and delivery trucks. In a perverse way, they see congestion as their friend because, they hope, it will encourage people to give up driving. What it actually does is encourage people to give up on the city."

Yet this same bicycle helmet for brains commissioner is cited as the bad cop brow beater of SDOT. For what, you may ask? For not expediting the project (by ignoring contradictory data) that will generate 80,000 cars trips a day onto the Van Wyck and all of the local streets surrounding the proposed Willets Point development.

What links all of this? The city's reliance on fraudulent stats to promote nay and all of its projects. Whether its car reduction or car promotion, the one thing you can rely on with the Bloomberg crew is unreliable numbers-often intentionally so.

We'll conclude with an observation made by the Post about this chronic unreliability. The paper's reference to pedestrian plazas can easily be transposed to the Willets Point ramps:

"Vacca wants the DOT to produce real data of the spillover effect for every community board where a pedestrian plaza is to be installed. Hope he’s not holding his breath; he’ll turn bright blue before the city coughs up the data. And should it ever do so, he’d do well to double-check every tittle and jot."