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NYC’s Summer Streets: Not Just for Spandex Wearing Hippies

9:39 AM PDT on August 25, 2009

(editor's note: The idea of opening streets to bicyclists and pedestrians by closing them to vehicular traffic for temporary car-free parties has become such a mainstream idea in places such as New York and San Francisco that even Fox News is joining in on the fun.  Head's up Mayor Villaraigosa!  Below is NYC Streetsblog's Brad Aaron's coverage of the coverage is below.)

How much of a non-event was this year's Summer Streets in terms of media critique? In this Fox News piece, via Crooks and Liars,
the story isn't traffic tie-ups or wacky spandex-clad elitists or
howling business owners, but the fact that more everyday New Yorkers
are taking to the streets on two wheels. Summer Streets, it seems, has
become a mainstream event in just its second year. Reported the Downtown Express at the beginning of August:

"Ithought last year it was going to cause havoc in the community," saidJohn Fratta, chairperson of Community Board 1's Seaport/Civic CenterCommittee. "For the most part I was pretty pleased. It was a niceevent." He said he supports the event this year.

The Fox segment does refer to the questionable Hunter College study on unsafe cyclist behavior (without acknowledging more revealing data on the causes of bike-car collisions),
and there's a completely unsupported ticker squib that attributes
complaints over spending on bike infrastructure to unnamed "critics."
But these feel like token attempts to "balance" an otherwise positive
story.

Who knows, maybe in a year or two even Steve Cuozzo will have to re-read his old columns to remember what he hated so much about car-free Times Square.

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