Friday Afternoon Conspiracy: Union Square ‘Improvements’ Could Kill People

union square bike lanes Friday Afternoon Conspiracy: Union Square Improvements Could Kill PeopleFrom the Real Estate Desk’s perch atop Observer HQ, there’s a pretty good view of the city. You can see just about everything, and not much escapes the Desk’s roving pink eye. Here-in is a weekly wrap of what we’ve seen, connecting the 8 million dots so you don’t have to.

On Monday, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan spent an hour with Nancy Gruskin, whose husband had been killed by a “reckless bicyclist.” The cause of death was unclear, as was the response from the city: A form letter addressed to Gruskin’ dead husband, Stuart, signed by Sadik-Kahn. Eventually Gruskin got to share her feelings with the Transpo Commish. Among her requests was that the department begin tracking the number of bike-on-pedestrian accidents and fatalities, a statistic not currently collected. But her ultimate point was that the city is maybe a little too top gear in its embrace of the bicycle.

On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg gave a speech to the Clinton Global Initiative about his foundation’s efforts to curb traffic fatalities. As the mayor pointed out, there are currently 1.2 million people killed on the road a year, more than the population of Dallas. With those numbers steadily on the rise, particularly in the developing world, traffic fatalities are on pace to surpass HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and lung cancer as the fifth deadliest thing on the planet by 2030.

On Wednesday, Sadik-Khan came to Union Square to inaugurate the latest re-engineering of Broadway, with more seating and different traffic patterns, and–you guessed it–more bike lanes.

UPDATE: One more. On Thursday, blogger Felix Salmon noticed a baby in its basket blocking one such bike lane on Grand Street in Chinatown.

mchaban [at] observer.com / @mc_nyo