City Makes a Calculated Case for Bicycle Lanes

The Bloomberg administration released an unusual two-page communiqué on Monday laying out its arguments for bicycle lanes, the subject of what one magazine has labeled the “newest urban culture war.”

The memo (pdf), written by Howard Wolfson, the city’s deputy mayor in charge of communications and government affairs, uses statistics to demonstrate improved traffic safety and cites community-based support for the lanes, which have sprouted up under the supervision of Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner.

Mr. Wolfson wrote that his memo had been prompted by a cover story in this week’s New York magazine detailing the recent civic controversy, which has now spilled into court after a group of Brooklyn residents filed a lawsuit calling on the city to remove a lane along Prospect Park West.

Some advocates have portrayed bicycle lanes as a way to nudge New Yorkers toward a more progressive, European-influenced version of city life, but Mr. Wolfson’s memo focuses more on concrete safety gains recorded by its traffic engineers.

He wrote, for instance, that injuries to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists typically drop by at least 40 percent and sometimes drop more than 50 percent along streets where physically separated bicycle lanes are installed. The memo notes that the number of bicycle crashes that lead to injuries or deaths has fallen in the last four years, even as cycling’s popularity grows.

The memo also points to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week that found that 54 percent of New Yorkers agreed with a statement that the lanes are a positive development “because it’s greener and healthier for people to ride their bicycles.”

Mr. Wolfson also noted that major bike lanes, like those on Columbus Avenue in Manhattan and Prospect Park West, had been approved by the local community board, and that the Transportation Department has held dozens of public meetings on the projects.

“Bike lanes are part of the city’s future,” Mr. Wolfson said in a telephone interview. “Will these save lives in the next year? You bet.”

Critics of the lanes have lodged a range of complaints, from lost parking spots to increasingly difficult driving conditions, aesthetic problems, and a risk to pedestrians from bicyclists who disobey traffic laws.

Some opponents have also faulted the Transportation Department for withholding or selectively disclosing traffic data related to bike lanes; the Brooklyn lawsuit accuses the city of deceptive practices in installing the lanes.

Our transit reporter, Michael M. Grynbaum, advises you on the latest chatter from the city’s roads and rails. Check back every Monday. Got a tip? He can be reached at [email protected]

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Garment Work in New York 100 Years After the Triangle Fire

A century after 146 garment workers died in a fire at the Triangle shirtwaist factory, new immigrants still try to sew their way to the American dream.  But these days, especially in New York, garment work is hard to come by.  Safe working conditions and living wages in unionized factories are a legacy of the Triangle fire, but in other factories, day laborers from Latin America say they are treated poorly, paid less than minimum wage, or not paid at all.  That is, if they can find work.

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Leaking Pipes? Call The Plumbing Experts

Leaking pipes and faucets apart from creating a lot of mess can also prove to be a big nuisance. Water has the potential to damage the interiors of your home and has the ability to ruin an entire room. That is why it is extremely foolish to overlook a clogged sink or a leaky faucet for a long period of time. You should get on to the act immediately and call the professional plumbing experts. There are a lot of benefits of hiring professional plumbers and some of them have been discussed below.

Though plumbing is an essential constituent of good homemaking, it is often the most neglected. A lot of people think that hiring professional plumbers is nothing but wastage of precious time and money. This is certainly not the truth. If you are one of those people who run towards the nearest plunger the moment you come across a clogged toilet, there are a few things that you need to put into perspective here. You have to understand that your efforts with the plunger might solve your problem for the time being but it will certainly not be a permanent solution. Acting as your own plumber can be okay provided you know what exactly you are doing but otherwise, it is not a very wise step to take. The professional plumbing experts on the other hand have a lot of knowhow regarding the subject and are well trained at their job. Thanks to their expertise, they will be able to identify the root of the problem and go ahead with the required repairs accordingly. The professional plumbers are also well equipped with advanced technology tools to help them work in an efficient manner.

Overlooking a leaking faucet or an overflowing cistern for a long time can be extremely detrimental for the health and well being of your residence. Imagine the amount of money that you might end up spending in the repairs and replacement of the ruined furniture and interiors. If that seems scary enough, then you will perhaps agree to the fact that the plumbers enable you to save a lot of money in the process.

Before hiring the services of professionals who have expertise in the area of plumbing, Lakewood residents need to make sure that the professional in question has a valid license as only registered plumbers will be able to do a good job.

For services related to plumbing Lakewood, residents trust A-1 Performance Rooter & Plumbing. They provide efficient plumbers at affordable costs.

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State Senator Receives 3 Years’ Probation

State Senator Kevin S. Parker, who faced as much as two years in prison for his role in attacking a photographer from The New York Post, was sentenced to three years’ probation in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn on Monday.

Prosecutors had sought to put Mr. Parker behind bars for 30 days, followed by 30 days of supervised release.

A lawyer for Mr. Parker, Lonnie Hart, had filed papers asking the judge to set aside the verdict, dismiss the indictment and delay sentencing pending an appeal. “This entire prosecution has been about politics,” he said to Justice Neil J. Firetog, as he asked for a conditional discharge.

Justice Firetog then issued a sentence of three years’ probation. He also ordered that Mr. Parker, who chose not to speak during the proceeding, pay $672 in damages to The New York Post and a $1,000 fine.

Mr. Parker, a Brooklyn Democrat, was arrested in May 2009 after a confrontation with the photographer, William C. Lopez, who had been assigned to take photos of him. The senator was initially charged with felony assault, but was found guilty on two misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief.

It is unclear if the sentencing would have any immediate effect on Mr. Parker’s status as a state senator; a felony conviction would have resulted in expulsion. After the sentencing, the judge issued an order of protection against Mr. Parker on Mr. Lopez’s behalf.

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That De Niro Look, Captured in Charcoal and Pastels

The look could be one of befuddlement or disgust. Or maybe of resignation or amusement.

Either way, it is a look you know you’ve seen, one that has made you laugh, made you think, or just plain freaked you out.

It is classic De Niro.

This particular image of Robert De Niro is not in the flesh or digitized, but of pastels and charcoal, and made to memorialize his latest performance — in State Supreme Court in Manhattan last week.

Mr. De Niro was testifying in the trial of a former art gallery director accused of stealing from the estate of Mr. De Niro’s father, who was a figurative and abstract painter.

The courtroom sketch, by Jane Rosenberg, seems fitting of the De Niro persona — distinctly him, yet ambiguous enough in expression to match any of the myriad roles he has brought to bear.

Though Mr. De Niro’s beard in the sketch is thicker than it actually was, the likeness is remarkably accurate, or at least more so than those of the other three people depicted. But their presence is peripheral, as was the substance of Mr. De Niro’s testimony.

Still, his performance was crucial, at least as far as the courtroom spectators, who were seeking some entertainment, were concerned.

Mr. De Niro delivered just that, with a few good one-liners here and there. Everyone, even the judge, got in a laugh. The sketch may as well have come with a blank word bubble to fill in your punch line of choice.

“It sounds good, I don’t know, in theory.”

“I don’t know where you’re going.”

“That, I have an issue with.”

In the hallway outside the courtroom, Mr. De Niro punctuated his courthouse cameo with a groan, as a photographer called his name. Photos were snapped. But only the sketch captured the scene inside the courtroom.

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