Yesterday was my blog’s second birthday! Woohoo! At least I remembered this one.
I had grand plans to write some sort of introspective retrospective on what I’ve learned over the past two years, and how my blog has grown (or perhaps just meandered?) since that fateful day I cut up a bunch of index cards and threw them into a hat and pulled one out.
But first, I had plans to meet a friend at Prospect Perk a few blocks from my apartment, just across Flatbush Avenue on Sterling Place in Prospect Heights. As I crossed said thoroughfare, I took note of the traffic issues then occurring, and of course offered my unsolicited opinion on Twitter.
The city should build an app to report box-blockers. Better traffic-flow and more revenue. pic.twitter.com/OvIeCmwmUT
— Keith Williams (@TheWeeklyNabe) March 11, 2014
I actually really like this intersection. In 2012, DOT installed some of the biggest neckdowns in the city on two corners, returning a huge amount of space to pedestrians. Now, the intersection looks something like this:
I had arrived a few minutes early, and as I waited, I watched the box-blocking continue for a few light cycles. On perhaps the fifth green light for the one-way Sterling Place, the lead vehicle wanted to go straight but could not, owing to the impatience of several southbound Flatbush drivers.
On his right was a cyclist, also looking to continue on Sterling Place; behind him was a dollar van aiming to turn right. Within milliseconds, the van’s captain was on his multi-tone horn, signaling his discontent with the delay.
This is where things got ugly. The cyclist continued through, cautiously. The lead vehicle pulled up a bit, trying to allow the van to turn behind him. But in the meantime, the van’s driver laid on the gas, swerving to the car’s left and cutting in front of him in an attempt to head north.
There’s nothing scarier than seeing a large vehicle wobble due to the sheer physics of making a sudden change in direction like this – until, of course, you hear the crunch of metal on metal, fender hitting bicycle.
Owing to several drivers’ passive impatience (what purpose is there to blocking the box?) and to the “expert skills” of another, an innocent cyclist was down a frame. She’s lucky it wasn’t much more – and through no fault of her own, of course.
Some words were exchanged, and the van pulled over. Here’s the cyclist reviewing the damage, and probably counting her stars.
This NYPD truck was stationed in the crosswalk, and its occupants saw the whole thing. One came over and spoke with the van’s driver, and (I believe) gave him a ticket. I suppose this is one instance when I’m ok with a driverless vehicle parked in the middle of the street.
Again, had this taken a turn for the worse, what would have been the story? Would the press have covered it as an “accident”?