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Today, there's a fascinating Op-Ed by Robert Sullivan about the state of NYC streets. Titled, "The City That Never Walks," Sullivan describes how NYC has "lost [its] golden pedestrian touch."

...yet, here in New York, we even have the debate over bicycle traffic backwards. We focus on drivers’ complaints about the bicycle commuter who races through red lights, rather than on the concerns of the mother biking her child around organic-food delivery trucks that idle in bike-only lanes. In December, the police say, a bicyclist was killed on the Hudson River Greenway by a drunken driver speeding along a bike lane that was completely separated from the road. Asked what was being done to improve safety in light of the biker’s death, Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested that bikers “pay attention.”

“Even if they’re in the right, they are the lightweights,” he told a reporter.

Contrast this response with that of Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago after a 4-year-old pedestrian was killed in a hit and run. Mayor Daley immediately set up a pedestrian awareness program, suggested that police sting operations arrest speeding drivers and proposed to add 500 miles of bike lanes, so that there would be one within a half-mile of every resident.

Can you imagine Mayor Bloomberg proposing that officials go undercover to bust bad drivers?

There's also an interesting observation that as NYC has become "the new suburb," families have "brought with them a love of cars." What's particularly damning is that cities like Boulder, Baltimore, Boston, Sacramento, San Diego, Denver, Dallas, Portland, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Grand Rapids seem to be more committed to being pedestrian-friendly than the Big Apple. We hope someone at City Hall read this op-ed - pedestrians and bikers are constantly considered second class citizens. Sure, vehicles are necessary to many business and people, but we have a feeling that a lot of them are just traveling a couple blocks.

What do you think of the op-ed? And Streetsblog annotated the article.

Photograph by dogseat on Flickr