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Safety first! Prospect Park West bike lane working

The Brooklyn Paper
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Accidents have plummeted dramatically since the installation of the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane in the spring, new city data reveals.

The statistics, part of a study to be released by the Department of Transportation tonight to Community Board 6, compares post-lane data to police accident data for the average of three prior years (2007-2009) between July 1 and Dec. 31. It found:

• Crashes are down from an average of 30 in six months to 25, or 16 percent.

• Crashes that cause injuries are down from 5.3 in six months to two, a whopping 63-percent drop.

• Before the project, a crash was twice as likely to include an injury.

• Injuries to all street users dropped 21 percent.

The data also found that since the lane was installed last June, there have been no reported pedestrian injuries and no pedestrian or cyclist injuries from pedestrian-bike crashes.

The agency cheered its latest findings, which could be the final push needed to make the pilot program permanent.

“Projects don’t get much better than this — speeding is down, crashes are down, injuries are down and bike ridership has doubled on weekdays and increased even more on weekends,” said agency spokesman Seth Solomonow. “The project has clearly delivered the benefits sought by the community.”

The city said it would be adding more safety measures to the protected two-way bike lane, including raised, tinted landscaped pedestrian islands, “rumble strip” bike markings at intersections, and a narrowing of the buffer between Union Street and Montgomery Place.

The latest data bolster two previous studies released by the city, one in October, which claimed car traffic along the grand roadway has slowed, while bike usage has soared since the construction of the lane — designed to calm traffic and encourage cycling.

And in December, the city found that drivers are not speeding as much as they did absent the lane.

Supporters said the new numbers make the lane’s permanency a no-brainer.

“Now we know that car accidents are down, so yes, I believe it should be made permanent,” said Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), whose own survey last year found broad support for the lane.

Critics such as Borough President Markowitz charge the lane slows traffic and is an aesthetic affront to the grandeur of Prospect Park West and is part of an “anti-car” agenda by the city.

The survey will be presented tonight to Community Board 6 at its monthly Transportation Committee meeting at Old First Reformed Church [729 Carroll St. at Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 643-3027] at 6:30 pm.

Updated 11:19 pm, January 20, 2011: Corrects earlier byline error.
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Reasonable discourse

Mike says:
Good news, but no surprise. This project just makes sense all around. It has reduced out-of-control speeding, shortened crossing distances, reduced injuries, and provided a safe place to bike. No wonder it's overall popular in the neighborhood. So explain to me again why a few very wealthy and politically connected people are so opposed to it? Would they really rather have 45mph SUVs than 12mph bikes on their street?
Jan. 20, 2011, 8:40 am
Dave from Reality says:
Hm, let's see: people avoiding injuries and property damage vs. a handful of peoples' opinion about aesthetics. Go Smarty Marty!
Jan. 20, 2011, 8:45 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Great news, but this is no time to be complacent. Please come to the DOT Presentation tonight at 6:30 at the Old Reformed Church tonight. Expect lots of people who are against this to present their own anecdotal "data" on why this is a bad idea.
Jan. 20, 2011, 8:50 am
Marcus from Prospect heights says:
Marty doesn't care about "injuries" or "facts". Or else maybe he's being secretly funded by the ER lobby?
Jan. 20, 2011, 9:08 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Good to know that Louise Hainline of Neighbors For Better Bikes Lanes (the group is actually against the bike lane) is a professor at Brooklyn College. She'll probably be at the presentation tonight. Can someone ask her if she ignores statistics in her role as a teacher of graduate students?
Jan. 20, 2011, 9:11 am
Gary from PPW says:
The data confirms what is obvious to anyone who looks at what is happening on the street with any objectivity. And there are plenty of PPW resident who are very pleased with the current configuration. Raised landscaped pedestrian islands can only help.
Jan. 20, 2011, 9:15 am
bruce from midwood says:
Of course its working now. Its the winter and there is snow on the ground. Talk to me in the spring
Jan. 20, 2011, 9:16 am
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
The data confirms the anecdotal impression. I can now drive my car at the speed limit without others tailgating, honking, and jamming down the gas pedal while whipping around me and giving me the finger.

In fact, the only time since the bike lane has been installed I have been subject to that kind of harassment is while I was riding a bicycle on, 8th Avenue and Prospect Park West, during the two weeks in which (it seems) someone demanded that the bike lane not be plowed.
Jan. 20, 2011, 9:28 am
Kyle from Carroll Gardens says:
Bruce, maybe try reading the whole thing. Or at least the second paragraph. The study compares similar periods (July-December) pre- and post-implementation. For those counting, that's "summer, fall, and winter."
Jan. 20, 2011, 9:30 am
Marty Barfowitz from Outer Borough, NYC says:
This project is fantastic. Pour the concrete and create some nice planted areas in the median so all the whining stops.
Jan. 20, 2011, 9:48 am
boof from p hts says:
Supporters say "it slows motor traffic"; Critics say "it slows motor traffic". Which ones have the best interests of the whole community in mind?
Jan. 20, 2011, 10:05 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Bruce, the study includes the months of July, August, Sept, October, and November. The blizzard happened at the end of December, barely one month ago.

Proof that people read what they want to read.
Jan. 20, 2011, 10:13 am
bruce from midwood says:
The truth is that the bike lane is dangerous. It is just common sense. We all know numbers can be manipulated to prove any side of an argument we wish to prove by omitting or adding information.
Jan. 20, 2011, 10:27 am
howard from park slope says:
marty, the whining will NEVER stop. we live amongst WHINE experts. as my late mother taught me when i was a kid, look both ways before crossing. she's gotten smarter as i've gotten older. and people are doing that more and more. this project is a win-win for everyone except those who want no changes. deal with it people...and welcome to the new world.
Jan. 20, 2011, 10:30 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
But you can be sure Bruce would agree with the DOT's numbers if they confirmed his belief that the bike lane is dangerous.

Is there any study by any group that would convince haters that a bike lane is a good idea? I think the answer is no.
Jan. 20, 2011, 10:30 am
Lolcat from Park Slope says:
Pretty clear to me that Bruce from midwood is upset he can't speed down other neighborhood's streets on his way home. :-/

I also suggest that he does not know what common sense is.
Jan. 20, 2011, 10:56 am
Omri from Boston says:
Bruce, the truth is that the earth is flat. Just look at it! It's just common sense.
Jan. 20, 2011, 11 am
Nathaniel from LES says:
Correction to the Photo Caption:

"Responding to some concerns, the Department of Transportation is considering adding raised planted medians (above) along the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane (below)."

(1) The below is a pic of the 9th Ave bike lane in Manhattan; and (2) a small but vocal minority don't like the bike lane. That shouldn't make it a "controversy," it just means some ——s have a loud microphone. "controversy" implies that there's actually some sort of policy dispute when all the facts support that the bike lane is good.
Jan. 20, 2011, 11:11 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Where is Tal Barzilai?
Jan. 20, 2011, 11:20 am
Jym from PLG says:
=v= Time to publish a contrary opinion from someone like for example Iris Weinshall, who says she's got proof on videotape that nobody else can see. Gotta counter facts with wingnut opinions to be fair 'n' balanced, you know.
Jan. 20, 2011, 12:24 pm
CJ from Park Slope says:
You're right, Bruce. Why should we trust police accident data? After all, we know how much the NYPD LOVES cyclists.
Jan. 20, 2011, 1:18 pm
BS Meter from Right Here says:
Where's the photos of that PPW Bike Lane... today? with the reality of last week's weather vs. the sunshine photos you're using.. And what's doing there, across the 22" of snow, and the ice-storms and cold winter evenings? Why does it make sense to remove an entire lane across the 3-4 winter months, but for a handful of cyclists that may/may not use it?

What's the additional costs, for smaller plows to be used for the specific purpose of shoveling, salting that narrow bike lane (as its sep. from the street way)?
Jan. 20, 2011, 2:20 pm
Steve from Park Slope says:
Just went up to PPW and have to report that there are NO cars, maybe just one or two every few minutes. Also was there at 3 AM and didn't see anyone drive down the road for a really long time. So I guess we can get rid of another lane of traffic, right, BS Meter?
Jan. 20, 2011, 2:28 pm
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
Hey Bruce from Midwood, the PPW bike lane opponents has suggested closing the park to motor vehicles so bicycle riders can go in both directions on the roadway there.

Now most people know this is a red herring -- the goal is to rid of the PPW bike lane with no alternative. And many of the people I observe using the bike lane during rush hours do not take it all the way from one end to the other as I do -- they come from or go to places in Park Slope, which a two way bike lane in the park would not accomodate.

But if I were from Midwood and liked to drive through the area at rush hour, I wouldn't be so quick to obejct to the PPW bike lane. The opponents at least pretend to be willing to sacrifice the interests of those in CB 14 in favor of their own preferences.
Jan. 20, 2011, 2:37 pm
Karen from Park Slope says:
I have lived on PPW for many years and the bike lane has made living here soooo much nicer. Instead of a speedway we now have a more normal street. It is easier to cross the street for that reason and also because there are only 2 lanes to cross before you come to a pedestrian island. I would think older people would be happy not have to race across 3 wide lanes. Also bikes are so much more environmentally friendly. In places like Amsterdam people ride bikes everywhere and life seems so much more pleasant. I prefer looking at bikes rather than cars. I would like to see islands with plantings in the buffer zone.
Jan. 20, 2011, 3:31 pm
Resident from PPW says:
I like Karen have lived on Prospect Park West for years also. I do agree that the bike lane has made the street safer. However, what was once a beautiful and majestic avenue now looks like a parking lot. Sorry, but there is a bike lane in the park a few feet away. Instead of a bike lane how about not allowing cars on the road inside the park? How about speed bumps along PPW to slow the cars down? The bike lanes were never necessary if the goal of the administration was safety. Other options existed. The bike lane is more about the current administrations legacy on NYC.
Jan. 20, 2011, 4:12 pm
David from Brooklyn says:
Instead of a bike lane how about not allowing cars on the road inside the park?

Marty Markowitz is opposed to that too.

Iris Weinshall had years to try to make that happen as DOT commissioner but she didn't lift a finger.
Jan. 20, 2011, 5:28 pm
Marty Barfowitz from Outer Borough NYC says:
BS Meter:

Man, that's a great argument. I totally agree with you. I think we should also get rid of Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden because those facilities are also somewhat under-used during the winter months. You're a genius. Thanks for this great idea.
Jan. 20, 2011, 5:31 pm
common sense from bay ridge says:
@Karen: There are other things available in Amsterdam that help make life seem more pleasant than bikes. Agree with the planter idea.
Jan. 20, 2011, 7:59 pm
David from Cobble Hill says:
Markowitz is such a embarrassment to Brooklyn. He's a walking advertisement to get rid of the patronage swamps that are the borough presidencies. Thank god he has no policy power. The question is, why are New York City taxpayers paying for him to clown around and get in the way of what this borough needs to do?
Jan. 21, 2011, 2:06 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Tons of fun to see Lois Carswell and Norman Steisel more or less lie at last night's meeting on the subject. Carswell chose not to agree with the DOT's very reasonable explanation of why their bike counts were higher than Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Carswell was perhaps the only person in the room to not get it. Sad sad sad. These people are NIMBYs in favor of faster cars.
Jan. 21, 2011, 7:07 am
Lois Carsbad from PPW says:
Steisel & co. are planning to sue the DOT, which will drain enormous amounts of money from the city at a time when there isn't a lot of money to be drained. For a group of people who seem so concerned that the city is wasting money on bike lanes (even though the feds kick in 80% of the funding) they seem to have no problem taking your tax money because they don't like what happened on "their" street.

Steisel should be 100% ashamed of himself for robbing the city of the time and effort it has taken to defend a project that is widely loved by the community.
Jan. 21, 2011, 9:03 am
Stephen Paul from Carroll St & PPW says:
Why would two ex-City officials be heading up opposition to traffic calming and cycling on PPW is beyond me. Steisel (Dinkins’ 1st Deputy Mayor and Weinshal Bloomberg’s former DOT Commish/wife of Sentator Schumer) both live quite lavish, fabulous lives in fabulous buildings on and off PPW. Why they would throw in their lot with other fat cats along PPW who need space for more fancy cars is want I really want to know. Who said government ain’t good. Good for those of us who currently bike (ergo new bike lane); and good for those who were formally employed by the government and now make lots and lots of money off of it. Steisel consulting, Weinshal as a CUNY exec. No need to bike when you can afford those big cars!
Jan. 21, 2011, 3:08 pm
Resident from PPW says:
I never thought I would be typing this, but thank goodness for Steisel and Carswell. Keep up the good work and get rid of the bicycle lanes.
Jan. 21, 2011, 3:58 pm
Moshe aron kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
The bike lane works bikers for ever
Jan. 21, 2011, 3:59 pm
LOLcat from PArk Slope says:
@resident from PPW:

The DOT has just proven that this redesign has made the street safer for EVERYONE, but you are too selfish to care. You make me sick.
Jan. 21, 2011, 5:15 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, do not gang up or wish me dead for saying this, because just like you guys, I too am entitled to your opinion just as much as you are to yours. Many of the residents especially the elderly that live on PPW actually opposed the bike lanes. They happen to find it more difficult to cross because so many cyclists come without warning. It has been shown that traffic has gotten worse there. Ironically, the same cyclists who claim that drivers use that street as a speedway use it as one themselves and even go the wrong way making them become the very people they hate. I do agree with the fact that there is already a bike lane in Prospect Park that isn't far, but I guess it's never enough. Give PPW back to the people and not to the elite! Quit trying to make Kansas bleed by all going there to act like you know the area more than those that have lived there for most of their lives.
Jan. 21, 2011, 6:24 pm
trans alt from bike nation says:
@Tal: Stay up in Pleasantville with your polluting menace to society. No one wants you or your exhaust fumes in Brooklyn. Eventually, you will not be allowed to drive into NYC, get used to it.
Jan. 21, 2011, 6:41 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Sorry trans alt, but you should know better that threats don't work on the Israelies, so don't even try it. The more you make such stereotype along with your Streetsblog allies, the more enemies your kind makes. You already lost on congestion pricing and tolling, so you will lose here as well. Your kind doesn't represent the areas you claim to you and most still you as a minority to this. Don't forget that according to the US Census Bureau, you guys are barley one percent of the city commuters, so I don't know why there should be more catering to such a small group as yours' when there are those that need it more.
Jan. 21, 2011, 7:25 pm
Sanity says:
It seems like the life of a Brooklyn Paper thread these days is about 12 hours before Tal gets there and his incoherent ramblings turn it into completely bizarre crap. Sad.

Tal,

> "Many of the residents.. opposed the bike lanes"

71% of Park Slope residents in the survey support it.

> "It has been shown that traffic has gotten worse there"

Actually, the data show that cars get through just as quickly, but keep to the speed limit.

> "and even go the wrong way"

How do you go "the wrong way" on a 2-way bike path?

> "Give PPW back to the people and not to the elite"

Actually, the people are the ones who support this project. The elite -- rich, connected residents of 9 Prospect Park West, the fanciest building in the neighborhood, including the owner of that building's penthouse -- are the only known opponents.

Tal, have you even *been* to Prospect Park West in the last 8 months since this project was installed? If not, what qualifies you to comment, other than your abiding hatred for bike lanes?
Jan. 21, 2011, 7:46 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
To answer Mr. Idon'tuseaconsitantnamewhenIpostbutIamprobablythatsameperson, there is no rule saying that only those who have actually witnessed it can post here. Also, there is no rule saying that only Brooklyn residents can post here as well. The reason I am against bike lanes is mainly because I see them as nothing but a pet project and are hardly used most of the time. Another reason is because they are seen as a waste of space, and create congestion on the roads. It's not just here where there are those complaints, there are many other NYC neighborhoods where residents are complaining about this as well, and that was over on the City Room, so I didn't come up with this arbitrairly. I may not have been there recently, but the protesters to the bike lanes are homegrown without a doubt. On a side note, quit disguising your name, because I find that unprofessional and unintelligent.
Jan. 21, 2011, 9:26 pm
LOLcat from Park Slope says:
Tal,

You —— and moan about something that you haven't even seen?

Get a life, seriously.
Jan. 21, 2011, 9:34 pm
Sanity says:
Amazing. Please don't comment about something you haven't seen. You didn't see the street before the project, you didn't see the street after the project, and you have no credibility whatsoever about the project.
Jan. 21, 2011, 9:40 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I say it's you who needs to get a life, and leave me alone. Why are some of you so defenisve or even hostile on this? You guys had your say, so let me have mine. For the record, I have not forced anyone or attacked anyone who didn't agree with me, but I can cite where some of you did that to me and even demanded censorship at times. I am sorry if I don't go with the bandwagon here, but that is my choice and I am entitled to it whether you like it or not. Boondoggles are boondoggles, and it doesn't take a special insider to know about it. I may not have been to the actual protests, but I have seen pictures of them, and I feel very bad that they were being badly attacked by cyclists just circling around then with some of them doing name calling, which was very uncalled for. You may call those protesting NIMBYs, but I find them as populists. BTW, numbers can be fudged and the DOT has a history of doing that.
Jan. 21, 2011, 9:46 pm
JAY from PSLOPE says:
Not reported? Well, you mean like how the NYPD does not report crimes so their compstats looks better? What ,you think the DOT would not do that? You think only the ops lie?
You don't think DOT would look like bigger bozos than that already do if they did a study and it showed the bike lane in a negative light and was a big big waste of money? You don't think that is an incentive to lie about a study?
The fact is bikers really don't' use it that much, they still ride on the sidewalk or the wrong way down the street and they HAVE hit people because I have seen it.
I don't know if its better stat wise with or without it, but I do know that traffic is slower, but thats because its backed up, not because people decided to not speed as much.
I do know better than to trust a politically charged agency, with a stated agenda, to tell the truth about something that goes against their own stated policy goals. They are not the type to let facts get in the way of their own agenda and opinion. Then again, neither are the bike lobby.
Jan. 21, 2011, 11:46 pm
Mike says:
Jay's comments show that he hasn't actually been to Prospect Park West and observed this bike path firsthand: he talks about bikers riding "the wrong way", but this is a 2-way path so there is no wrong way.

Given that, who should you trust? Not Jay, for sure.
Jan. 22, 2011, 1:02 am
LOLcat from park slope says:
Tal,

You are the one who lives approximately 40 miles away from this bike lane and constantly trolls the Brooklyn papers comments. Stop trying to take away our freedom to bike safely and leave us alone.
Jan. 22, 2011, 2 am
Steve from PPW says:
Jay,

Riding on the sidewalk of PPW has dropped to just 3%. It used to be over 40%.

And of the people still riding on the sidewalk, 46% are kids under 12, who are allowed to ride on the sidewalk.

Even if bikers weren't using it a lot - they are, but even if they aren't - pedestrians are safer now. Cars are obeying the speed limit. It takes less time to cross two lanes of motor traffic than three. Forget about the bike lane, buddy, and focus on the pedestrians. Thousands of them, even when it's cold, benefit from this. Visited the Farmer's Market today and there are a ton of peds on PPW.

I'm sure NBBL has no "stated agenda" or "opinion" and can be totally trusted, though. Let's hand over all our street designs to this tiny group of people!
Jan. 22, 2011, 10:12 am
bruce from midwood says:
Sorry , Steve , Omri and Larry and all others. I don't drive on PPW during rush hour at all. As a matter of fact I avoid PPW at all costs. But I do bring my family to prospect park often and I don't have enough fingers on my hand to list the incidents when I have seen bikers taking the path too quickly while listening to their ipods and almost wiping out a pedestrian. I also worry about the bikers who sooner or later will get hurt when a occupant of a car does not look and opens a door in front of a unsuspecting biker. I also agree that people drive way too fast in their cars on PPW as well. But in the end I believe this bike lane is a mistake.
Jan. 22, 2011, 12:33 pm
Steve from PPW says:
Bruce,

I will not dispute what you observe, as I've seen some of the same behavior.

However, the facts are the facts. There have been no bike-on-ped accidents since the bike lane was installed. There was one accident involving a car and a bike, and a few more involving cars, although fewer than there were before the bike lane. As much as it can help to rely on what we see, it also helps to rely on facts and statistics. Government agencies should rely on facts and what they can measure and keep track of.

Dooring - a bike rider getting hit by an opening car door - is much less a concern now that cyclists have the bike lane. There's enough of a buffer and the lane is wide enough that car doors can open without swinging into the lane. Prior to the bike lane, bikes rode close to parked cars, and doorings were more common. I was doored twice with minor injuries on PPW before the bike lane myself, although I'd be curious to see if anyone has wider statistics about before and after cases.

So, stop focusing on the bike lane. It's safer for pedestrians to cross the street and cars are slower now. Make the thing a giant picnic bench or just plant trees in it. PPW is safer now that it only has two lanes, with or without a bike lane.
Jan. 22, 2011, 3:12 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
LOLcat, you had your say on this, so let me have mine. I have never tried to take away the freedom on anyone who wants to use whatever mode of transportation they wanted. Believe it or not, I have been to PPW, but that was before the bike lane, and I never found it a problem. As a matter of fact, I don't see why bike lanes are needed when all cyclists should do is just ride with the traffic rather than against it. Let's not forget the CBS report on Bike Bedlam has shown that cyclists do treat bike lanes as decoration, and that was shown on TV. On a side note, calling someone a troll just because they take a different view is considered a personal attack in itself, and I have seen this being done on Streetsblog everytime someone states a side that is different from theirs'. My guess is that you can't dish criticism when it's not with you. BTW, the people who are complaining about that bike lane are there on a daily basis and witness it outside their windows daily especially with the lack of space causing anyone who double parks to be backing up the entire street for others.
Jan. 22, 2011, 4:54 pm
lolcat from park slope says:
Double parking is illegal.
Jan. 22, 2011, 5:21 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
So is riding the wrong way on a one way street and running through red lights and stop signs, but you cyclists do that pretty much all the time.
Jan. 22, 2011, 7:02 pm
bruce from midwood says:
Steve thanks for the civil and well written response Nice to see two people disagree without getting disrespectful. I guess we will just respectfully have to agree to disagree.
Jan. 22, 2011, 7:41 pm
Steve from PPW says:
You're welcome Bruce. Same to you. I hope you'll read the DOT survey if you haven't already. I know observations are very powerful, but the results of the street redesign have been very effective.
Jan. 22, 2011, 10:17 pm
Resident from PPW says:
@ LOLcat from PArk Slope says:

The DOT has just proven that this redesign has made the street safer for EVERYONE, but you are too selfish to care. You make me sick.

Please tell me that based on this response that you don't have a position of authority or in the Imperial Mayor's administration? There appear to be some unresolved issues going on.
Jan. 23, 2011, 5:33 am
bruce from midwood says:
Steve , I will look for it online
Jan. 23, 2011, 7:25 am
Steve from PPW says:
Resident, if you have opposing research, please link to it. There are no unresolved issues left, only a tiny handful of NIMBYs who just don't like what they see and will not be convinced by anything or anyone. The only thing unresolved is this question: When will Neighbors For Dangerous Streets go away?

The 25 members of NBBL are the ones who are being selfish. The new PPW design has overwhelming support in the neighborhood. Supporters outnumbered opponents at the October rally by at least four to one, and by a similar margin at last week's CB6 meeting. The Lander/Levin survey showed 57% support among PPW residents, not to mention nearly 90% support in Park Slope and Brooklyn overall.

But if you and NBBL want to waste more taxpayer money and sue the DOT, go right ahead. You're making no friends and clearly don't care about safety, only your view.
Jan. 23, 2011, 9:56 am
Steves an Idiot from PPW says:
Steve sure talks a lotta crap and likes to belittle anyone that has an oposing opinion. Whats up with that Steve?
Jan. 26, 2011, 3 am
Harry from Park Slope says:
we all know The Department of Traffic would never,never,ever lie to the good citizens of NY!!
Jan. 26, 2011, 3:02 am

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