Mayoral Debate Wrap-Up

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bob Hardt, executive producer and political director for NY1 news, and Gerson Borrero, columnist at El Diario La Prensa and columnist at, provide analysis after last night's Democratic mayoral debate.


Gerson Borrero and Bob Hardt

Comments [48]

Taylor from Astoria

Sadik-Khan is wonderful for New York. I live in Queens and want bike lanes on as many streets as possible.

Aug. 27 2009 04:56 PM
Moshe Feder from Flushing, NY

Sadik-Kahn is one of the mayor's best appointees. The pedestrian spaces created in Times Square and near the Flatiron Building are wonderful amenities for all New Yorkers.

Might I suggest that folks who have a problem with bike lanes may be thinking about them in the wrong way, as something specialized or optional. They've forgotten that streets aren't the property of the automobile and that freedom of movement in them is the right of all citizens, not just licensed drivers.

Community consultation is fine, but no community can be given a veto on bicycle traffic anymore than they can be allowed to prohibit pedestrians or cars.

I wish we had more city officials with the imagination and boldness of Commissioner Sadik-Kahn. If Bloomberg is re-elected, I hope she stays on.

Aug. 27 2009 12:18 PM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

I love biking and bike lanes, but it is true that they shouldn't be used as a radical political tool to reduce car traffic. It’s amazing that people have biked around for over a hundred years without needing bike lanes. Does every human activity need special recognition in our liberal cry-baby society? What of the uni-cycle riders, can we close traffic so they can get to work, too?

Bike lanes are expensive to put down and maintain. Biking during rush hour in any city in the world is dangerous. Bike lanes should be where (1) people actually use them and (2) near parks and other recreational amenities, since many more people use them for fun then to get to work.

More than that, bikers need to be required to adhere to the rules of the road as do car and truck drivers. They should be given tickets and fines like any other vehicular user. There should be a small registration fee ($10 per bike for recreational use and $50 per year for bike commuters), a requirement for registration (VIN) numbers for every bike, a helmet and reflective vest requirement at all times for every user (all ages) and proof of health insurance so that bikers don’t become wards of the state when they are injured. There should also be mandatory bike insurance for those to protect against the inevitable accidents. And of course a requirement for front, back and side lights and reflectors for night riding.

Remember we are all in this together, so we should all play our part; after all it takes a village. Remember bikers - there are big cars and trucks in that village as well as pedestrians, so bike safely and please observe the rules of the road.

Aug. 27 2009 11:56 AM


Bicyclists do pay for roads. And drivers damage them the most!

Aug. 27 2009 11:55 AM
ron from Manhattan from east village man.

In the east village along ave A and B bike lanes were put in, they were put in on the drivers blind side of the auto, truly this is dangerous to the bikers, can the city be libiel for creating such a dangerous peril to bikers? One would have hoped the city and traffic alternatives would have a creiteria for the amount of space needed on any given street or avenue before they install a bike lane.
Should a bike lane be installed on any street or avenue where there is a bus lane, couldn't the buss and bikers share the bus lane, most bus routes except maybe during rush hours have about a 15 minute gap between buses.
This city, the MAYOR, traffic alternatives, and the local community boards are making the city more and more congested by taking away driving lanes and blaming the motorist, each MILE of bike lane or bus lane eliminates 300-400 cars or 150-200 trucks.Do the math, the city has over 1000 miles of bus lanes and are aiming for the same in bike lanes.

Aug. 27 2009 11:44 AM
raul from Prospect Heights

If you support bike lanes in NYC (like I do), then please work with the community to create them. Bloomberg's top-down approach has helped stoke resistance to bike lanes.

Other cities have done a better job supporting bicyclists. Bike lane supporters should not be so enamored with Bloomberg's record.

Aug. 27 2009 11:31 AM

For some odd reason, defenders of the dysfunctional transportation status quo have come to view pedestrian plazas, bike lanes, bridge tolls and bus improvements as elitist measures, when in fact they are the very opposite.

The people are who slamming bike lanes and the like should be exposed as the faux-populists that they are.

Aug. 27 2009 11:26 AM
ron from Manhattan from east village man.

how about registering and putting licences on bikes, their supossed to follow the same rules and regulation of auto's.By registering them they can help pay for more bike lanes and bike racks, since cars pay for the upkeep of roads and bridges and tunnels the bikers can at least help pay for the part of the road they use, and if there registered with a licence plate maybe they wont go thru red lights, the wrong way down a one-way street, stop and help a pedestrian when they run into one going the wrong way down a one-way street, help pay for bus racks like they have in europe in case of rain. Lets be fair if bikers want more use of the roads they should help pay for it.

Aug. 27 2009 11:24 AM
Corbs from Dumbo

I was nudged by a delivery van on my ride to work this morning! No bike lanes on Flushing Avneue, though it is a major thoroughfare for many cyclists. Other major cities have concrete barriers or the like seperating bike and auto lanes in the street. Why is NYC so slow in figuring this one out?: Big oil.

Aug. 27 2009 10:58 AM
nat from Brooklyn

Does the city need to consult the residents on cars being the default "status quo" road users? The only reason that the city has the traffic problems that it has now is because the city has seen fit treat the motor vehicle as the heir to the road. Most of the major roads in NYC used to be two way until it was decided that it would be easier and faster for cars to make them two ways.

Driving plays the role in our culture that it does because of one of the largest continued public subsidies ever made, paid out at every level of government. If it wasn't convenient to drive, no one would (except those who had a real need to), everyone drives because car culture has been the public default for sixty or more years.

The community was never consulted about the auto-default. Its the job of the DOT to do long term transportation planning. Just because this isn't how you're used to seeing the roads split up, it doesn't mean its not a good idea. We need to make these strategic shifts to ween ourselves off of car culture.

The BBC reported this morning that Copenhagen has been doing this work since the seventies and eighties, and are now moving toward a 50% cycle traffic rate. They have also seen the number of cycling fatalities decrease with the cyclist increase; a trend we may be seeing here.

Aug. 27 2009 10:46 AM
Daniel Cassidy from brooklyn

The debate about bike lanes is the very reason we need them. A bicycle in not viewed as a legitimate mode of transport in this country. It is considered a leisure device or a child's toy. Bike lanes validate the bicycle as a proper vehicle entitled to road use. We need to dedicate bicycle space just as we need sidewalks for pedestrians. Any issues they cause are just part of community acclimation.

Aug. 27 2009 10:43 AM
Sabrina from Manhattan

NATIVITY SCENE: I wish you would have asked Avella about his proposal of a few years ago to allow schools to have nativity scene displays.

BIKE LANES: The DOT also doesn't consult when they put in bike racks. And Bloomberg doesn't consult when he puts in new trees ANYPLACE whether they are wanted or not.

Trees and bike lanes and racks are great but consultation is great, too.

Democracy is messy but Bloomberg doesn't mess with it; he prefers dictatorship.

Democracy is messy.

Aug. 27 2009 10:42 AM
jtt from jackson heights

are bike lanes really the only issue?

how about civil rights? how about human rights?
how about "quality of life" for all new yorkers?

remember the repub convention? remember a football stadium in midtown? olympics anyone? remember term limits? you like schools with no art, music or phys ed so that nyc kids can learn how to take tests better? etc, etc.

you'll let this guy shove whatever he wants through as long as he gives you bike lanes?

Aug. 27 2009 10:40 AM
Shawn from Bronx

Gerson Borrero within a minute of calling the race card on Espada called Gov. Paterson "clueless."

Is he picking on the black guy?

Aug. 27 2009 10:40 AM
Lisa from East 20s, Manhattan

Until bike riders learn to obey the traffic laws, there should be NO bike lanes. They are arrogant, ignorant, and dangerous to the rest of us.

Aug. 27 2009 10:39 AM
jship from brooklyn

Bicyclists are members of the community too. When the candidates say that the bike lanes would never have happened if communities had been consulted, it is clear that they don't consider cyclists voters, or valid voices of the communities we live in.

Aug. 27 2009 10:38 AM
Nicole from Brooklyn

Get rid of Janette Sadik-Khan?!

She's been incredible for the city. Those two just lost my vote.

Aug. 27 2009 10:36 AM
cw from brooklyn

i have to say, the comments about unwanted bike lanes seemed pretty ridiculous to me. providing safer biking as a viable transportation alternative is meant to ultimately reduce traffic issues. further, putting in bike lanes does not inherently make streets less safe for pedestrians. bikers riding the wrong way on streets is commonplace bike lane or not. and the bikers are in the wrong there - not sadik-khan for putting in the lane.

Aug. 27 2009 10:33 AM
Tomas from Brooklyn

Bike lanes are great but some changes to street directions are nuts! I just discovered Kent Ave. turned into a ONE WAY! What was wrong with two way traffic with two bike lanes????

Aug. 27 2009 10:33 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

I can’t believe I’m still surprised how disgusting politics and media coverage and digestion of politics is in NYC. Apparently people are jealous Bloomberg has money and they don’t…. you want money? Have an idea worth paying for instead of tearing other people down because they have what you haven’t worked for.
The issue of bike lanes… so just give everything over to cars when the minority of the NYC population drive? Give in to South Williamsburg residents because bikers aren’t “modest” enough for the neighbors in what they wear? Do door to door surveys of ALL neighbors (because neighborhood groups DO NOT represent everyone living in the neighborhood, they represent the vocal minority in the neighborhood. NYC neighborhoods are not as monolithic as people make them out to be and 100 laymen shouldn’t speak for thousands or tens of thousands). We have representational government for a reason, otherwise we’d have the mess that California has… don’t like the bike lanes? Fire your representative.

And on why the “Puerto Rican” is being picked on… Let’s look at the 3-4 people really responsible for the party flipping and power grabbing.

Aug. 27 2009 10:33 AM
frank mustico from Queens, NY

There you go...Gerson Borrero playing the race card when Pedro Espada's name is brought up!! So much for journalistic objectivity.

Aug. 27 2009 10:32 AM
Valerie Lieber from Brooklyn (Park Slope)

About bike lanes: Many people seem to be outraged about new bike lanes because it is an inconvenience for car drivers (and in some cases not safely executed); but the bike lanes are necessary in the long run to decrease congestion, to improve personal health and to decrease the carbon footprint of NYC. New Yorkers will have to think in the long term as the Bloomberg administration is doing. Car drivers are going to have to continue to make sacrifices.

Aug. 27 2009 10:31 AM
Jeff from Brooklyn

The bike lanes allow Bloomberg to fine riders for violating statues to generate revenue -- another example of a "green" initiative that is actually a means to generate revenue for the city.


previous to the bike lane being established on 9th Ave, riders could not be readily cited for violating cycling regulations, now with the bike lane there are hundreds of potential violations at each red light on the bike path.

I may be mistaken, but I believe in addition to the existing rules regulating bike traffic, there may be additional statutes associated with the bike lanes themselves, providing even more opportunity for citations.

These are essentially speed traps for cyclists and should be avoided at all costs!

Aug. 27 2009 10:31 AM
Sara from Bushwick

The biggest problem with the plentiful new bike lanes in the Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick area is that there are usually people double parked in them, which causes traffic problems when the cyclists need swerve around them into traffic. The city could save the budget by an aggressive ticketing campaign of vehicles on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint alone.

Aug. 27 2009 10:31 AM
Spencer from Forest Hills

Re: Sadik-Kahn and bike lanes. This is why I won't vote for a Dem in this election. Sometimes you have to make something happen that you think is right without putting it through a committee. Doesn't apply to everything, but there are too many people in New York attached to their cars, that if you try to get everyone on board, things will never change. In the same way, the Democrats in Congress should grow a spine and push through health care. Republicans don't have this problem.

Aug. 27 2009 10:30 AM
maria from bklyn




Aug. 27 2009 10:29 AM
Don from New York City

Bike lanes controversial? People would still ride bikes even without lanes. The lanes make it a little safer for everyone. If there had o be extensive discussion, it would take as long or longer to build them (basically a stripe on the street) than it took to install a few public toilets.

Aug. 27 2009 10:28 AM
Roman from Brooklyn

Personally, both candidates lost my vote by their comments regarding the bike lanes. It showed that they are just being contrarian.

Aug. 27 2009 10:28 AM
wendy from Brooklyn

As a biker, I love the bike lanes. But in Carroll Gardens, where I live, they selected some of the most narrow street (east-west streets) for lanes. If you take them, cars are stuck behind you and just honk their horns. There's no way I'd take the streets they chose to put the lanes on (not talking about the big streets, like Smith). What were they thinking?

Aug. 27 2009 10:28 AM
jxn from Brooklyn

I was hesitant about voting Bloomberg in for a (despotic?) third term, but now that I hear that the other candidates would oust janette sadik-khan, I have to vote for him. She has done wonderful, transformative things for bikers and the city.

Aug. 27 2009 10:26 AM
Ilana from Brooklyn

The question of bike lines is ridiculous. Bike lanes are traffic corridors, so there must be continuity, through multiple neighborhoods. If biking is to be a viable transporation alternative, neighborhoods can't pick and choose whether to be included.

Aug. 27 2009 10:26 AM
Joelle Ballonzoli from NYC

Brian Lehrer,
You don't know enough about what's hap in the outer boroughs. Bike lines is just a little piece of it! That's why I feel that you are being unfair to Tonay Avella. I live in Rockaway part-time; in the Village in the Winter. I suggest that you come here and speak with the population.

Aug. 27 2009 10:26 AM
Chuck from Brooklyn

A city this size needs more bike lanes and walking and sitting areas.

Drivers think they deserve to drive wherever they please.

NYC has to get with the 21st century.

Aug. 27 2009 10:25 AM


Aug. 27 2009 10:25 AM
Spot from NYC

Its stupid to say that neighborhoods should be able to prevent bike lanes. The point is that bike lanes are alternative transportation for people traveling throughout the city. A neighborhood should not be able to say they don't want a bike lane anymore than it should be able to say they don't want a street or avenue.

Aug. 27 2009 10:25 AM
David from New York City

In Chelsea along 9th ave. NO ONE likes these bike lanes. I agree with Dorthy. Cabs don't always look at the light for the left turn. Bikers don't obey red lights or the directions and I have NEVER seen a biker get a ticket!
These bike lanes also have increased traffic congestion to my unscientific eye.

Aug. 27 2009 10:25 AM
Yun Cee Ng from Astoria Queens

I'm listening to the gentleman speaking about the Queens bike lanes...I live in Queens as well (different part) and it has actually HELPED! I ride my bike all the time and I've noticed that more and more people are riding their bikes. This is one of the BEST things that ever happened.

Aug. 27 2009 10:25 AM
hjs from 11211

no one talked to me about putting the BQE in. please come take it out!@

Aug. 27 2009 10:24 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn, NY

I am blown away that people are complaining about "imposed bike lanes" in their neighborhoods. How could a bike lane possibly be negative in most neighborhoods?! How sad NYC has this attitude; earlier on NPR, was a segment about Copenhagen, and their incredible committment to bike transportation.

Aug. 27 2009 10:24 AM

I was skeptical of the reorganizing of midtown. Until I discovered that 34th Street is the best cross town route by car thanks to the increased traffic regulation.

Aug. 27 2009 10:24 AM
Toots from Brooklyn

I love our new bike lane on Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, although I'm sure if there had been "extensive community consultation" it never would have happened. Bring us a bike lane on Classon too, please.

Aug. 27 2009 10:24 AM
Ben from Manhattan

Controversial bike lanes? The problem is that they haven't done enough for bike lanes. In many European cities they separate traffic from bike lanes entirely.

Riding in the city is dangerous which is why I almost exclusively use bike lanes when riding.

Aug. 27 2009 10:24 AM
Ellen from Brooklyn

Around Grand and Centre St in Manhattan, they made the bike lane closest to the sidewalk, and a floating parking lane between the bikes and the traffic. It's very confusing and seems dangerous for both cars and bikes!

Aug. 27 2009 10:24 AM
Mike from Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

I bike from my home in Brooklyn to my job in Manhattan every day. Bike lines are wonderful and a necessary part of the transportation system of any modern city.

Aug. 27 2009 10:24 AM
raul from Prospect Heights

Avella mentioned that Bloomberg has multiplied his wealth during his term as mayor. The first person to talk about this, as far as I know, is Michael D. D. White who wrote about it in his blog, NoticingNewYork. Here are links to his two articles, "The Good News IS the Bad News":


It's quite likely that Bloomberg is not guilty of anything illegal. But it does raise a lot of questions: What IS Bloomberg getting from all of his donations?

Aug. 27 2009 10:23 AM
Chuck from Brooklyn

We need more bike lanes!

Less drivers.

Come on, be real.

Gerson Borrero is just a mud slinger, he should be yelling a local Bodega.

Aug. 27 2009 10:22 AM
jose from brooklyn

Avella is right about Bloomberg's wealth increase. Why should anyone be surprised, what with The New York Times expose about how much time and influence Bloomberg still has with his "former" company. The scheme that was created to make it appear that he is not involved in his company anymore is a total sham. As an example: how did Bloomberg manage to put up the monstrous headquarters building he did so super-rapidly? Would other corporations have been able to get theirs up so quickly?!

Aug. 27 2009 10:16 AM
marc rosenblatt from manhattan

i thought wnyc was a place to hear alternative voices. there are other people running seriously for mayor besides two run of the mill politicos and i dont hear their voices!

Aug. 27 2009 10:04 AM

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