Wednesday, December 07, 2011
By Kate Hinds
In a long and often contentious public hearing Tuesday night, Manhattan's Community Board 11 revisited arguments for and against a pair of proposed bike lanes on First and Second Avenues.
CB11 had voted overwhelmingly to support the lanes, which would run from 96th Street to 125th Street, earlier this fall. And the city had said they'd begin construction in the spring of 2012. But that schedule was thrown into doubt last month when the board voted to rescind their support of the lanes after local business owners protested.
So on Tuesday night, the New York City Department of Transportation made their sixth visit to CB11 to made the case for the lanes once again. They showed a PowerPoint of the street redesign, talked about its benefits, and pledged to work closely with business owners and other community members to address concerns.
And concerns were plentiful. Business owners, like Frank Brija, who owns Patsy's Pizzeria and is also a member of CB11, said he was a bike rider himself and liked bike lanes in general--just not on his street. "I'm here to say, why can't we just compromise," he said. "First Avenue we know is like a next highway to the FDR Drive. When there's traffic there, it becomes so congested." He suggested that the bike lanes be relocated to Pleasant Avenue or Paladino Avenue.
Erik Mayor, another CB11 member and the owner of Milk Burger, agreed with Brija."The people who drive up First Avenue don't live here," he said. "And it's not realistic to think that people are going to ride their bike to work, when most people live in the Bronx." He said the lanes would increase traffic and pollution, and that the DOT's rationale for installing protected bike lanes in the neighborhood was flawed. "What works in Denmark, or Colombia, or Bogota, that's not El Barrio. That's not East Harlem. That's not Spanish Harlem."
But they were in the minority. During the public comment session, person after person got up to speak in favor of the lanes. Members of Community Board 7 on Manhattan's Upper West Side -- which recently unveiled data on its own year-old bike lane -- were on hand to assuage fears. "We had a debate on our board which was very similar to what you're currently experiencing," said CB7's Ken Coughlin.
"I'm here to tell you that now we have more than a year of experience, all these concerns are basically groundless." He told the group that Columbus Avenue had seen reductions in injuries, speeding cars and double parking since that lane's installation. "Change can be difficult, but what we got for our change was a safer street, a more livable street, a more functional street for everyone, and, I think, a more beautiful street."
One by one, public health officials, doctors, local activists, mothers with small children, and even school students stood up to speak in favor of the lanes. One of the supporters, Raphael Benavides, said: "The new proposed configuration is a win/win for everyone involved. It is safer--just look at the numbers. It is healthier, it is good for the environment...and it is good for business." He said the lanes would bring more people to East Harlem. "Cyclists are explorers. They will come to our community. And I am a business owner, so I do have a vested interest in this endeavor."
At several points people spoke over each other and at times the discussion got heated enough that a board member intervened to smooth over hurt feelings. One CB11 member, Yma Rodriguez, said she was insulted by the implication that bike lane supporters had been brainwashed by the city. "That the DOT would get us all together to conspire...could you not believe that we have minds of our owns, that we also have opinions, that we also have concerns that are legitimate?"
Brija and Mayor left before the meeting was over. At the end of the evening, one of the last members of the public to speak, local resident Diego Quiñones, surveyed the room and summed up the events of the evening: "Wow, change is scary, huh?"
Matthew Washington, the chair of CB11, said afterward that the board would formally revisit the lanes at the committee level in January. "We have to mold this proposal, as it's been molded already, to get to that ultimate point where all people feel that issues have been addressed," he said.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Another bike lane battle is brewing in New York City. This time it comes in East Harlem. After voting in favor of a pair of protected bike lanes along First and Second Avenues, from 96th Street to 125th Street, Community Board 11 voted last week to rescind that support.
Matthew Washington, CB11's chair, sounded exasperated when asked about the turn of events. Washington supports the lanes, and he said the board voted overwhelmingly in favor of the lanes just two months ago.
"For members to vote one way in September, and then vote...to pull that vote away two months later," he said, "to me says the members weren't paying attention to what they were doing."
He said the official position of the community board is now "neutral" -- at least for now.
City Council member Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has rallied at City Hall in support of expanding the city's bike lane network, represents the neighborhood. She called the recent CB11 vote "a temporary setback" and that she wasn't concerned.
"What I believe occurred," she said, "was that there were two people with self-interest that completely misled and created a lot of confusion at the prior board meeting. This issue had been voted on...and at this last board meeting, the issue was brought back up on open business at 9:30 at night, people were tired, it had been a long meeting, a lot of information that was misrepresented was thrown out there, I think it created some level of confusion among some board members.”
The two people in question, Frank Brija and Erik Mayor, are two local business owners who also sit on the community board. They said that the DOT had not done enough outreach to local businesses and produced a petition against the lanes. Brija, who owns Patsy's Pizzeria (on First Avenue and 117th Street) was quoted in DNA Info as saying: "All we do is complain about traffic, all we do is complain about asthma. Now the DOT is going to create more traffic."
Washington disputes that characterization. "I just don't even understand how people are constructing these ideas," Washington said in a phone interview with Transportation Nation. "They're saying traffic on First Avenue is not moving and going to get worse -- but traffic can't really get worse than not moving."
Another concern for local businesses is parking. The website for Patsy's Pizzeria states: "Plenty of on street parking is available around the neighborhood, so drive on in!" Brija did not return a call seeking comment.
Melissa Mark-Viverito said she wants businesses and residents to understand that the lanes can expand, not narrow, the appeal of the neighborhood. "Somehow [they hold] the idea that the only people who go to businesses are people that drive," she said. "Having protected bike lanes, and creating a safe space for bikers to come, we actually may be encouraging people from outside our community to come and venture and go to the businesses, go to the restaurants, to avail themselves of the services that are key here, so we have to see bikers, and creating a level of protection for them – not only for the residents that live in my community – but potentially for people who want to come and visit our neighborhood."
The DOT had initially planned to install the Second Avenue lane in the spring of 2012. Viverito said that schedule was still doable -- provided it re-passes the community board. And she's optimistic: “I feel very confident that this will pass overwhelmingly,” she said. Washington agreed. "There's still opportunity for the board to work out some of the kinks, some of the issues that people feel are relevant and move forward."
The DOT said in a statement that the agency "will return to the board soon to review the presentation and explain how we plan to address merchant concerns." And Washington said that representatives from the DOT will be at the next transportation committee meeting, scheduled to take place at the CB11 office on December 6.
"But I think we're going to have to relocate it," he said, "because I anticipate we will have large attendance at this meeting."
TN MOVING STORIES: LA Increases Night Service on Trains, Chicago Area Buses To Drive on Highway Shoulders, Passenger Attacks on Transit Operators On the Rise
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
A new bridge across Lake Champlain opened years ahead of schedule. (Link)
Van driving "rebalancers" keep watch over Capital Bikeshare stations. (Link)
The mass transit commuter tax break is set to expire at the end of the year. (Link)
Los Angeles is increasing night service on three rail lines to boost ridership. (Los Angeles Times)
Some buses will be driving on the shoulder next week in the Chicago area, when the region pilots a program designed to speed commuting times. (Chicago Tribune)
San Francisco weighs bus rapid transit on Van Ness Avenue. (The Bay Citizen)
Nearly a third of all drivers said they've almost fallen asleep while driving at least once in the last month, and the problem gets worse when the clocks change. (Washington Post)
Toyota's hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, which will hit the market in 2015, is expected to retail for about $138,000. (Autopia)
Attacks by passengers on mass transit operators are on the rise, and some say rage over fare hikes is the cause. (Atlantic Cities)
Does Salt Lake City's commuter rail have a higher accident rate than average? Signs point to yes. (Deseret News)
NYC is moving forward with plans to use a San Francisco-like "smart parking" system. (Streetsblog)
The US Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether police need a warrant to attach a GPS tracking device to a suspect's car. (NPR)
The Staten Island borough president says toll relief for NJ-bound drivers may be on the way. (Staten Island Live)
The long-delayed plan to overhaul the George Washington Bridge Bus Station in northern Manhattan is gaining traction with a flurry of leases for its expanded retail space. (Wall Street Journal)
Flood waters in Bangkok are inching closer to the subway. (CNN)
The architecture critic for the New York Times waxes poetic about bike lanes, writes that the city environment is "an urban glory best absorbed, I have come to realize, from a bike."
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Transportation Nation's Andrea Bernstein posted a great piece that pulls back the political shroud around the battle over bike lanes in Brooklyn. It's a meticulously traced story of how high-profile political players--Senator Charles Schumer's wife, former Giuliani aides, and others--use their status for personal battles.
The lede here is priceless:
Last March, Mayor Michael Bloomberg dined privately with a small group of guests that included his former transportation commissioner, Iris Weinshall, and her husband, the United States Senator, Charles Schumer.
By that time, both Schumer and Weinshall had made known their displeasure over a bike lane that had been built across the street from their home – on Brooklyn’s leafy Prospect Park West.
According to two sources familiar with what was said at that dinner, Schumer asked the mayor: “Can’t you get rid of that lane?”
“You don’t like it?” the mayor responded. A beat. “I’m going to make it twice as wide.”
Thus ensued a political battle wrapped up as a NIMBY issue:
But the clash of two broadly powerful men is typical of the story of the Prospect Park West bike lane story, which was never really about a bike lane. Or rather, it was never only about a bike lane, but rather about the perennial New York City question – who decides what goes where in the densely-packed urban streets we call home, and how they get to decide.
It's well worth reading the entire article here.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
The city has chosen Alta Bike Share to run a 10,000-bike network of one-way, short-term rentals that it says will augment the transit system.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The fight over the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane came to an end when a judge dismissed claims that the city failed to go through proper channels when it installed the two-way protected path.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
UPDATED with analysis: Stephen Goldsmith, the Deputy Mayor who oversees the NYC DOT, is leaving after just over a year on the job. Goldsmith will be pursuing unnamed "private-sector opportunities in infrastructure finance."
Goldsmith, the former Republican Mayor of Indianapolis, was always seen as an ideas man, someone who could help the city think its way through problems like how to deliver services more cheaply. Goldsmith tended to chew on -- and address -- problems like back-office duplication, how much the city spends on gasoline, and whether the threat of increased fees could prompt people to recycle, save water, or leave their cars at home.
But the Deputy Mayor for Operations is also responsible for things like garbage pick-up and Goldsmith never seemed to easily slip into that role, unlike his predecessor, Ed Skylar, whoalways seemed to have his fingers on the trigger of his blackberry when it came to operating the city.
Under Goldsmith's watch there was a scaling-back of some Bloomberg transportation initiatives, like protected bike lanes that were to run all the way up First and Second Avenue to Harlem (which Goldsmith addressed in a interview with us here) and a true, physically-segregated Bus Rapid Transit on 34th street. The bikes now stop in midtown, and the BRT won't be built.
To be sure, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has received strong push-back on his transportation initiatives during the period when Goldsmith was Deputy Mayor, and its possible those projects would have been curtailed no matter which Deputy Mayor was overseeing them.
Any criticism the Mayor received about bike lanes (which remain extremely popular) paled compared to what the Mayor heard after mishandling of a December blizzard left buses stranded and streets unplowed for days, responsibilities that had been part of Goldsmith's portfolio. Both men were out of town as the blizzard began.
Goldsmith is being succeeded by Caswell Holloway, the Commissioner of the City Department of Environmental Protection
Here's the press release from NYC City Hall.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today appointed Caswell F. Holloway, who has served as the City’s Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection since 2010, Deputy Mayor for Operations. Holloway replaces Stephen Goldsmith, who is leaving to pursue private-sector opportunities in infrastructure finance.
“As New Yorkers, we were extraordinarily lucky to have Steve Goldsmith make our City government more innovative and efficient,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Just as he did at DEP, Cas Holloway is going to jump right in, and build on everything that Steve has been able to accomplish and continue the progress he has made in reforming our government and making it work better.”
“This week, I informed the Mayor of my decision to resign my job as Deputy Mayor of Operations,” said Deputy Mayor Goldsmith. “This job has been a special opportunity to contribute to the City of New York and further the substantial accomplishments of Mayor Bloomberg. I am proud of the work we have done over the last year to pass an aggressive budget, and put in place the foundation and plans for dozens of initiatives and best practices that will dramatically further customer service and cost savings in the City. Over the last month, I received important overtures in an area with which I have long been associated – infrastructure finance.
“After thirty years of long hours in public service, the change will provide me, at age 64, with more flexibility for me and my family and a secure foundation for our future. In addition, I intend to continue my academic work and the school year is about to start. Now that we have the ball rolling on our initiatives, I am comfortable that the person taking over for me will do an exceptional job moving things forward. Cas is not just a colleague, but a friend and a person who I trust to take over for me, and whose talents are among the most exceptional I have seen in my public career. He has developed a career in New York, and will accelerate the agenda and build on the progress we have made. It has been a unique honor to be part of the high performing Bloomberg team. City Hall and the agencies are truly alive with the spirit of service and innovation.”
“I am proud of everything we have done at DEP to advance Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to strengthen our infrastructure, protect our world-renowned drinking water, and make New York City a model for new sustainability approaches, like green infrastructure,” said Deputy Mayor Holloway. “I’m thrilled and honored at the opportunity to come back to City Hall and work even more closely with Mayor Bloomberg on the issues that are so important to the daily lives of New Yorkers. Building on the foundation Steve Goldsmith has built, we will continue to transform City services to ensure that government is doing all it can to work efficiently and effectively for the millions of people who live and work in New York City.”
As Deputy Mayor for Operations, Stephen Goldsmith spearheaded the creation of Mayor Bloomberg’s “NYC Simplicity” agenda, which seeks to transform New York City government to make it more customer-focused, innovative and efficient. As part of NYC Simplicity, Goldsmith launched the City’s shared services initiative, which will save the City $500 million by 2013 through the consolidation of back-office operations such as fleet, real estate and information technology. He developed new programs to improve customer service, such as “Get It Done. Together,” in which the Department of Buildings consolidated approvals and extended hours of operation to speed the approval process, as well as the NYC Business Acceleration team, which will create true one-stop shopping and coordinated inspections for small business owners.
Under Deputy Mayor Goldsmith, the City created new methods to interact with the public and its employees, including “Change By Us” – the City’s new online platform that will enable New Yorkers to team up to transform their own communities. Goldsmith oversaw the development of the update to PlaNYC, including the creation of the City’s Clean Heat program, which will eliminate the use of the most polluting grade of heating oil – No. 6 fuel oil – in the city and accelerate the deployment of new natural gas infrastructure. Goldsmith also was tasked with piloting some of the City’s most complex technology projects.
He also took the reins of CityTime, the City’s automated payroll system, which has now been successfully deployed to nearly the entire targeted workforce. Similarly, Goldsmith created the City’s Office of Emergency Communications, which has made significant strides in implementing the City’s Emergency Communications Transformation Project and reduced the cost of the construction of the City’s Public Safety Answering Center in Bronx by more than $100 million.
As Commissioner, Cas Holloway has significantly cut costs at DEP while improving customer service, reduced planned water rate increases to their lowest levels in years, developed a ground-breaking green infrastructure plan to capture rain water, reduce sewer overflows and save the City $2 billion over 20 years and he ended 15 year-old labor disputes that were hampering the city’s ability to conduct operations effectively.
Prior to serving as DEP Commissioner, Holloway served as Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler and as Special Advisor to Mayor Bloomberg. Holloway took a leading role in the writing and implementation of the Administration’s report on the health impacts of September 11th and led negotiations on 9/11 health legislation that was signed by President Obama. Following the tragic fire at 130 Liberty Street, he led a comprehensive review of abatement and demolition operations that resulted in an overhaul of the asbestos abatement process. He also played a lead role in developing the City’s comprehensive cleanup plan for the Gowanus Canal, and in the passage and implementation of the City’s Solid Waste Management Plan.
Deputy Mayor Holloway graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College and graduated with honors from University of Chicago Law School. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Deputy Mayor Holloway was an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and served as law clerk to Judge Dennis G. Jacobs, now Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prior to Law School, Deputy Mayor Holloway also served as Chief of Staff at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. He lives in Brooklyn Heights with his wife, Jessica.
Monday, July 25, 2011
By Kate Hinds
TN readers: here's your summer assignment: while you're vacationing this summer, take a picture of what you think is a good representation of a transportation mode, wherever you happen to be.
We're interested in seeing what strikes you about transportation and transit in other places. Are the street signs clear? How's the boat traffic? Are the taxis wheelchair-friendly?
Can you easily get a stroller onto a bus? Are there two-way protected bike lanes? And yes, for those of you remaining chez vous this summer, submissions from your staycation are allowed.
Email your pictures to transponation@ gmail.com by midnight on Labor Day (Monday, September 5) with a brief description of your photo, including your name and where and when the picture was taken.
We'll be posting highlights from your submissions. The winning photo will be announced after Labor Day and the photographer will receive a WNYC Chico sling bag.
And have a happy TranspoVacation!
US Report: Young People Like Bike Lanes, Sidewalks and Transit, but Everyone Likes Highways and Parking
Monday, July 18, 2011
A new report by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics finds significantly more young people think sidewalks, bike lanes, and local transit are important to quality of life than do older people. But the survey on attitudes about transportation found that all Americans find "major roads or highways," and "adequate parking in the downtown or business district" the most important element of "livable communities."
Ninety-two percent of 18-34 year-olds found sidewalks important, compared to 73 percent of Americans 65 and older. The gap was equally as wide on bike lanes -- with 73.8 percent of younger Americans saying they're important, compared with 51.9 percent of senior citizens. On transit, there was a smaller but still hefty 14-point gap, 80.5 to 66.2 percent.
But 95.9 percent of younger Americans found major roads important and 91.5 percent of older Americans did, a much smaller differential.
Still, the survey findings represent a significant generational shift in attitudes about biking, walking, and transit. Last year, Ad Age magazine documented a palpable change in driving habits among young people. Ad Age showed the number of American teens with drivers licenses has dropped since 1978 from half of all 16-year-olds to just a third, and from 92 to 77 percent of 19-year-olds.
The BTS findings, which reflect a new set of questions in the BTS' Omnibus Household Survey (OHS), were derived from a sample of about 1,000 households in 2009. According to the report, "survey participants were asked to rate how important several transportation options or features were to have in their community, such as highway access, transit service, and bike lanes. "
"Livability" has come to have a certain set of meanings in the Obama administration, which include, at the top, access to more transportation choices. But in the American psyche, livability continues to mean having major roads and downtown parking. Over 94 percent of Americans ranked "major roads or highways that access and serve your community" as important, with "adequate parking in the downtown or central business district" second most important, chosen by 89 percent of those surveyed.
Nevertheless, "sidewalks, paths or other safe walking routes to shopping, work, or school," and "pedestrian-friendly streets or boulevards in the downtown or central business district" were next most important, with 85.2 and 85.0 percent of Americans, respectively, ranking those services as important. "Easy access to airport" was fifth most important, at 83.2 percent.
Generational shifts can be difficult to interpret. In general, voter attitudes tend to track age -- and people's opinions change as they get older. So, for example, older voters tend to be more fiscally conservative and more anti-crime than younger voters.
But there was a huge exception to that rule recently. On gay marriage, voters have held on to their beliefs even as they age, so that as the a startlingly higher percentage of Americans support gay marriage today than did a decade ago. New York recently voted to legalize gay marriage.
The report also found gender shifts, with women generally ranking "pedestrian friendly" streets and sidewalks more highly than men.
The BTS survey of perceptions was added to its roster of reports, which tend to include things like counts of airline employees or freight cargo weight.
TN MOVING STORIES: Reaction to Republican Transpo Bill, Auto Towns Adding Jobs, and Chicago Will Have One Transit Card To Rule Them All
Friday, July 08, 2011
By Kate Hinds
By 2015, the Chicago region's three transit agencies will have a universal transit card system. (Chicago Tribune)
Atlanta whittled down its transportation wish-list -- but still has more cutting to do. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Where are the jobs in the US? In auto manufacturing towns. (Marketplace)
The New York Post reacts strongly to the new bike lanes being constructed on Manhattan's East Side.
Monthly parking in Manhattan is the most expensive in the country. (AP via WFUV)
This morning at 11am, you can watch the final shuttle launch (weather permitting) -- and chat about it -- at WNYC.
Check out this bike safety-lighting idea. (Greater Greater Washington)
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Work began Tuesday on a pair of bike lanes on Manhattan's First and Second Avenues.
According to a flyer distributed by the New York City Department of Transportation, a parking-protected bicycle path and left-turn lanes at intersections is being installed on First Avenue between East 34th and East 49th Streets. Further north to 57th Street, a shared bicycle lane is being marked. And on Second Avenue from 34th to 59th Streets, a shared lane is being marked.
There are existing bike lanes on both avenues below 34th Street. (A pdf of the city's biking network is here.)
According to the DOT, the project will take about two months. Right now crews are working on markings to create the new bike path and route on First Avenue. Work will then move to Second Avenue, though there will be times when work crews will be on both avenues simultaneously. Parking regulations have been updated at some locations and additional hours for commercial parking were created along the corridor.
You can see the NYC DOT's flyer on the new bike lanes here.
TN readers: got any photos of the work in progress? Email them to us at transponation (at) gmail.com
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Back in January we reported on a study using local data that found that building bike lanes brought more bang for the buck on job creation than building roads. Now, the original researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute of U. Mass Amherst have expanded that study to 11 cities with the same findings.
"Overall we find that bicycling infrastructure creates the most jobs for a given level of spending: For each $1 million, the cycling projects in this study create a total of 11.4 jobs within the state where the project is located. Pedestrian-only projects create an average of about 10 jobs per $1 million and multi-use trails create nearly as many, at 9.6 jobs per $1 million. ... and road-only projects create the least, with a total of 7.8 jobs per $1 million."
The study says bike lanes generate more jobs per dollar spent because building a bike lane is more labor intensive than building a road. "A greater portion of the spending is used to employ construction workers and engineers, both labor-intensive industries." So, for example, "a bike path which requires a great deal of planning and design will generate more jobs for a given level of spending than a road project which requires a greater proportion of heavily mechanized construction equipment and relatively less planning and design."
They study adds that a greater proportion of road spending "leaks" out of state for supplies.
These findings are already being used by advocates like America Bikes and the League of American Bicyclists to argue for more bike lanes, and to steer tight infrastructure dollars toward bike plans at a time when an increasingly effective argument for spending on road repair is not disrepair but job creation.
TN MOVING STORIES: NYC Cabbies Protest Outer-Borough Livery Cab Proposal -- Arlington Prepares for Transit Revitalization -- Win The Stanley Cup, Set Transit Ri
Saturday, June 18, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Opinions are mixed over Arlington's Columbia Pike, a planned streetcar corridor. (WAMU)
Mayor Bloomberg's outer borough livery cab street hail plan goes to Albany. (Wall Street Journal)
Meanwhile, NYC cabbies are protesting that plan. (AM NY)
NJ Governor Christie's Energy Master Plan draft "barely mentions transportation," according to a columnist. (Times of Trenton)
Both Illinois senators are pushing opposing agendas over public-private partnerships for transportation. (Chicago Tribune)
Adults can learn to ride bikes, too. (New York Times)
A guest columnist in the New York Daily News -- who lost her husband in a car-on-bike collision -- writes that the city's bike lanes are "vital and corrective" and will save lives.
According to one journalist, entertainment on the NYC subway is "a combination of 'America's Got Talent,' 'The Gong Show', and 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'" (NY Daily News)
Win the Stanley Cup, set transit ridership records. (WCVB - Boston)
Thursday, June 09, 2011
By Kate Hinds
(Transportation Nation) A New York-bike-ticket-protest-video has been making the internet rounds (and we reported on how TN producer Alex Goldmark makes an auditory cameo), and this morning it collided with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The mayor was in East Harlem this morning to announce a plan to install free Wi-Fi in 26 city parks. In the Q&A afterwards he fielded questions on a range of issues from Anthony Weiner to pension reform to Alec Baldwin's purported mayoral run. But the journalist posing the last question asked the mayor about the video, which filmmaker Casey Neistat made following his being ticketed for not riding in a bike lane. You can listen to the question and the mayor's response here; a transcript follows.
Mayor Bloomberg (responding to whether or not it is fair to ticket a cyclist for not riding in a bike lane if the lanes are encumbered):
There’s nothing fair in life. But the bottom line, is every once in a while, I don’t know if we gave a ticket out that we shouldn’t have, I haven’t seen the video, but generally speaking, you have to obey the laws. And I think there’s a lot of people in the city who love to ride bicycles and we’re trying to accommodate them just like we’re trying to accommodate the people that want to walk on the sidewalks, cross the streets, just like we’re trying to accommodate those people who want to drive their cars. You have to obey the law. If you don’t obey the law you’re not going to have the rights to do things that you want to do, and bicyclists are just as required to obey the laws as anybody else, the police can’t spend all their time going after anybody that breaks the law. Generally speaking bicyclists are going to stay in bicycle lanes because of public pressure, the same ways that smokers aren’t going to smoke in this park, we’re not going to give out tickets, it’s public pressure -- the same way you pay your taxes. Most people in America, unlike other places in the world, pay their taxes, and that lets us go after the handful that don’t. If nobody paid their taxes – and you have that in some countries, it’s a very difficult problem for government. Thank you very much.
Transportation Nation looked at New York City law and bike lanes -- and whether riders are legally obligated to ride in them -- in this post.
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
(Transportation Nation) I'm not sure if I'm flattered that someone who crashes into things for fun decided to include me (or my voice) in his protest video. But I have to admit I laughed out loud.
Here's a video from Casey Neistat, professional viral video maker (of the Niestat Brothers show on HBO). In it, he films himself getting a ticket for not riding in the bike lane in NYC--a story we broke here on Transportation Nation.
Then ... spoiler alert, stop reading if you want the full effect in the video ... to demonstrate why a cyclist in New York City might need to ride outside the bike lane, he proceeds to crash into anything and everything that blocks a bike lane from construction barricades, to trucks to ... well, just watch till the end. In the middle of the cringe-inducing bike lane bedlam, the video cuts to a radio segment from WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show in which I was the guest discussing our mapping project on the scale and scope of NYC bike ticketing.
By the way, our reporting shows it is not a violation to ride outside a bike lane in New York. That misconception comes from state code in VTL 1234, posted here, which does not apply in New York City.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
FROM THE ARCHIVES -- I wrote this two years ago, as Anthony Weiner's political career was unraveling (but before he'd resigned.) But as he's making moves to get into the race again, seemed like a good time to surface it.