Thursday, May 31, 2012
For the past six months, a website called Politwoops has been bringing politicians' deleted tweets back to life. Does that mean it's time for them to change their social media strategy?
Friday, September 16, 2011
More than 260 authors and panelists will be in downtown Brooklyn on Sunday for the sixth annual Brooklyn Book Festival. Panels are devoted to a wide range of topics during the day-long free fest. Everything from food politics to the Arab Spring to mystery writing to Mad Libs will be on the table. Here are some of WNYC's festival picks:
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Governor Cuomo was thanking the Federal government for declaring counties in New York as disaster zones. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is doing the opposite, after Kings County was not included:
In Brooklyn, hundreds of trees were knocked down, doing significant damage to cars, homes and infrastructure, and some Brooklynites remain without power. Brooklyn’s low-lying ‘Zone A’ neighborhoods that were evacuated saw significant flooding, including Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Coney Island, Red Hook, DUMBO and Williamsburg. Just yesterday, it was discovered that a section of the BQE may be unstable as a result of storm damage and will need urgent repair. The storm even made landfall at Coney Island.
Given these facts, I am absolutely dumbfounded that federal officials have excluded Kings County from a disaster declaration for public assistance. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg for requesting this help, and hope that FEMA immediately reverses this dreadful decision and includes Brooklyn.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
By Erica Getto
On Thursday night, Aretha Franklin will perform at Coney Island for free as part of Marty Markowitz's Seaside Summer Concert Series.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
The New York Islanders are stuck with the aging Nassau Coliseum after voters rejected a plan this week that would have revamped the arena.
Monday, July 25, 2011
From the AP wire story:
The New York City Conflicts of Interest Board has fined Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz $20,000 for bringing his wife along on official foreign trips without paying for her expenses.
The board's ruling was announced Monday. It says two trips to Turkey and one to the Netherlands were legitimate city business for Markowitz and there was no problem with his accepting the free trips.
But the board found that since the city wouldn't have paid for his wife to accompany him, he shouldn't have accepted travel expenses for her.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz was fined $20,000 for bringing his wife along on official foreign trips without paying for her expenses, the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board announced Monday.
Monday, July 25, 2011
The state's first day of same-sex marriage didn't go off without a hitch--659 of them to be exact (zing!).
Mayor Bloomberg's office announced that one-day record-breaking feat was achieved yesterday as same-sex couples across the city took advantage of the new law.
"Today was a historic day in our City, and we couldn't be prouder that on the first day that everyone in New York City could have their love affirmed in the eyes of the law, we were able to serve everyone,” Mayor Bloomberg said in statement.
Manhattan performed the most ceremonies by far with 365. Brooklyn was in a distant second at 121, and more than half of those couples stopped by Brooklyn Borough Hall and the office of Marty Markowitz, the borough president.
“I wish these couples as much happiness as my wife and I have been blessed to share," Markowitz said in a statement. "This is a historic day in New York, and seeing these newlyweds—their smiles, that twinkle in their eye—that says it all.”
TN MOVING STORIES: Brooklyn Borough President Gets Involved in Bike Lane Suit, and DC Metro Gets Hip to Social Media
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
By Kate Hinds
He said, she said in the Prospect Park West bike lane case: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said that NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan told him the lane was temporary. (New York Post)
"That's not true," says Sadik-Khan on NY1, where she also talks about traffic in Midtown, pedestrian plazas, and crash data.
DC's Metro has launched a major social media initiative to "keep information flowing." (Washington Post)
Chinese airlines are benefiting from delays on the Shanghai-to-Beijing high-speed rail line. (Wall Street Journal)
A terrorist attack on NYC's subways would cripple the city "in ways worse than 9/11." (Associated Press)
Behold the BiPod: a hybrid electric flying car. (Fast Company)
Parking meter rates above 96th Street in Manhattan have climbed. (DNA Info)
Automakers say the Obama Administration's fuel efficiency standards are too high. (Marketplace)
Friday, June 24, 2011
Shakespeare will soon have a new home in downtown Brooklyn. The Theatre for a New Audience broke ground on its new space in the BAM Cultural District on Friday.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Wednesday was the first day of formal court hearings in Brooklyn's Prospect Park West bike lane case (see our coverage here for more information). And as we reported, the judge adjourned the case for a month to give the group suing the city time to review the documents from a Freedom of Information Law request it made.
We are also looking at those documents. Here's the background:
Soon after Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety (NBBL) filed a lawsuit earlier this year seeking the removal of the Prospect Park West bike lane, the group's attorney, Jim Walden, submitted a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request seeking all records AND /emails between New York City Council member Brad Lander and/or his staff and a group of known bike-lane supporters.
In a statement today, Walden said: “We are pleased that Justice Bunyan has given us adequate time to review the FOIL documents - all 691 pages of them – that Councilmember Lander provided the night before today’s hearing. We are confident that we will find even more evidence that will help our case, given the close relationship between Councilmember Lander, DOT, and bike lane lobbyists."
Lander also provided Transportation Nation with copies of the emails.
It's no secret that the Brooklyn councilman is a longtime supporter of the PPW bike lane. He's filed an amicus brief in support of the New York City Department of Transportation (the agency being sued over the lane's installation), and he held a rally outside a Brooklyn courthouse Wednesday morning, just before the hearing. And an initial read of hundreds of pages of email correspondence between Lander and others, including members of Brooklyn's Community Board 6 and various bike advocates, provides a glimpse into Lander's strategy to advocate for the lane: facilitate public displays of support for the lane, make the case that Prospect Park West is now safer for everyone, and keep hammering home the message that both the data -- and the majority of Park Slope residents -- support the lane.
Below, some excerpts of the correspondence.
Following a New York Times profile of embattled city DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Lander moved to quickly mobilize support both at the grassroots level and in City Hall.
3/6/11 email from Brad Lander to Aaron Naparstek (founder of Streetsblog and bike lane advocate) and Paul Steely White (executive director of Transportation Alternatives, also a bike lane supporter):
"Yesterday’s article obviously makes it even more imperative that we (a) win the April CB6 vote on PPW by a large margin, and (b) get the pedestrian islands poured quickly. So we’re planning to treat the next 5 weeks like a mini-political campaign. Looking forward to working with you guys on this. I'm sharing this separately with a very small number of other mutual friends. Please keep it within this very tight circle, and be mindful of what it will look like in court. : - )"
3/7/11 email from Brad Lander to Howard Wolfson (NYC deputy mayor):
"There is very strong majority support for the PPW bike lane in Park Slope….We did an online survey (CM Levin*, CB6, and me), to which over 3,000 people responded. 70% of Park Slopers (including PPW residents, who were evenly split) favor keeping the lane. The calls, letters, emails, hearing & rally turnout, comments on the street, facebook pages, etc all run strongly (about 2 to 1) in favor of the lane. I know this may be different than in other neighborhoods around the city; but, well, it is Park Slope...Assuming that the Community Board votes in favor next month, I'm asking City Hall support DOT (and the community board, and the councilman, and majority sentiment in the neighborhood) on this one."
*NYC Council member Stephen Levin
When the bike lane isn’t plowed, no one is happy – not even bike lane opponents.
1/23/11 email from Aaron Naparstek to Brad Lander:
“I’ve been asking around trying to figure out who is responsible for the PPW bike lane not being plowed for the second time in the last few weeks. I assumed it was Steisel* talking to some old friends in Sanitation. Tupper** – very off the record – says Marty*** has insisted that the PPW bike lane be the last street in Brooklyn that gets plowed and, for some reason, Sanitation is complying. Apparently not even Norman is happy with this. Tupper first asked Steisel if the lack of plowing was his doing. He said that the lack of plowing has actually made it harder for him to access his car and he doesn’t like it either.”
*Norman Steisel, former Deputy Mayor, former Sanitation Commissioner and member of Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes
** probably Tupper Thomas, the former head of the Prospect Park Alliance
*** Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President
Even if a few parking spaces are returned, the bike lane still probably won’t please the borough president:
2/7/11 email from Brad Lander to David Woloch (deputy commissioner of external affairs for the NYC Department of Transportation):
“I’m waiting for a response from Carlo* on whether Boro Hall will take part in my ‘let’s find a few parking space’ exercise. I was clear with him that the goal is to have it included in the CB6 resolution in favor of pouring concrete, but that Marty would of course be free to fulminate against the lanes until the end of time (or his term, whichever comes first).”
* probably Carlo Scissura, Marty Markowitz's chief of staff
About that survey: bike lane opponents were concerned about who would participate.
10/18/10 email from Lois Carswell (member of Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes) to Craig Hammerman (district manager of Brooklyn's Community Board 6); cc: Brad Lander
“But the larger concern is that anyone, anywhere can participate and receive consideration. The bike lobby is extremely well financed and organized. At the push of a button they can elicit hundreds if not thousands of responses from people who have never – and will never – cross the Brooklyn Bridge. This is something that is basically impossible to check. It is one thing to say that park users who do not like in Park Slope deserve to be heard, but to allow well organized bikers from anywhere in the city who have no intention of ever casting their eyes on Prospect Park West to influence the survey’s outcome is just plain wrong. None of these people have to live with the dangerous, congested conditions and the defacement of a magnificent boulevard that installation of the bike lane has caused. Responses of Park Slope residents—especially those in the Prospect Park West corridor—should be heavily weighted. The others should be heavily discounted, even though they might support the overarching agenda of a bureaucracy which does not have to live with the consequences of its actions.”
Sometimes Lander wanted to keep the more vocal bike lane supporters out of the spotlight:
3/8/11 email from Brad Lander to Aaron Naparstek and Paul Steely White (leading up to a press conference on the steps of City Hall):
“Can I make a somewhat sensitive request: For today, I think, it would be better to minimize the ‘radical bike extremists’ part of this story…so while it would indeed be great to have a few people at the presser, I’d like to keep the speaking to Park Slope leaders who have not already been tagged in this light…and I also think it makes sense (though I recognize this will read like a megalomaniac politician) to try to have people who reach out to TA*, Aaron, Streetsblog instead talk to me, Michael Cairl**, etc. (Sorry! I hope you know this is for the cause.”)
* Transportation Alternatives
** Michael Cairl is the president of the Park Slope Civic Council
Lander felt that opponents weren't just reacting to the bike lanes.
12/12/10 email from Brad Lander to Aaron Naparstek:
“On the one hand, there is a strong outer borough populist strain, which is what I think is strongest in the opposition, and lumps bikes, Bloomberg, Park Slope/UWS*, congestion pricing all in one big lump. SO it doesn’t help us much with this crowd that there is support in Park Slope for PPW. (And this is why I think it is hard to make Marty feel any pain on this: for him, culturally, this is an extension of the Atlantic Yards debate.)”
* Upper West Side of Manhattan
1/22/11 email from Brad Lander to Aaron Naparstek:
“Backlash is definitely more organic than that. Jimmy Oddo & Eric Ulrich & Lew Fidler & Dov Hikind & Jimmy Vacca* are all acting on their own here, none influenced by PPW. I think CQ** is very unlikely to get involved. It’s not only the physical manifestation of Bloomberg (though it is very much that), but it also links the things they hate about Bloomberg with the things they hate about Park/Slope/Upper West Side/liberals.”
* all are members of the New York City Council
** Christine Quinn, the Council speaker
It's not easy being one of the only elected officials who vocally supports the bike lane.
Despite his position as a bike lane standard bearer, at one point Lander seemed to be a bit piqued when he felt Transportation Alternatives had misrepresented his position on the bike lane as being lukewarm -- as shown in this 7/15/10 email from Brad Lander to Paul Steely White:
"We're very glad to get the pro-bike calls on the bike lanes, so that we will be able to report accurately that the calls are running strongly in favor of the bike lanes. But I wouldn't mind also getting a bit of credit with the TA crowd for being the only elected official who's been willing to stand up in support of this. Yes, I've tried to cover my flank a bit by asking for the data from the study period, and have tried to engage the NIMFY's* in an open spirit...but in every communication I've been straightforward about my support...so I certainly have not been winning any love from them! And as the only elected official I know of who's been willing to clearly express support...I'm taking plenty of their fire."
* Not In My Front Yard
And remember: other eyes may be reading.
3/9/11 email from Brad Lander to Eric McClure (founder of Park Slope Neighbors and a bike lane supporter), Aaron Naparstek, Benjamin Fried (editor of Streetsblog), Paul Steely White, Michael Freedman-Schnapp and Rachel Goodman (latter two are staffers in Lander's office):
"One thing it made us fairly certain of: this email chain will be subpoenaed!"
3/11/11 email from Brad Lander to Paul Steely White:
"I'm optimistic, but not taking anything for granted. I've been talking with CB6 (and transportation committee members, and will keep doing so, over the next week until the committee vote, and over the next month until the CB6 vote...NBBL may, of course, also reach out to CB6 members, but I think all are very clear that the 'alternative' is no 'compromise' but in fact the elimination of the bike lane. We are working with CB6 on the 'find a few more parking spots' plan, which I think (rightly) has a much better chance of being seen as an appropriate additional modification to address some of the PPW resident concerns....
PS: Hello Jim Walden!”
Monday, May 23, 2011
By Marlon Bishop : WNYC Culture Producer
Looks like Marty Markowitz’s epic battle against two Coney Island synagogues is over -- for now.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
By Kate Hinds
WNYC's Kathleen Horan is reporting the Taxi of Tomorrow will be Nissan -- and already there are calls for an investigation of a conflict of interest in the contract-letting. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Assembly member Micah Kellner are calling for an investigation -- their letter to NYC Comptroller John Liu is after the jump. Karsan -- one of the losing entrants (the other was Ford) had promised, if selected, to build its taxis in Brooklyn. It had one of the most intriguing designs (moon roof, sleek lines), but city officials had expressed concerns about the Turkish company's ability to fulfill the contract.
Monday, February 14, 2011
By Richard Yeh : Producer, WNYC News
Brooklyn is about to get a whole lot hoppier.
The ever-popular Brooklyn Brewery says it will increase beer production in the borough tenfold over the next three years, thanks to an $8 million expansion of its facility in Williamsburg.
Friday, February 04, 2011
Controversy over the bike lane began even before it was installed last June. Though the local community board approved the lane, some residents and their supporters were outraged. They said the two-way lane — which is separated from automobile traffic by a row of parked cars — would cause congestion, change the historic character of the leafy boulevard, and make pedestrian crossing dangerous and confusing.
TN Moving Stories: MTA Prepares To Go Beyond MetroCard, JetBlue Goes NextGen, and House Transpo Committee Announces ReAuth Road Trip
Thursday, February 03, 2011
By Kate Hinds
A bill will be introduced in Albany today that would give NYC more authority to regulate discount, intercity buses (think BoltBus). State Senator Daniel Squadron told the New York Times that the scramble for curbside space and shifting loading zones, with their potential to confuse customers, had produced an atmosphere akin to the Wild West.
The Toronto Transit Commission has approved a scaled-down plan to cut weekend and late-night service on some bus routes. (CBC News)
The Los Angeles Times has an editorial about the bus lane drama unfolding in that city. "Ever wonder why L.A.'s public transit system seems haphazard, with rail lines that don't go where they're most needed and inadequate bus service? A political battle over bus-only lanes on Wilshire Boulevard serves as an instructive example of the ways the best-designed plans of transit engineers are often thwarted."
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz says the city's cycling policy stigmatizes car owners. From his State of the Borough address: "For the majority of New Yorkers, it is simply not feasible to make bicycles their primary mode of transport. And unfortunately, that's the direction I believe the city's policy is heading. They are trying to stigmatize car owners and get them to abandon their cars, when the fact is, even many bicyclists also own cars. Cycling is no substitute for mass transit. And there are still tens of thousands of Brooklynites who live far from public transportation and who rely on a car to reach their jobs and live their lives." (NY1; video)
In the most extensive effort of its kind in the California Bay Area, the Valley Transportation Authority on Thursday approved a plan to give qualified homeless people in Santa Clara County free bus and light rail rides beginning in April. (Mercury News)
JetBlue goes NextGen: the carrier has signed an agreement to equip as many as 35 planes with satellite-based technology that allows air traffic controllers to see the planes at all times. (Wall Street Journal)
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee announced locations (but not final dates) for a series of national field hearings and public forums on the reauthorization bill. First stop: February 14 in West Virginia. "At least a dozen other sessions across numerous states are currently planned for February 17-25." A list of cities can be found here.
The MTA is preparing for the next generation of MetroCard--or, as Second Avenue Sagas puts it, "the death clock for the MetroCard moves another second toward midnight."
According to the MTA (and the commuter railroad industry), a train that arrives within five minutes and 59 seconds of its scheduled arrival time is not late. But an official advisory council says the MTA should set a higher standard than that. (Gothamist)
The residents of a new urbanist village built around planned light rail (or bus rapid transit) have decided that they don’t actually want the transit their community was designed for. (NRDC/Switchboard)
Did you abandon your car along Lake Shore Drive in this week's blizzard? The city of Chicago is using the web to reunite you with your relocated vehicle. (Jalopnik)
Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: Virginia scales back HOT lanes after lawsuit; Karsan unveils a prototype for NY's Taxi of Tomorrow, and Staten Islanders will get real time bus info by the end of this year.
Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.
Friday, December 10, 2010
The rest of the country has culture wars. New York City has bike lane wars. Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was grilled by city lawmakers this week at a hearing about bike lanes. City officials and members of the public are debating the expansion of the city's bike lane network.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
A new survey of some 3,000 Brooklyn residents finds that, by a three to one margin, residents approve of a two-way protected bike lane along Prospect Park West. That support diminishes to just half, however, when only residents of the boulevard are surveyed.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
By Matthew Schuerman : Editor, WNYC
A team spokesman confirms that the team submitted an application to change its name. But the spokesman wouldn’t specify what the desired name would be or whether it would use “Brooklyn” or “New York” as the geographic name.