In the federal government, the Democrats and Republicans have divided themselves further away, bickering over tax breaks for billionaires and mandatory health reform. Big government, small government, let’s just fight and hold the financial future of hard working Americans hostage until Sarah Palin is done with her reality show and can figure out how to pull off an election campaign in 2012, or at least see Russia from her house. After all, she’s still super hot and now we’ve seen her raise a family and shoot bears.
I mean we can always print more money to bail out the banks that got us into this mess…but extend unemployment? Is that socialism?
Here in NYC, we’ve got much more important issues to worry about…No not why a woman without a master’s degree in education was given a waiver to become schools chancellor,…No, a much more devastating threat to our cities health and safety…
Like the tax debate, this issue has divided out civic government into two groups.
On one side of the isle, you have the Pro-bike-lane-lets-make-NYC-more-livable-and green people of the DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn and on the other side its the: Lets-make-NYC-more-livable-and-green-so-long-as-cars-don’t-have-to-slow-down-and-loose-parking-spots, being lead by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
Marty’s up in arms. No NOT about proposed bike infrastructure that hasn’t been approved by local community boards and then constructed, but rather one that has been in place already and being used on a daily basis by strollers, joggers and even cyclists. We’re talking about Prospect Park West and the separated 2 way bike lane with the fresh coat of green paint. More than just one specific lane, this is anger is reflective of the direction of the city to create more room for cyclists to ride.
Last Friday, the City Council’s committee on Transportation decided to have a hearing to bring Janette Sadik-Kahn to task and have her explain herself in putting in all these new bike lanes. As if they hadn’t gotten the memo on the direction of Mayor Bloomberg’s appointee and acting as if the DOT commissioner was just secretly painting bike lanes randomly, in the middle of the night.
They committee wanted to get some public input as well and allowed people to testify…well sort of.
Mostly it was former politicians who got to jump the big line of people there early and be able to speak for way longer then the time permitted, like former deputy mayor Norman Steisel, Who?
Marty took all of this very seriously and condensed his viewpoints into a Christmas carol which he sang for the committee.
Ok, I know, MY FAVORITE THINGS is not a Christmas song.
Janette Sadik-Kahn did get to explain the bike lanes program and came loaded with all kinds of facts and figures demonstrating the effectiveness of the bike lanes in NYC such as a three year growth in cycling.
Speaking to this, was one Marcus Wollen who told the crowd he’d loosed 30 pounds this year by riding his bicycle.
By the time the general public was allowed to speak for their allotted time limit of 2 minutes, around 2:00pm (they’d been there since 9am) most of the committee had left…so much for civic input from the public.
One person did manage to share his viewpoints which was equated in Streetsblog, last week.
Joanna Oltman Smith,
I want to thank Chairman Vacca and his staff for todayâ€™s lesson in how our democracy really works whereby well-connected, powerful, very important citizens representing their own personal opinions get priority and are encouraged to buck the rules of public testimony, while earnest, early-bird, little â€œnobodyâ€ citizens like the rest of us are made to wait for hours. So, I am left to wonder whether the committee, most of which is no longer present, really cares about how we feel about biking in New York?
Read the whole thing here, on Streetsblog.org.
Yesterday, 12/16/10, a group of Time’s Up volunteers wanted to respond to Mr. Markowitz and his lovely rendition from the hearing.
They also wanted to present him with a golden bicycle, as a gift so he could get in touch with reality that people, in Brooklyn love the bike lanes and love to ride their bikes. I mean, no offense Marty, but maybe if you rode a bike instead of bitching about lanes, you could be like Marcus Wollen, lose a few pounds? I know it’s before the new year.
I was in the area so I decided to join in the festivities in Downtown Brooklyn at Borough Hall.
So a few of us, including bike activists who have been hosting “love your lane,” clown rides, dawn we now our gay apparel and sang some goofy carols of our own.
There was Bikes to the World (joy to the world) and Prospect Lanes (jingle bells)
Video to coming soon.
Photographer Adrian Kinloch, was on hand to take some photos in the frigid temperatures.
The whole set can be seen here.
We got our message across to the local press and then spoke with Marty’s chief of staff who talked about his bosses position on the lanes. He also said as much as he’d love to accept the bike for Marty, he wasn’t in the building today and we should donate the bike to a needy kid.
We tried to deliver the bike to Marty’s office but the NYPD had other plans for us and we ended up keeping the bike…until we can find a needy kid and get them to ride in the bike lane.