Here is his latest article in Huff Post, talking about our local politicians tone-deafness towards real sustainable change and the battle over a bike lane.
The Bike Lane Battle of the Bulge
By: Joel Epstein Communications and public affairs professional and urbanist
Posted: February 18, 2011 06:29 PM
Dear New York:
Watching the bike lane folderol from afar I have to smile at the parallels between the pitched public space and transit battles being fought in frostbitten New York and in my adopted hometown, a sprawling left coast city and county of freeways, mountains, billboards and palm trees. And how appropriate that Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is playing the role of Grand Marshall of the Parade of Cars speeding ahead to take back New York’s streets from pedestrians, bike riders, and drivers adhering to the speed limit.
Marty, as everyone in Brooklyn knows, is a man whose tone-deaf sense of political entitlement led him to use his top aide as a lawyer on his house closing, only paying for the service once the ethics police got wise to the deal. He is the beep, a man who could use some physical activity on New York’s bike lanes and whose body and face were made for cartoonists of the Boss Tweed era at Tammany Hall. Only in New York could a character actor this perfect be given the role of lead gunner for the Axis powers in the dead of Winter Bike Lane Battle of the Bulge. You know of course that BEEP really stands for, “Get out of my way before I roll over you in my city-issued SUV.”
Marty better get his house in order if he’s going to be threatening lawsuits on data done from the DOT on a bike lane.
From the NY Post– Marty faces heat over bias-claim testimony
By RICH CALDER
Last Updated: 5:37 AM, February 22, 2011
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz could find himself in a legal bind over contradictory testimony he and an aide gave in a lawsuit that alleges his office is run like a frat house, The Post has learned.
Markowitz answered “no” when asked whether he knew of complaints of “inappropriate” conduct or discrimination in his office made by Bridget Geary and two other female staffers, according to sworn depositions last year in a sexual-discrimination lawsuit filed by his former communications director, Regina Weiss.
The Beep’s response contradicts the testimony of his longtime ally and former chief of staff, Gregory Atkins, a co-defendant with Markowitz in Weiss’ 2007 suit.
Meanwhile the angry residents and opponents of safe infrastructure for all citizens are calling for a moratorium on all future bike lanes developments as pointed out here by Transportation specialist reporter, Andrea Bernstein:
Prospect Park opponents support moratorium on all bike lanes. (Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes issued a press release yesterday with this headline:
â€œGroups Applaud City Council Legislative Package That Seeks to Report Bike and Pedestrian Accidents; Support Alternative PPW Bike Lane Route, Suspension of New Bike Lane Installation; Call for DOT Meeting.â€
The press release goes on to say:
â€œNeighbors for Better Bike Lanes (NBBL) and Seniors for Safety today applauded City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca and the entire City Council for passing a package of three bills that will, for the first time, report bike and pedestrian accidents. They also support the moratorium, called for by Speaker [Christine] Quinn and Councilman [James]Vacca, on the imposition of new bike lanes until this background data is available online. This is exactly what both groups say was missing on Prospect Park West.â€ (full release after the jump)
There is a large eclectic group of NYC’s cycling community communicating on Twitter. They have been marking their posts with the hashtag #bikenyc, everything from road condition reports, to group rides and linking related news articles.
@noneck, Lara (@bicyclehabitat) from the bike shop Bicycle Habitat on Lafayette in Manhattan, and I decided it would be a great idea to host a meetup and combine the Tech Nurd community with bike Nurds. (photo by: Dmitry Gudkov)
Noneck arranged a meeting space at the software development firm Pivotallabs and around 50 tweeters came out to kick ideas around.
More of these meetings are being planned.
Here are two recaps of the event.
Dmitry Gudkov Last week I attended the inaugural #BikeNYC Tech Meetup, organized by Noel Hidalgo, Lara of Bicycle Habitat, and Michael Green of BikeBlogNYC. The purpose of the meetup was for tech-minded New Yorkers who are also cyclists to meet each other and discuss projects/collaborations to use technology to improve the biking experience in the city. A few of the faces were already familiar to me. Noel, Jonathan, and Scott were previous portrait subjects. A few others I knew from online interactions but had never met in person. Scott has a nice write-up of the proceedings on his CitySpoke blog, so Iâ€™ll just share a couple of photos I snapped at the event. The meetup was held at Pivotal Labs near Union Square â€“ a great venue made that much more welcoming by the free beer and snacks.” (photo by: Dmitry Gudkov)
For those that donâ€™t know, #bikenyc represents a quickly growing twitter group, tweeting and sharing everything bicycle related in New York City. #bikenyc is a combination of petitioners, community builders, bicycle enthusiasts, commuters, bloggers, and if you hadnâ€™t guessed by my title, tech nurds who ride bikes.
Over the weekend I developed a separate page on this blog to deal with the NYPD crackdown on cyclists that they are calling, “Operation Safe Cycle.” Kind of like saying, “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Yeah right. Not safe for your wallet if you get a $270.00 ticket for failing to stop at one of 46 traffic lights in Central Park.
I created the page as a resource for information and as a timeline of events, articles and to monitor the experiences of cyclists as we work our way through this.
*All participants must have bike and helmet for the shoot.
CLIENT: NYC Department of Transportation and Transportation Alternatives
SHOOT DATE: 1/2 day either February 26th or 27th (weekend)
SHOOT LOCATION: Neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens
RATE: All volunteer, no financial compensation.
USAGE: Ads to appear in subways, bus shelters, and phone kiosks, bike month calendar events and internet. All usage is strictly to promote cycling in New York City only.
WHY: It’s a public service announcement campaign to raise awareness of cycling as a means of transport for commuters by demonstrating that it is fun, safe and easier than ever. Please see last years campaign at: Bikemonthnyc.com.
RESPOND: We are accepting photo submissions now. Respond to this ad and attach a photo of yourself, best if it’s you with your bike and helmet. We will release casting time and location after we receive your submission.
Looks like the city is spending more on pothole repair then bike infrastructure. Latest from Gothamist.
Extra Pothole Filling Costs More Than NYC Bike Lane Budget
By John Del Signore on Feb 17, 2011
For drivers, bad potholes are typically more costly than they are dangerous, but for cyclists they can be deadly. And after our extreme winterâ€”which is most definitely over, no doubt about that, right, eh?â€”many cyclists are returning to the streets to find their commutes pockmarked with new landmines. Thankfully, the DOT is taking the war on potholes seriously, and spending a pretty penny to get the pavement pretty again. Streetsblog crunched the numbers, and you may be surprised to see how much the city is spending compared to, say, bike lanes.
The latest news on the current direction the NYPD and certain city officials are taking towards cyclists is rather endless. I’m striving to make bikeblognyc an archive so I’m compiling news articles into more of a news feed. Here are the latest developments. Not all of this “crackdown news” is negative to cycling…their are some victories in here.
–According to the Wall Street Journal, crime in central park rose 40% in 2010. Why are we focusing the NYPD efforts on ticketing cyclists?
Jan Gehl is a Danish architect and urban design consultant based in Copenhagen whose career has focused on improving the quality of urban life by re-orienting city design towards the pedestrian and cyclist. (from wikipedia.org)
He recently gave a lecture recorded for the Economist conference series about how to make cities more livable. His main point was in hard economic times “we should look after the basic demands for the urban habitat of homosapians.” Jan Gehls examines how previous improvements during bad times of other cities, greatly helped increase productivity and guess what, this includes bicycle infrastructure to vastly improve that quality of life.
You mean like this?
Jan says: “If your sweet to people on the surface…that may be a perfect recipe for being sweet to your economy.” Sweet. Somehow I don’t think this involves giving people $270.00 tickets for blowing lights during auto-free hours in Central Park, call me strange.