When I think of the acronym PAC or Political Action Commitee, I think of guys like this:
Sheldon Adelson, billionaire casino magnet who was one of the largest campaign funders to a super PAC for Mitt Romney’s loosing campaign. Ah, money can’t buy everything.
Then I think of this great political folly by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
Often I find myself in political discussion about the cycling landscape in NYC and desperately trying to defend myself against rants of an enraged motorist who feels all of the cities traffic problems are somehow the fault of too many cyclists with too much infrastructure that they don’t even bother to use. Some where in the malaise of debate or more like argument, I begin to drift off in thought and wonder, Gee, wouldn’t it be great if we had some kind of political muscle that could advocate for cyclists rights to the road and even influence political candidates. Perhaps even creating a bicycle party that could strictly fight for cyclist and pedestrians rights and safer, more livable streets.
StreetsPAC is a political action committee dedicated to improving the safety, mobility and livability of one of New York City’s greatest assets: its streets. The space between buildings, including sidewalks, roads and plazas, account for the majority of all public space in the five boroughs, and are a precious resource to be used and enjoyed by all.
Founded by a team of the city’s most committed advocates, StreetsPAC supports candidates who demonstrate unwavering devotion to the expansion of traffic-calming infrastructure such as neighborhood slow zones, pedestrian plazas, and bike lanes; increased and improved transit access for all New Yorkers; more thorough crash investigations; and better enforcement of traffic laws.
StreetsPAC is registered with the New York State Board of Elections and the New York City Campaign Finance Board.
Just recently launched, StreetsPAC may not be a huge financial influence, but will hopefully be powerful as a voting block of concerned NYC citizens who want safer streets and a more livable city, as well as holding local politician accountable when their demands are not met. According to streetsblog, their first goal is: “focusing on the City Council, especially those districts where grassroots support for livable streets is not reflected in the positions of elected officials. This year, there will be elections for all 51 council districts, including 18 open seats.”
StreetsPAC board members are comprised of hard working citizens who have had a great deal of experience working with the city council and on their own local community boards. People like, Doug Gordon ( Brooklynspoke.com ), Hilda Cohen, Dave ‘Paco’ Abraham, Mike Epstein, Aaron Naparstek (founder of streetsblog.org ) and lawyer Steve Vaccaro.
Track Or Die NYC Presents: The Spring Formal – our own spin on “The Drag Race.” A stylish way to kick off the spring! This will be a 7-checkpoint alleycat through NYC. Criteria for the race: Fellas must put together the most raunchy & eye appealing female attire to race in – don’t be afraid to show some skin. Ladies must draw/wear a mustache or beard and dress accordingly – i. e. not just a t-shirt. Cash prize & swag for the winner. Special prize for the best outfit of the day. Registration: $5 Yes, there will be Spring Formal spokecards at the finish line.
Remember a few weeks back the New York police department wanted to change the status of the 5 boro bike tour to a non-charitable event? The rationale was basically for the police to charge Bike New York, who runs this hugely popular group ride, close to a millions dollars to effectively “do-their-job”, of closing streets and ensuring the safety of 32,000 cyclists traveling through all five boroughs. This would basically wipe out the organizations entire budget which it uses the money it raises to give back to the community with many other free rides and adult bicycle education…quite charitable actually. Manhattan judge, Margarette Chan agreed and said: ““Some issues in promoting this tour may be questions for the IRS, but I don’t think it’s a question for the police department. Bike New York does charitable work … The way they’re raising money isn’t to your liking.” The event was spared the fee and now the show will go on, sort of.
Well cut forward to a couple of senseless Chechnyan brothers on a terror rampage and now the NYPD is “all about safety” at large public gatherings. The latest is they have put in place some new restrictions on the five boro bike tour including no hydration packs, backpacks or saddle bags. Here is a recent update from Gothamist:
5 Boro Bike Tour Bans Backpacks, For Safety
By: Lauren Evans
April 26th, 2013 Photo from Bitchcakes flickr.
We’ve been wondering how the 5 Boro Bike Tour, for which 32,000 cyclists will pour onto city streets next Sunday, will handle its security in light of the Boston Marathon bombings. Today, we got our answer: No backpacks, no saddlebags and NO hydration packs, a statement from organizers Bike New York says.
We don’t even know what a hydration pack is, but suddenly, we’re just incensed that we can’t have one. (Update: It’s this thing.) Why would the cruel Bike New York overlords take away our freedom to have our thirst quenched like some sort of spandex-clad cycling warrior? Bike New York CEO Ken Podziba told us that the changes were agreed upon by various local, state and federal officials, and that they are an unfortunate necessity to ensure that the event remains safe.
“We’re not happy that we have to impose security measures, but safety is our number one priority,” he said. “I think most riders understand that. We’re not just imposing these restrictions because we feel like it.”
Fanny packs, water bottles and “small bike frame bags” will still be allowed, and Podziba said that bags smaller than 12-by-5 inches are also acceptable, even if they’re backpack shaped. Podziba also assured us that the route features frequent rest areas at which riders can fill up their water bottles. Another change from years past is that family, friends and total strangers will not be allowed to congregate at the Staten Island finish line, meaning that cyclists will be forced to awkwardly cheer for themselves.
Now I understand the NYPD heightening security in regards to the bombing at the Boston Marathon, but who exactly are they protecting? Certainly not the participants from hydrating themselves. Remember 2011, when the tour route was mismanaged and the participants were stuck on various parts of the ride? This was also the year Bike New York didn’t have enough free food and water at their rest stops. So it seems a bit ridiculous to deny the riders themselves the ability to have their own stuff. I seem to remember the Boston bombing came from spectators, so unless the NYPD is planning on banning all those along the side lines, these new restrictions seem a bit unnecessary. It should be noted that riders are allowed fanny packs and small frame mounted bags, so pack accordingly…I guess this means no small children will be on the ride cause judging from experience with a 4 1/2 year old…you need more snacks that can fit in a fanny pack. Guess the terrorists won this one.
I also think it’s worth pointing out that in other terrorist attacks or near misses, restrictions are the first thing put in place. The liquid bomber, no liquids on planes. The shoe bomber, take your shoes off at airport security. Now with the Boston Bombing, new scrutiny at active events like marathons and group rides. Yet when people die in shootings at a batman movie or elementary school kids die such as Sandy Hook, our government can’t even pass the weakest of gun reform.
Yes, it’s true, I’m super psyched about bike sharing coming to NYC. Mainly because it puts more people on bicycles and is another viable transportation option, getting my home town one step closer to those other cool cities that have bike sharing, like Paris, Barcelona, Washington, DC and of course Boston.
But the best had to be the Bike Snob, who recently broke down some of the biggest complaints of the bike sharing program that has already started to piss-off New Yorkers with just the mere sight of all the bike sharing stations. I especially enjoyed the comparison that some Brooklyn residents don’t want corporate logos defacing their precious neighborhoods, as some sort of dig against bike sharing being sponsored by Citibank, but have no problem with diaperless babies taking a crap all over the place.
Seen in Fort Greene: colorful products made by massive global corporations, stored by private owners on the public right of way.
Well, they apparently haven’t been convinced that public bikes belong on the street as much as private cars. Someone even felt entitled enough to deface Citi Bike stations with bike-share-hating flyers. Another small fraction of curb space could become useful to the car-free majority of residents — perish the thought!
The anti-bike-share crowd has been lobbying Council Member Tish James to remove stations in the neighborhood, and James is holding a public forum about bike-share on Wednesday evening. Whether you plan to use bike-share yourself or you just want to see the system succeed, if you live in Fort Greene or Clinton Hill this is an important one to turn out for. Otherwise, this is the message that’s going to come through the loudest:
Hey man I just had my bike stolen right by Washington square park and am furious about it and figured I would try to put the word out quick. I caught him doing it but wasn’t able to catch him. If there’s any way you could put the word out to keep an eye out for an all black eighth inch manifest track bike I’d really appreciate it! My name is nick miller and my number is (347) 546-6662. Thanks a ton man fuck bike thieves!
An article about this past Sunday, 8th annual memorial ride.
Photos: 20 More “Ghost Bikes” To Remember Killed Cyclists
By: John Del Signore
April 22nd, 2013 Photos by: Andrew Hinderaker/Ghost Bike Project
The Eighth Annual Memorial Ride for cyclists and pedestrians killed in traffic collisions in NYC was held yesterday, with participants pausing at twenty more sobering “ghost bikes” that have been added to our urban landscape in the past year. 136 pedestrians and 18 bicyclists were killed in crashes 2012, compared to 134 pedestrians and 22 bicyclists killed in 2011. (So far this year, at least two cyclists have been killed in traffic collisions.) Yesterday’s Memorial Ride attempted to draw focus to Queens, which organizers say is desperately in need of safety improvements.
Perhaps you are concerned about Manhattan restaurant owner, 68 year old Jacques Capsouto.
Last week he staged a heroic sit-in of one reminiscent of the blockades of the Keystone XL pipeline and those hippies trying to stop stupid things like toxic Exxon tar sands oil destroying entire neighborhoods.
He tried to stop a station from being installed in front of his business, worried that customers would lose valuable parking spaces. This leaves us rather perplexed. Why can’t people who ride bikes go to his place? He must have some kind of valet to save his customers on parking. I guess the French faire of Saucisson De Lyon En Croute and Escargots only appeals to carbon polluters.
Streetsblog was concerned about Jacques, so they set up a poll:
When Will Jacques Capsouto Come to Embrace Bike-Share?
“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life…”The Fifth Day
Moving on bicycles of course.
Don’t forget to get blessed at the annual Blessing of the Bikes, this Sunday (4/21/13) at Saint John the Devine.
All denominations welcome…track, road, hybrid…yes even recumbent.
Here is more from DNAinfo:
Hundreds Of Riders Set To Have Their Bikes Blessed At St. John The Divine Updated
By: Emily Frost
April 19th, 2013
UPPER WEST SIDE — Some 300 cyclists from across the city and beyond will convene Saturday morning at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to have their bikes blessed by a Cathedral minister.
“We find that some people take it very seriously, some people think it’s all a big joke and some people are deeply offended,” said founder Glen Goldstein, 53.
The Rev. Julia Whitworth, who will sprinkle each bike with holy water inside the cathedral Saturday at 9 a.m., said she was excited for the biking community to turn out for the ceremony.