Enough is enough. They started an illegal war, they endorse torture and they spy on. This has been the most botched administration in US history and the citizens of the world are paying the price, many with their lives.
There is a massive nationwide movement forming to not let President Bush get away for his actions over the past 7 years.
The movement for impeachment is kicking off with a nationwide day of action April 28th, 2007…see A8.org
Here in NYC, before the Republican National Convention, August 2004, we had a 5,000 biker strong ride…I say we make the numbers even higher.
Bush didn’t need permission to start a war in Iraq which has cost thousands of US soldiers lives, we don’t need permission to Ride.
People are continuing to put their bodies on the line to stop the war.
In Tacoma Washington, demonstrators are trying to block the shipment of miltary equipment that is being sent to Iraq.
Also this week, 23 people were arrested for occupying a miltary recruiting center in Manhattan.
Saturday, March 17th is a massive protest in DC to stop the war. (See flyer above)
Here in NYC check March 19th peace actions for a calender on events including a bike ride on Sunday the 18th…
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Then on Monday, Rally in Wall Street…
Sunday, April 1st is Steve Klein’s Alleycat race with a whopping $1.00 entry fee. Steve is known for sending people miles away looking for the most unkown streets in NYC.
pictures and checkpoints from last year.
The Ides of March – Richmond, VA
article from Amy Landau on her experiences biking in NYC.
The Tao of Cycling
â€œHey, Iâ€™m bikinâ€™ here! Iâ€™m bikinâ€™ here!â€
Those words could have been the immortal words of Dustin Hoffmanâ€™s Ratso Rizzo in â€œMidnight Cowboy,â€ as he smacked that car while crossing the street, had he been a NYC cyclist, rather than a pedestrian. I too, have wanted to smack the hood of every car that put my life in danger while navigating the maze of NYC streets on bike.
Let me back up and say that when I first returned to the cluttered, noisy chaos of NYC, it was the bicycle that saved me. It brought me that delicious sense of freedom, space and power that I craved amidst the frantic combat zone of daily city life. And it also got me from point A to point B without having to wait underground on a dirty subway platform.
I remember the magic of my first bike ride over the bejeweled Brooklyn Bridge at night, an experience which rendered me speechless. The whole city seemed to be laid out just for me through a majestic archway with water gleaming hypnotically below, city skyscrapers dazzling above in a parade of electric color. It was like falling in love with the city all over again. As I whizzed by with the cool air blowing through my hair, my companion remarked that she felt â€œso sad for people who donâ€™t ride bikes in New York.â€ Indeed, the bicycle showed me NY in a way Iâ€™d never experienced it before: it connected me to the cityâ€™s terrain, its actual landscape. And from that moment on, I believed that the bike was virtually the key to New York as it was meant to be experienced.
But now I have reached a latter stage as a NYC cyclist: cynicism has set in, tempering my enthusiasm. Itâ€™s not easy to commute by bike through aggressive NYC traffic on a regular basis. I donâ€™t enjoy having to fend for my life first thing in the morning. I donâ€™t like losing my temper and having to shout, â€œFuck you!â€ to strangers at the top of my lungs. Letâ€™s just say, it shatters my equanimity — which is not a nice thing to happen first thing in the morning.
In addition, I am up against an entire system that seems intent on frustrating me as well as other cyclists and pedestrians. Ever since the 2004 Republican National Convention, the NYPD has repeatedly sought to squelch Critical Mass (the monthly group bike ride that asserts cyclistsâ€™ right to the road) and the rights of protestors, in general, through nasty tactics of arrest, ticketing and sometimes violence. After a few failed attempts, the NYPD finally succeeded in establishing â€œParade Permitâ€ rules. These rules require that groups of 50 â€“ whether on foot, bicycle, or other â€œdevices moved by human powerâ€ â€“ apply for a permit before they can march on any street or roadway. A permit means that an established route must be approved by police ahead of time. Such rules fly in the face of the entire concept of Critical Mass, which is meant to be a spontaneous group ride with no established leader or route. Can you imagine such a requirement for the thousands of cars that jam the roadway? In addition, the city is now considering new restrictions on commercial pedicabs (bicycle-cabs), which would greatly diminish the â€œsafety in numbersâ€ affect of cycling in the city. The issue of cyclistsâ€™ right to the road is such a hot topic in NY right now that an editorial in the New York Times spoke out on the subject, objecting to the initial Parade Permit rules and calling for greater safety measures for cyclists. A less-sympathetic article appeared in the New Yorker, titled â€œHoly Rollers: The Cityâ€™s Bicycle Zealots.â€
New York City itself is a city of contradictions, and perhaps it comes as no surprise that territory would be a constant source of debate here, from real estate to the road itself. On the one hand, NY is, unquestionably, the ideal city for alternative transportation. We are already one of the few cities in the United States with such a developed public transportation system that we can claim the â€œAâ€ train as one of the longest subway lines in the world (running more than 31 miles, from northern Manhattan to Far Rockaway, Queens). The terrain of the city is also relatively flat and easy to navigate, making it ideal for biking. To some degree, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has even begun to recognize the value of cycling to the cityâ€™s well-being â€“ the agency recently announced a plan to add 200 more miles of bike lanes! And this is the ultimate in walk-able cities, right?
Well, not so fast. We are also a city absurdly dominated by the needs of the automobile, from the inside-out. Our city officials, stuck in a 1950s time warp (think: Robert Moses), not only insist on driving, but view their driving privileges as carte blanche for committing routine violations that endanger the public. Whatâ€™s more, even though only 14% of New Yorkers drive personal vehicles through the central business district (midtown), a mistaken belief prevails that NYâ€™s economy depends on the automobile. According to the Partnership for NYC, just the opposite is true: over $13 billion a year gets lost every year due to traffic congestion, and this is merely a conservative estimate, not the toll on the economy in human lives or road repair, for example. Thus, New York, for all its cutting-edge persona, trails behind other modern cities like London, Paris and Copenhagen, who have all addressed their traffic problems through traffic-calming measures such as congestion-pricing, rapid bus-only lanes and divided bike lanes. These cities recognized that traffic harmed not only the cityâ€™s quality of life (air and noise pollution/lack of space for walking and biking) but also placed a tremendous burden on its economy.
So whatâ€™s the good news for NY? I have begun to realize that the contradictions are what make this city so ripe and juicy with possibility. NY has reached that crucial time of change, a crossroads of unprecedented significance for both its future as a livable city and a financial center. I know of two admirable agents of change that are helping to steer NY into the 21st century: â€œTimeâ€™s Up!,â€ a grassroots cycling/environmental advocacy group and Transportation Alternatives (TA), a more mainstream catalyst for improving NYCâ€™s transportation. Both groups blow me away with the intensity of their dedication and imagination. They work toward change in different, yet equally powerful ways, sometimes joining forces, but always retaining distinct identities.
Times Up!, â€œNYCâ€™s direct-action environmental groupâ€ is a radical-minded organization purely made up of volunteers with tentacles that spin out in vastly creative ways, embracing group bike rides, cycling awareness, street art, community gardening, public education and more. This group is on the edgy, renegade side, participating in Critical Masses which assert cyclistsâ€™ rights to the road, engaging in civil disobedience but also raising person-to-person awareness of cycling safety issues. I think of them as â€œthe people.â€ I have participated in their group bike rides, clown bike-lane liberation brigade (you dress up like a clown and pass out â€œticketsâ€ to errant motorists parked in the bike lane) and most notably the 2007 Cyclist Memorial Ride (commemorating cyclist deaths by cars) which they helped organize. By their own account, two of their greatest achievements for 2006 were their increase in public programming and participation and the positive press attention they have received. They were named the â€œBest Activist Organization on Two Wheelsâ€ by the Village Voice. Timeâ€™s Up! also helped start the flourishing commercial pedicab business here which has grown to nearly 500 strong [see page 36 for more photographs that relate to this story].
On the other hand, Transportation Alternatives (TA), â€œthe Advocates for Bicycling, Walking and Sensible Transportation,â€ is made up of young Ivy-leaguers who wear suits and are versed in city politics and diplomacy. They do all the homework to back up their proposals to the city: exhaustive quality-of-life studies (â€œDo neighbors talk to each other on streets with heavy traffic?â€) and more. They invite city planners like Jan Gehl from Copenhagen to speak in NY, help produce innovative films like â€œContested Streets,â€ [stay tuned for the review in next issue as well as the screening of the film during the Bike Film Festival in both SB and SLO] and make proposals to the DOT and the mayor for traffic-calming measures, etc. Their influence as a respected voice of change is mirrored in their regular mention in the New York Times. I have participated in their â€œCar-free Central Parkâ€ rallies, attended their panels and helped distribute outreach flyers for their committees in my community. Among their achievements has been the securing of pedestrian and bicycling paths on all East River bridges (for the first time in 50 years) and a complete 10-mile-long Hudson River greenway (car-free pedestrian/bike path).
In terms of city infrastructure, the latest, breaking news is that sinister Chief Bruce Smolka of the NYPD (the borough commander of midtown Manhattan) and long-time nemesis of Critical Mass, has stepped down, much to the jubilation of cyclists and civil rights activists everywhere. Add to this that the DOT commissioner of six years (Iris Weinshall) has just resigned, and you might begin to see why I can picture a more cyclist-friendly NYC on the horizon. Most of all, itâ€™s the dynamic work of Timeâ€™s Up! and TA that encourage me to believe that NY has indeed entered a fertile time of change for the better. The fact is: we have backed ourselves into a corner with all our cars and traffic. There is literally no place to move but forward, and I donâ€™t mean with a car!
When I look at NYC with all its contradictions, Iâ€™m reminded of the yin/yang symbol of Taoist tradition that shows us light is dependent on dark, positive dependent on negative. I am reminded of the Chinese artist, Lily Yeh who said that the most desperate, negative conditions she faced only excited her with the greatest promise for their opposite (the prospect of building a park in a vacant city lot). And thatâ€™s exactly the force I see in NYCâ€™s future.
Timeâ€™s Up!: http://times-up.org/
Amy Landau is HopeDanceâ€™s â€œNew York City correspondent.â€ She is a writer and environmental educator living in Harlem and working in the South Bronx. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make fun of our over-zealous ex-police chiefs. Check out the Smolka Polka video..
If you enjoy riding your bike in 30 degree weather, then tonight is your night. Tonight is the annual Brooklyn Critical Mass, the ride where we don’t need a permit and we allowed to ride our bikes in a group as long as we behave and be “good little bike riders.” 7:00pm either at the Base of the Williamsburg bridge in Brooklyn or at Grand Army Plaza.
There is also a benifit race for YETI,
The Villager reported on the last February critical mass in NYC where we tried to give our beloved Smolka a retirement present. As usual, Jefferson Siegel was on the scene.
Cyclists viewed Smolka as the force behind the arrests of Critical Mass riders. His departure inspired many to dub last Fridayâ€™s ride â€œSmolkaâ€™s retirement party.â€
Several hundred cyclists and many people without bikes walked out of Union Square, passing by Peteâ€™s Tavern on Irving Pl. and the Brotherhood Synagogue on Gramercy Park S. The procession, led by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, a brass marching band, was followed by police on motor scooters and in vans.
Arriving at the 13th Precinct on E. 21st St., cycling activists Rachael Myers and Christopher Ryan walked a blue-painted bike to the precinctâ€™s front door. The bike was dubbed the â€œSmolka Cruiserâ€ and adorned with the words â€œN.Y.P.D. Retired.â€ A police commander refused to accept the gift on behalf of Smolka and advised the pair not to leave it, since it would be considered abandoned property.
The Critical Mass cyclists then began walking down Second Ave., followed by a large police presence. At 18th St., a police commander advised the crowd to disperse or face arrest for disorderly conduct. Police then stopped two cyclists and issued them summonses for having bikes without front lights.
As Katie from Bedford-Stuyvesant stood waiting for her ticket, she questioned a police commander about being stopped.
â€œItâ€™s not us against you,â€ the officer replied, explaining that she had violated a law requiring a front light.
â€œThereâ€™s a gazillion things going on in the city right now, where he could be â€˜just doing his job,â€™â€ Katie said after receiving her ticket. â€œBut theyâ€™re choosing to target us.â€
Fridayâ€™s ride was the last in Manhattan before new parade rules go into effect. At next monthâ€™s ride, which is being referred to by the cyclists as â€œCriminal Mass,â€ police will have the authority to arrest anyone in a group of 50 or more that has not first obtained a permit for the event.
Here are the final race results
Our own NACCC won, best out of towner…go Austin.
Thanks to Jacob and all those who put on a great time in Beantown.
bikesnotscott has some pictures up on flickr.