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NY Mag platform for Bike Lane debate

I don’t have a lot of time for this posting because I’m buried in tax prep. But enough about me…Most of you noticed this huge bike lane article in NY Mag. It’s hard not to notice because it made the cover.

The author, Matthew Shaer, takes an in depth look at the debate which might as well be titled: “is New York City ready for bike lanes?” as if this is the only monitor of whether people can actually ride a bicycle in New York City.

Most of this news seems to be spreading like wild fire and there is really no help from the Bloomberg administration and the DOT who has been relatively silent on this whole issue, kind of like them saying: “Here, you guys work this out.” Maybe it’s more of reflection that we NYC cyclists don’t necessarily need bike lanes or rather big extensions of the sidewalk in order to ride our bikes. Rather, we should just be encouraged to get on on bikes and become traffic…you know…”ALL LANES ARE BIKE LANES.”

But still it’s hard to ignore the heated discussions and the platforms for everyone to vent their hatred of cyclists which really is about: “food delivery people riding on the sidewalk and this not being regulated.” oh yeah, “and the NYPD’s hatred of cyclists dating back to the days of critical mass and the Republican National Convention.” But let’s just forget history for a moment.

Let’s all pretend the popularity of cycling just magically began because King Bloomy hired Janette Sadik-Kahn in the DOT and then painted some of the asphalt green. Of course this pissed off the car loving neighbors, especially when it interfered with their ability to park and speed.

So enjoy NY Magazine and their love affair with two stone age minded cranks. One is ­Louise Hainline, dean at Brooklyn College, founder of the quite Orwellian sounding group: Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes or NBBL, kind of like the war department entitled, ministry of love. it’s great to know that someone can sit in their ivory tower, on the Prospect Park West and so easy effect the discussions about safety and bicycle infrastructure with the stroke of their pen…oh yeah and it helps to have powerful politicians on board who happen to live on Prospect Park West like Senator Chuck Schumer and his wife, former do-nothing DOT commish Iris Weinshall. Wow, I really hope they are not inconvenienced from getting their groceries form the illegally parking fresh direct trucks.

The article:

Not Quite Copenhagen
Is New York too New York for bike lanes?

(photo caption: “The biker careers against traffic; the driver veers into the forbidden lane; the jaywalker marches, oblivious. But only the sucker yields.)

Photo-illustration by Peter Rad
Article by: Matthew Shaer

n a blustery day this winter, ­Louise Hainline, a dean at Brooklyn College, stood on the roof deck of her Park Slope building, ­ankle-deep in fresh snow, squinting intently into the sun. Below, a lone cyclist coasted southwest along the iced edge of Prospect Park. Hainline shook her head. “And they say this bike lane gets a lot of traffic,” she scoffed.

Hainline, who is in her early sixties, has chin-length blonde hair, rounded features, and cheeks like burnished McIntosh apples. She and her husband, CUNY physics professor Micha Tomkiewicz, purchased their penthouse unit on Prospect Park West in 1997, “when real estate here was a little cheaper,” she says. There have been a lot of other changes to the landscape of Park Slope since they moved in. But in fourteen years, Louise Hainline has never seen anything as “monstrous”—nothing as “truly offensive”—as the Prospect Park West bike lane.

Read the whole thing here.

Here is a nice follow up by bicycle blogger: Brooklyn Spoke.

Unicyclists gets two tickets for one wheel.

Unicyclists are people too and shouldn’t be harassed by the ignorant NYPD who can’t tell a helmet law from night stick. Here is some more ridiculousness from our city that should be encouraging non-polluting forms of transportation.

City prepares to fight unicyclist Kyle Peterson’s suit for right to ride on sidewalks
BY John Marzulli
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Friday, March 18th 2011

The city is trying to put the brakes on a Brooklyn unicyclist’s lawsuit, saying he deserved two tickets no matter how many wheels he had on the sidewalk.

Circus performer Kyle Peterson filed a $3 million federal suit against the city after he got a 2007 summons for violating the city administrative code – which prohibits riding a “two-or-three-wheeled device” on sidewalks

Read more: here.

Triple Rush, Messenger Reality Show comes to Cable

And you thought it couldn’t be done.

Travel Channel has a new show coming out in April featuring three NYC bike messenger companies:

Quik-Trak.
Breakaway, and Mess Kollective.

TRIPLE RUSH

From the site:
Triple Rush gives you an insider’s look at the chaotic workings of 3 different NYC courier companies as they battle for survival in this intensely competitive industry. We’ll witness the bike messengers’ hair-raising dashes through busy Manhattan streets — speeding between cars, racing through red lights and doing battle with taxicabs — all to earn a few dollars and support their lives in the fast lane. We’ll also meet the dispatchers, who balance the needs of messengers who want non-stop, lucrative runs, customers who want excellent service and owners who want kick-ass couriers who don’t make mistakes.

Big shout outs to stars of the show: Heather Muller (Mess Kollective), Rob Kotch (founder of Breakaway), Janessa (why’d you leave us) “Wild Bill” Dappio, Greg Ugalde (let’s see some art work) Mr. X (Aias, you can’t hide.)

Find out all the other stars: here.

Another great portait of bike riding hipster.

Check out the latest portrait of another bike riding hipster:

Another great cyclist portrait from Dmitry Gudkov.

Help Japan

Our thoughts go out to all those devastated by recent events in Japan.

New York City, Track Bike shop, Chari & Co, have created a fundraiser for relief efforts.

(seen on Trackosaurusrex.com)

From the shop:
“As you can probably imagine, the past few days have been hectic for us here at Chari & Co. We spent the weekend scrambling to get in touch with our friends, family members, customers, and business partners over in Japan. But, while each confirmation of a loved one’s well-being launched us into celebration, there are still a few people we haven’t heard from yet. And, of course, even those who are healthy still have plenty to worry about: rolling blackouts, a lack of transportation, fears of a nuclear meltdown, destroyed property.

Japan is no stranger to hardship. And we know that the Japanese people have the fighting spirit and iron will to get through this disaster. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need our help. So, in the next few days, Chari & Co. will release a special t-shirt to raise money to benefit the victims of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. We’re just a small bike shop half a world away from northeastern Japan–but we’re hoping that we can find a way to make even a tiny difference…”

You can donate here.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Alleycat race in Montreal:

More info at www.stpaddysmontreal.blogspot.com.

and in Santa Barbara California,

Wheel House Bikes:

Group ride to Red Hook Crit

In case you wanted to check out a great cycling event in Red Hook now there will be a group ride.

More from one of the event’s sponsors, Gage & Desoto.

“The Red Hook Crit is fast approaching (March 26th) and while the race roster is already full, it’s the spectators that really make the event. Since Red Hook is a little off the beaten path (ie, the subway doesn’t go there) we are organizing a group ride from Eastern Mountain Sports in SoHo. Join us at 8pm, mingle with your fellow race watchers, and then we’ll hop on our bikes at 9:15pm sharp. This is a casual ride, and it’s only about 5 miles, so dress in your nice clothes and cheer the racers on in style.

I promise we won’t get lost.”

Group Ride to the Red Hook Crit :: departs Eastern Mountain Sports 530 Broadway (at Spring St) 9:15pm”

backlash and crackdown crackups

Here is the latest on the growing pains of trying to make a car culture obsessed privileged class city a little more bike friendly.

First up, Brooklyn’s own lightning rod of controversy, the Prospect Park West bike lane. (Insert a thunder clap and a frightened horse squel like when mentioning Frau Blucher)

One of the biggest complaints of pedestrians around PPW’s new bike lane is the lack of viability from oncoming cyclists and the audacity for them to have to look both ways, now that there’s a two way lane.

Brooklyn Spoke’s Doug Gordon, investigated these claims and posted two videos from a pedestrians point of view using the crosswalk and trying to get across the bike lane.


As any rational person can observe, there is plenty of viability and time to see approaching bicycles making me think anyone making these accusations are not using the crosswalks and feel entitled to just pop out from any parked car. And the claim of having to look both ways when crossing a street? Isn’t this something you are taught at a very young age?

The safety risk of oncoming cyclists reminds me of this scene in Austin Powers with a steam roller…OH NO-BICYCLES ARE COMING!

Still the anger continues against bike lanes from people so out-of-touch it predates Middle Earth. Gandalf had some pretty harsh words.
*Warning, this video contains some pretty severe language. Those more offended by words then bike lanes should skip this video.

This frothing anger has lead to a group of local residents suing the city in the hopes of getting these evil fascist bike lanes removed.

Today, Streetsblog.org, has an article written by Gary Toth, a transportation engineer and the director of transportation initiatives at Project for Public Spaces. Gary looked over the lawsuit and basically claimed:“It is clear that this is a well-orchestrated smear campaign by the project opponents. By inserting false conclusions about professional transportation practice into a lawsuit, they create the illusion of professional validity, and set up the tabloids to post the conclusions as fact.”

Read more here.

Meanwhile, we’ve heard about a lot of ticketing of cyclists from the 78th precinct around 5th Ave. in Park Slope Brooklyn. This is part of an ongoing ticket blitz by the NYPD. Perhaps they should be more concerned about cars doing 70 m.p.h., especially when they crash into…police cars.

Read more about this in an article in the Brooklyn Paper.

Meanwhile in other ridiculousness…Over 300 people came out to a public meeting held by the division of the Central Park police department on Tuesday, to express their outrage to another ticket blitz in NYC’s most well known park.

Despite the enormous turn out, the NYPD gave no indication they were going to back off from giving people tickets for failing to stop at red lights in Central Park.

Read more from Streetsblog.org.

One more Monster Track video

This one comes from Boda Boda NYC! Their first alleycat video at NYC’s classic race.

MonsterTrack XII from BODABODANYC on Vimeo.

More from 2011 Memorial Ride and Walk

There is really good coverage of this year’s Memorial Ride and Walk on Gothamist.

(photo by: Dmitry Gudkov)

As previously mentioned, the 6th annual Memorial Ride and Walk took place yesterday at locations throughout NYC where cyclists and pedestrians were killed last year. Here are some more photos from the memorial, including a couple of shots sent by a woman who was friends with Bob Bowen, the Hofstra professor and jazz bassist who was run over by a flatbed truck at Second Avenue and 59th Street. Brina Bishop tells us:

We met up at Bob Bowen’s site on 58th and 2nd ave. He was killed on his way to me late on the night of August 26th. There was a woman there today who had survived a terrible bike accident, but who goes to the memorial sites in support of road safety. There was also a radiologist tech who had been working the night Bob was brought in. I was so deeply touched by this ritual.

I included the text of the poem posted below the sign. Bob had written it a year earlier in honor of his uncle Paul’s death. To me, it seems like he was reaching ahead in time to those who mourn him now.

(We’ve included the poem below.) Cyclist and photographer Dmitry Gudkov also participated; he writes, “I joined the north Brooklyn ride, which stopped at street memorials for Diego Rodriguez, Timothy (TJ) Campbell, and Jake McDonough. That third stop was especially sobering, as Jake’s family and friends were in attendance. He was 19 when he was struck by a driver trying to pass a slower car on a city street… It was a solemn procession, as it had to be—but it was heartening to see cyclists of many ages and styles come out for the event—the kind that we all hope will not have to be repeated.”

Read the rest of this posting here.
*****

More coverage and photos from Dmitry here.
*****
Streetsfilms.org posted this video:

From filmmaker Elizabeth Press:
“Yesterday was the 6th Annual Memorial Ride and Walk in NYC.
According to the New York City Department of Transportation, 151 pedestrians and 18 bicyclists were killed on the streets of New York City in 2010.
Participants called for stronger measures to reduce traffic fatalities.
The ride culminated by installing a “Ghost Bike” in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall for the unnamed pedestrians and cyclists killed in 2010.”

More can be found here.
*****

A nice photo series by Andrew Hinderaker.

Press round up found on Ghostbikesfilms.com a documentary about the world-wide ghostbike memorial project.

“A Tour of Ghosts on Two Wheels” from the Fort Greene Patch.

“Advocacy Group Honors Cyclists and Pedestrians Killed in Traffic” from the Epoch Times.

“6th Annual Memorial Ride and Walk Honoring NYC’s Fallen Bicyclists and Pedestrians” from Treehugger.com