Today’s Headlines

  • MTA Debt Payments Have Doubled in Six Years — Perfect Timing for Pataki (City Limits)
  • GM Banking on Subprime Loans to Get Back in the Black (NYT)
  • New Defense for Reckless Drivers: Blame the Toyota (Post)
  • Advocates for Disabled Sue MTA Over Service Cuts (WNYC)
  • A Mentally Stunted Anti-Bike Misanthrope Is Gluing Bike Locks in Williamsburg (Bklyn Paper)
  • Should America Spends Billions on a North-South Transcontinental Highway? (Transpo Nation)
  • Drunk Driver Who Killed Child Passenger Leandra Rosado Will Plead Guilty (NYT, Post, NY1)
  • Car Crushes Queens Man in His Garage When Jack Gives Way (News, Post)
  • Some East Side Bike Lane Skepticism in the Villager
  • MTA Intercoms Should Probably Be More Reliable (News)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Ian Turner

    According to the article, 353 intercoms, or 38% of the total, failed between January and June. The problem isn’t that MTA is too slow to fix these, it’s that they are abysmally unreliable.

    I’m guessing the intercoms were part of a no-bid contract.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I wonder if we can look forward to other celebrations by the Brooklyn paper of intentional harm to other groups of people, other than those who ride bicycles, complete with quotes and comments from people in favor.

  • No two ways about it: that Brooklyn Paper article is disgusting. What the guy’s doing is terrible, but he’s just a criminal; he’ll have to be hunted down and punished. The Brooklyn Paper, though, is disgusting–like watching someone licking up their dog’s vomit.

  • dporpentine,

    Agreed:

    1. The Brooklyn Paper dignfies the criminal with the title “Crusader”, like he’s some superhero.

    2. Even though this idiot has admittedly committed his crime only “a few times”, they give him a platform for getting “the right people together” for vigilante property damage at a mass level.

    And what is up with Yuppie? As in (from the mouth of the anonymous criminal): “Yuppies … have turned this beautiful neighborhood into an eyesore. Watch out for your locks.” Setting aside the assertation that cars better beautify a neighborhood than bikes, “Yuppie” is a term dating back to 1980 to describe the kind of young professional into acquiring the latest BMW convertable. Not someone pedalling around on a bike.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “And what is up with Yuppie?”

    There is enough of the memory of a faux populist ideal around in New York that the privileged abusing the less well off like to pretend that the less well off are the better off.

    Degraded faux liberalism pops up in New York politics in all kinds of weird ways.

    In years past, people didn’t like to admit the didn’t want Blacks moving into the neighborhood, but it was socially acceptable to be against people opening new businesses. So you got regulations restricting the location of “African Hair Braiding Establishments” somewhere in the regulatory code, and other WTFs.

    Not with any effect or enforcement. Just something the pols would do to buy off the idiots so they could go back to raping and pillaging. You’ve got the “getting paid” crowd, and those who can be conned by “us good people vs. them bad people” garbage.

  • JayinPortland

    There’s that phrase again – “bike enthusiast” in the Brooklyn paper article. I’m still looking for just one example of a driver being called a “motoring enthusiast”, let alone seeing the phrase used almost every single time a driver / auto advocacy group is interviewed / mentioned. As for me, I guess I’m a “sneaker enthusiast” (‘foot enthusiast’? Actually I think that phrase already carries other connotations, heh…) and a bus / streetcar enthusiast?

  • There’s enough friction between bikers, pedestrians and motorists in this City. Who needs the Brooklyn Paper or the Villager to stir the pot?

  • The press seems to fan the “us good people vs. them bad people” garbage.

    It’s not just the Brooklyn Paper with “Yuppy”. The other favorite term to create a fictitious divide between People Who Ride Bikse and Everyone Else is the term “hipster”, which the press loves to use. We saw it quoted all over the place in the debate on the PPW lane.

    The unchallenged presumption is that there is some kind of war between red-blooded “real” New Yorkers who work “real” jobs (and presumably drive real cars and trucks), and invasion of 20-somethings living on trust funds, riding bikes, and stealing the city’s precious natural resource of parking spots.

    That this is utter nonsense (belied by a pro-business mayor’s efforts to increase cycling and the Partnership for New York’s efforts to reduce auto traffic) does not seem to matter to the press.

  • JayinPortland

    David K’s got it right – ‘yuppie’ and ‘hipster’ (amongst others) are just words that carry negative connotations and can be useful in rallying the nonthinking masses against whatever group of people seen as ‘the enemy’. You see the same principle in action when certain types nonsensically call certain politicians ‘communists’ and ‘socialists’ and ‘nazis’ (all at the same time, of course, when two of the three are almost diametrical opposites), etc…

    It all just comes down to the fact that sputtering, spittle-flecked rage sells in America these days.

  • J:Lai

    I think the bedford ave lock gluer is a fake story. Anything about bicycles, especially in northern BK, is guaranteed to have a lot of comments and views in that paper. It’s too perfect.

  • I read through the comments section following the Brooklyn Paper article, and a handful of the comments were so venomous and hateful I was kind of stunned.

    I know that some people don’t like bikes/bikers or whatever they represent, but I am still surprised to see the level of vitriol leveled against us. When I bike in Brooklyn, I don’t see bikers “crowding the streets.” A more common scene is on Ocean Parkway, rush hour, where the streets are PACKED with cars coming off the BQE, and I need to ride clenching my handlebars while using a bike lane! so as to not get squished by turning cars. They are in a hurry to get places, you know, and aggravated by all the cars and all the traffic.

    Anyway. Deep cleansing breath. And come to summer streets for the next couple of weeks and enjoy happy peaceful biking for a change.

    🙂

  • Bolwerk

    I agree with the sentiment that there are too many cars littering Brooklyn. Get the glue!

  • Peter Engel

    JayinPortland, it’s perfectly fair to be called a “car enthusiast” (“motoring enthusiast” is more of a UK term) if you’re into cars — BMWs, Corvettes, and the like. NYC has plenty of them.

    You’re right though. Most of the street battles are with those who use cars for commuting and commerce, not to polish or take around a winding country road.

    Bolerk, YOU’RE NOT HELPING!

  • J:Lai

    To those who think the anger against bicyclists is manufactured by the press, or the result of a misguided assumption that all bikers are yuppies/hipsters, I couldn’t disagree more.

    There is a real competition for street space between car drivers and everyone else. As it now stands, drivers have almost all of it for the operation and storage of their vehicles. At least in the short to medium term, it is a zero sum game where any additional allocation of space to bikes, pedestrians, or other uses is taking space away from drivers.

    So far, drivers have been far more successful than non-drivers in setting the terms of the debate. The fact that the default media image for bikers is either entitled yuppie or sociopath, that riding a bike is considered primarily a form of recreation as opposed to transportation, and that the dominance of automobile travel in NYC is never questioned means that for most people questions of transportation are being mediated through a very auto-centric filter.

    I think it would do a lot of good to present advertising and media images of bikers as all kinds of regular people who are biking primarily as a means of transportation (e.g. not primarily for exercise or fun.) It is very important to drop the yuppie, hippie associations. Right now, even many non-drivers (for example people who commute by subway or bus) view biking as frivolous but driving as important.

  • I think cyclists should get used to the idea that people in cars think everything you do is a willful act of jackassery. Drivers assume that EVERYONE not in their car is a moron. If you’re driving, it’s easy to assume that the guy in front of you is going slowly for no reason or is pulling over because he’s recently been struck by a heavy blunt instrument when it would be pretty obvious to someone on the sidewalk that everyone is avoiding a pothole or stuck in traffic. A lack of any kind of communication makes it hard to assume that everyone else is acting in good faith. I know this line of thinking has a name, but I can’t remember what it is.

    It’s not hard to see this thinking in action. Every day I cross an intersection on foot in which car traffic in one direction has been reduced to a single travel lane because of construction. Only, it’s kind of hard to see from the middle of the intersection so cars are constantly swerving around thinking that everyone else is missing an amazing opportunity to drive super fast(see above about everyone else being a moron). Of course, as soon as they turn the wheel they can see that they’re going to wind up stuck behind a dumpster or a cement mixer.

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Today I got honked at by a woman as she was coming up behind me in her car. As she passed she wasn’t looking at me, or the road, she was looking down at her crackberry texting.

    It makes you just want to give up. (Not that I will, but…)

  • JayinPortland

    Dan Berkman said –

    “so cars are constantly swerving around thinking that everyone else is missing an amazing opportunity to drive super fast(see above about everyone else being a moron).”

    I was crossing SE Hawthorne here the other day, in one of the more pedestrian-friendly areas of our city (Portland, Oregon), and in a state where drivers do yield right-of-way to pedestrians way more often than not (Oregon drivers are pretty damned considerate of others, on foot, bike or wheel… it still amazes this North Jersey guy after years of living here).

    Halfway across the intersection (it’s 5 lanes, essentially one travel lane and one parking lane each way with a shared middle left-turn lane at this point), after an SUV (Oregon plates) stopped to let me go through the (marked) crosswalk, I heard a blaring horn and caught out of the corner of my eye an asshat swerving around the SUV (across yellow lines) to its left at high speed, into the turn lane, apparently because (as you said) they assumed the guy in front of them was “missing an amazing opportunity to drive super fast”.

    Only driving ‘super fast’ would have squashed me, of course. The idiot slammed on their brakes as soon as they saw me in the crosswalk (fortunately for me at least they kept looking straight ahead, I guess), and I noted their license plate number (Virginia plates) and reported the incident to the Portland police. Hopefully they got a ticket, or at least some kind of warning. Probably not, though. Well at least I hope their close call with becoming a killer taught them some kind of lesson…

  • Stacy,

    The Villager, in reporting the opposing viewpoints on the new bike lanes, isn’t attempting “to stir the pot” — but to report the news.

  • And The Villager, as stated in previous past editorials, supports bike lanes.

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