Have You Seen the Latest Marcia Kramer Segment on Prospect Park West?

Prospect Park West resident Chuck Schumer and CBS2 political correspondent Marcia Kramer. Photo: ##http://cityfile.com/profiles/marcia-kramer/gallery ##CityFile##

Hey, have you seen Marcia Kramer’s latest segment about Prospect Park West? It’s at least her third piece on a single Brooklyn bike lane in the last year. You can tell she’s had some practice — take a look (sorry about the minivan ad you’ll have to sit through first):

If you only got your news from CBS2, after watching this piece you’d think the people who bike on PPW are against this new street design. You’d never know that most of the neighborhood wants the bike lane to stay. You’d be in the dark about the data collected that shows no discernible difference in travel times. You’d have no idea that injuries are down on Prospect Park West, and so is speeding.

But you would know that Brooklyn Borough President and noted defender of pedestrians and cyclists Marty Markowitz thinks the lane is “putting lives in jeopardy.”

Marcia Kramer is CBS2’s “chief political correspondent,” so maybe she’s just too busy with her other stories to find sources who know what they’re talking about when it comes to street safety. When she’s not waging campaigns of misinformation against pedestrian refuges, public plazas, bike lanes, and congestion pricing, she has state budget battles and congressional scandals to cover. She’s important and her resume shows it. She’s gone on junkets to Israel with Senator Chuck Schumer and she did one of the most memorable interviews from Bill Clinton’s days as a presidential candidate.

So here’s a hot tip for Marcia Kramer — the Prospect Park West bike lane is a great political story! You know the group mentioned at the end of the segment — the one that’s suing the city because they don’t like a popular and effective street redesign? They call themselves “Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes,” but they actually just want to remove this bike lane. Interesting, no?

What really makes the story pop, though, is that this group has some first-rate political connections.

The most active members of the group include a former deputy mayor and the previous DOT commissioner, who happens to be married to Senator Schumer. The law firm that’s suing the city for them? They’re one of the top firms in the nation — Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher. The head of their litigation arm, Randy Mastro, was deputy mayor under Giuliani, and it’s been reported that he brokered the whole arrangement with the anti-bike lane group. Oh, and the “pro bono” lawyer who’ll be suing the city over the bike lane made the maximum contribution to Chuck Schumer’s re-election campaign in 2010.

The New York Post reported the other day that the Senator himself has told members of the City Council that he’s not happy with the bike lane and “asked legislators what they’re going to do about [this and other] bike lanes.” A U.S. Senator throwing his weight around because he doesn’t like the bike lane in front of his house — what a story!

Why don’t we see CBS2’s chief political correspondent ask some tough questions about that?

  • Not having read all the comments so if the obvious has been mentioned my apologies; and the obvious is that cars blocked the emergency vehicle — as they do all over the city and especially in emergencies, as during the blizzard in many places where there are no bikes or bike lanes — so maybe there should a further decrease of cars on Prospect Park West and other critical areas where emergency vehicles must get through.

    It is highly likely that if the bike lane was not there the entire Prospect Park West would have been blocked with cars and the ambulance would have had to perhaps seek another route.

  • Of course, we should all apologize to Honda and the makers of that Odyssey van infomercial for not taking it at face value.

  • EC Herkimer

    Schumer and his Israel lobbyist and Hassidic friends hate Arabs, but love to suck Arab oil straight into their SUV’s and minivans (ever pass though South Williamsburg?). Bikes don’t use petroleum. Bikes were not the cause of Schumer, Bush and Clinton’s preemptive raid on Iraqi oil fields that caused the death of over 100,000 civilians. Schumer broke the US treasury with his war and couldn’t even secure the cheap oil he and Bush were shooting for (or was it WMD’s?). His policies in part brought on the economic collapse and he still just flaps his lips trying to fool everyone about it. Schumer is not a good man and there is no doubt karma will catch up with him sooner than later.

  • @gecko,

    Another good argument for making sure the PPW bike path is cleared ASAP after a snowstorm.

  • Wyoming Knott

    Wow. Lots of personal invective. I wish everyone would get off the personal stuff and focus on the matter at hand.

    I both walk and drive down/on PPW (not much of a biker, but have done it sometimes) and I certainly feel less safe with the new wide bike lane and that row of parked cars.

    But here’s the thing – wasn’t this lane supposed to be a pilot program? I, for one, would like to see all the supposed data about safety, etc. before the lane becomes permanent. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust DOT to do the job right – and let’s not get into all the mess ups that DOT has been party to recently.

    I think it would be great to have a real study done by an independent firm – and then, and only then, to make a decision about whether it stays or not. Frankly, I don’t understand why a “regular” bike lane wouldn’t do. I haven’t seen in any reports at all that these groups are “anti bike lane.” They appear to be in favor of bike lanes that are as safe as possible.

    How can you disagree with that? And I am really concerned about all the personal attacks; my mom used to say that calling people names, etc. was the last resort of folks who have really got nothing to say.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Frankly, I don’t understand why a ‘regular’ bike lane wouldn’t do.”

    The problem is going northbound, toward Grand Army Plaza. You can’t ride against traffic on Prospect Park West.

    The bike lane in the park can’t be used in that direction, and making it two way without adding space (by taking away a motor vehicle lane, say) would not be safe. In any event, the park could not be used to get to destinations in Park Slope.

    The alternative before the Prospect Park West bike lane was 8th Avenue.

    That street is not wide enough to allow two motor vehicles to safely pass a bicycle in the two lanes, and drivers there are very hostile. I was knocked off my bike on street about that wide by the mirror of an SUV that was trying to pass a truck. A took my daughter for a ride to church on 8th Avenue, and she was so afraid she wouldn’t ride a bike for three years.

    The NBBL folks claim they are willing to take these concerns into account, but they really aren’t at all. Not in any way. In three avenues there is one just lane for bicycles, and for them that is one too many. They want it all, for themselves.

  • Dear Ms. Knott, as someone who has taken her nom de plume from the great libertarian novel The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress you should be calling for market-price parking on PPW as part of getting all motorists to pay their fair share, not regurgitating shopworn and false cliches about safety. Are you suggesting that your subjective feelings that the street is less safe today should override actual data that the street is more safe? Back to Novy Leningrad for you!

  • Mike

    No, Wyoming, this was never a pilot project. It was installed, and was evaluated. The evaluation showed it to be very successful.

    The “supposed data” has been released in its entirety.

    A “regular” bike lane wouldn’t do because it wouldn’t be protected from cars (and would likely become a double-parking lane), couldn’t be two-way, and might not have traffic calming benefits.

    An “independent firm” wouldn’t have access to “before” data, unless they used DOT’s “before” data, which you apparently consider suspect, so it’s unlikely you’d trust that data anyway. DOT’s data collection was, in fact, done by an independent firm, under contract to the city.

    Saying that NBBL favors “bike lanes that are as safe as possible” is like saying that pro-lifers favor abortions that are as safe as possible, as long as there are none at all.

  • Since Norman Steisel is claiming that NBBL’s efforts to stop the bike lane on PPW are now spilling over to 14th and 15th streets, it’s really crazy that he and I can stand up in front of anyone and say that we’re for “better” bike lanes. We were rolling on the floor at Chuck and Iris’ apartment when we picked that name!

    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/34/7/dtg_psbikelane_2011_2_18_bk.html

    Wyoming left a similar plea for “regular bike lanes” under the name Anne on the Brooklyn Paper site today.

  • greensleeves

    The problem with “regular” bike lanes in NYC is that taxis don’t respect them. My husband has been clocked twice by taxis in the bike lanes, who just frankly rear-ended him when he wouldn’t go up on the sidewalk to get out of their way. The police didn’t ticket the taxis either – they blamed my husband for riding in the street! That he was in the bike lane meant nothing to them.

  • Marcia Kramer’s Eyebrow

    So, who is gonna start the group “Neighbors for Better Roadways”? The group could advocate for making roads car-free!

  • Edwin

    Has anyone thought to invite this Marcia woman to a little tour of PPW by bicycle? You could do a streetsfilm about it! I can see her on a stately dutch bike – maybe a local store would supply the bike and get a little pitch.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Has anyone thought to invite this Marcia woman to a little tour of PPW by bicycle?”

    No, but I have thought it might be nice to invite someone from every media outlet in the city that has started since 1995 for such a tour.

  • Reland
  • Anne

    I am not Wyoming. Sorry.

  • LJ

    I agree…I would also be happy to move my bike for the emergency…cars cannot get out of the way for an ambulance that’s in a life-or-death rush because of the bike lane…so much traffic uses PPW as an artery road to get through the Slope, that it’s always congested, so taking away any marginal room that a car used to have for maneuver, is not helpful. I live on PPW and travel on it every day, and I must say, the bike lane is sparsely used…seems like a waste of tax payers’ money and the lane inside the park itself also seems sufficient for most bikers. We live in very close proximity to a major hospital, and an old people’s home, so it just doesn’t seem to be very “efficient” as the article suggests (all politics aside). The article is also incorrect in asserting that most of the neighborhood is in favor of the bike lane: I know of no-one, and I have asked a number of neighbors. Just saying…..