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?

  • NattyB

    I don’t know why the legal blogs haven’t picked up on this yet?

    If Gibson Dunn is doing pro-bono for this, then that is something that should be criticized in the legal press/blogs.

    http://abovethelaw.com/2009/01/should-ability-to-pay-have-anything-to-do-with-pro-bono-work/

    Gibson Dunn should be ashamed for using pro bono hours to help the most affluent and connected in our community.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The MSM is part and parcel of the institutional destruction of our country by the entitled. The whole bike lane thing is just an annoyance, in that bikes are a possible adaptation that will allow a decent life to be possible in the country they are leaving for those who follow.

    The real question is, why doesn’t Marcia Kramer ask the other people her age about this issue?

    http://www.r8ny.com/blog/larry_littlefield/generational_equity_and_the_legacy_of_today_s_politicians.html

    They all seem to be part of the conspiracy of silence. Occansionally you’ll hear mutterances about people being concerned their children or grandchildren’s generation will be worse off, among those not busy manuvering to except their own offspring from the common future they have arranged. You don’t hear anyone taking responsibility.

  • Investigative Reporter

    Call Marcia Kramer and let her know what you think of her reporting:

    917-991-5220
    212-975-7372

    Let her know that you are available to talk to her as a source if she plans on doing another story about the Prospect Park West redesign.

  • Charlie

    If the bike lane wasn’t there, the cars would be filling the third travel lane too. With the bike lane, at least the ambulance had a way to get around the traffic!

  • G.T.

    This is starting to get very troubling. Beyond unfair and bad reporting.

  • @Charlie
    Same thoughts here. If there was no bike lane would the ambulance drive down the sidewalk instead? Does anyone consider that to be a viable alternative?

  • It’s a brilliant piece, in my opinion. If you haven’t been following this debate you’d never know that Chuck Schumer, Iris, Louise Hainline, and the rest of NBBL have their fingerprints all over it.

    And you gotta hand it to Norman Steisel! The man can manage to get himself quoted in a stories about bike licensing in Queens, but manages to stay out of TV pieces on the bike lane right by his house! The PR contract that Marcia Kramer signed with NBBL must come with some sort of clause to this effect.

  • chuck

    Guys – this left me so incensed. But Marty is an unreformable scumbag, and Marcia is a shameless hack. Is the weak political underbelly Sen. Chuck Schumer? Maybe.

    I called Schumer’s office. Know what the “nice young man” on the phone told me? They don’t respond to phone messages and they don’t have an email. I complained anyway.

    But I wrote a letter. A good old-fashioned letter. Do the same. At the very least, it can’t hurt.

    Call and write: Schumer’s mailing address (courtesy of Glenn last week)

    Senator Schumer
    757 Third Avenue
    Suite 17-02
    New York, New York 10017

    District Office Phone: 212-486-4430

    Now I’m going to work through my frustration by politely riding the PPW Lane and being extra polite to the old ladies.

    C:

  • eveostay

    I wrote Schumer last week via “webform” at
    http://schumer.senate.gov/new_website/contactchuck.cfm

    I got an automatic thanks-for-writing reply, but nothing since.

    A paper letter is probably better.

  • J

    I’m really ashamed that I voted for Schumer. I guess this is what he thinks of democracy: backroom politics where the well-connected pull strings to get their way. I’m all for debate, protests and counter-protests, but has gone well beyond that.

    Keep printing this story, Ben. This is a big and should be picked up soon. People need to know how he really feels about the environment and democracy. Already, when you google Schumer and anything to do with biking, his opposition to this lane appears early on.

    Also, Schumer has a twitter account and facebook page. Check them out, and post comments, if possible.
    http://www.facebook.com/chuckschumer
    http://twitter.com/#!/chuckschumer

  • m to the i

    Its pretty hilarious that they blame the bike lane. Some things would be logical to question based on the video, the ambulance driver for creating an unsafe situation by choosing not to ride on the street, adding barriers or protection for the bike lane so that vehicles are unable to create unsafe situations, and why didn’t these idiots driving their cars get out of the way of an emergency vehicle.

  • J

    Seriously. Write on his Facebook wall with links to this story and people will take notice.

    http://www.facebook.com/chuckschumer

  • Barnard

    Why are the haters getting so much air time?

    Has anyone called Kramer?

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

    That’s not how you get invited on junkets and to parties. You don’t get to be a top political correspondent in American by holding powerful people accountable.

  • TKO

    It is interesting in the link about Chevy Chase, that Sam Schwartz is against light rail. He is getting paid to say it too.

  • jt

    You can email Senator Schumer via a contact for at senate.gov

  • Larry Littlefield

    Anybody know how Channel 2 evening news is doing in the ratings (percent of all households) and what their demographics are? I’ll bet they’re a hoot.

  • OMG!

    One incident of backed up traffic must mean traffic is always backed up. From that logic one most conclude that one day of heavy snow means that were are in the midst of an ice age!

  • Glenn

    The last person I had contact with in his office about this issue is:

    Y. Phillip Goldfeder
    Intergovernmental Affairs
    Senator Charles E. Schumer

    Phillip_Goldfeder schumer.senate.gov

    Try emailing him directly…

  • G.T.

    At the very least, CBS 2 should strip Marcia Kramer of her title of “Chief Political Correspondent”. I mean this article should leave CBS 2 ashamed, whether or not they want to keep reporting on this subject, she should go.

  • Barnard

    Has anyone called Kramer?

  • Yes, let’s blame the bike path when two lanes’ worth of morons in their cars didn’t get out of the way. By this logic, every two- or, egad, one-lane street in New York City should be widened to a minimum of three lanes.

    This would be laughable if it wasn’t so pernicious*.

    *Ironic aside: when I checked “pernicious in the Mac dictionary to make sure it properly conveyed the meaning I was aiming for, I found this”

    “having a harmful effect, esp. in a gradual or subtle way: the pernicious influences of the mass media.

    Half-surprised it didn’t have Marcia’s photo, too.

  • vnm

    Larry, Channel 2 is a distant second behind WABC-7.

  • Westchesterite

    Last week, I called Schumer’s office and gave them an earful. I told them that this bike lane is great, and I’d love to see more of them in Westchester!

    I just “Liked” his FB page, and posted a comment. A few hundred posts should get his attention, unless he starts taking them down.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Larry, Channel 2 is a distant second behind WABC-7.”

    I’m looking big picture. Who is watching either, and what are their demographic characteristics? What would you guess? I know what I’d guess.

  • vnm

    Your guess is as good as mine.

  • Larry Littlefield

    A shrinking audience of over 55s. That’s my guess.

    And if they have to bash people riding bicycles to appear to their dwindling demographic, they are going to do it. Desperation, particularly given the fight for ad revenues.

    (Not just the corporates. It must really stick in The Newshour with Jim Lehrer’s cram to have that Chevron propadanda non-commercial on, but they need the money).

    I think that article by the Bicycle Habitat guy cited last week or the week before was spot on. “It’s not about you, its about the future.”

    People with that point of view were a minority in that generation. But added to everyone coming after, they could finally end up in the majority. But not in the majority of those on TV. Support your alternative news source, or you won’t have news.

  • I wish they would show the double parked truck that is actually causing the traffic jam

  • Marsha Kramer’s Eyebrow

    Still don’t understand how Marsha Kramer has a job. She cuts her ending stand up downwind from where the camera is, you can see six or seven blocks and traffic flowing super smoothly no problem, hardly any cars.

    The truth is, anything could have been holding up the traffic. How do we know that NBBL weren’t out there double parking and going slow and manipulating the traffic so they could record jams on camera? I mean come on, if Marty was on the other side of the argument that is the ridiculous hyperbole he would resort to.

    Essentially this whole segment was created out of thin air by a 3 second clip that doesn’t prove anything at all. And Kramer asks no questions, for a reporter she is an absolute joke….and she probably deep down knows that.

  • Eyebrow, I have a screen grab of the moment you’re talking about here:

    http://brooklynspoke.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/somethings-wrong/

    It’s not just this video. Almost every time Marcia does a stand-up on PPW to talk about how congested it is, you can see traffic moving fine in the background! When Tony Aiello did his Mobile 2 drive-by on the Columbus Ave bike lane and the VO said that the lane had made parking more difficult, there were tons of empty spaces in the background.

    Then again, consistency has not been the hallmark of NBBL and their friends in the media or Borough President’s office.

  • Omri

    Posted to his facebook page. He’s taking them down, but well, let’s see what if he has to do it over and over.

  • Why didn’t the dark-colored SUV and the light-colored van in the near lane pull up to the curb next to the fire hydrant, in order to make way for the ambulance? This story could just as well have been called “Selfish Drivers Who Cause Potentially Life-Threatening Ambulance Delays.”

  • Marcia Kramer’s Eyebrow

    One thing that is awesome: If you google “Marcia Kramer” two of the top ten stories are now Streetsblog stories. The more this gets forwarded around, the higher and more entries there will be.

  • Geck

    It looks to me like the light is red just outside of the frame and the ambulance used the bike lane to go around traffic waiting at the light. It is similar to the ambulance in her other video crossed onto the other side of a pedestrian island on Ft Hamilton Parkway to get around cars waiting at a light. Over the years, I have seen many many ambulances and police vehicles cross over the yellow line to get around cars stopped at a light. It is not news and it has nothing to do with traffic calming. If it is a problem, it is a problem with how emergency vehicles are operated not with the way the street is designed.

  • Mike

    There’s no evidence that there was a traffic jam at all. I think these cars were just stopped for a light. You can see them start moving at the end of the clip.

  • Ken Coughlin

    I took a journalism class with Marcia Kramer back in the late 80s. My main recollection is that she started us off with a close reading of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as an example of one of the finest pieces of writing (and hence journalism) ever. I commend to Streetsblog readers’ attention Lincoln’s final sentence, which takes on a contemporary poignancy if we think of the “honored dead” as all the victims of car violence in our city, and we substitute “this street” for “this nation.” Remember this, Marcia?

    “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

  • Marty Barfowitz

    DOT should just start calling these separated bike lanes “Ambulance Express Lanes.” If a street is clogged with traffic and New York City drivers are, as is often the case, too boneheaded to know that they are supposed to move out of the way of an emergency vehicle, the ambulance can simply use the bike lane. Response times will be vastly improved. And I can’t imagine cyclists and ambulances will have too much trouble getting out of each other’s way.

    Ambulance Express Lanes: It’s a big win.

  • As a user of the PPW bike lane I would be honored to get out out the way for an emergency vehicle. Unlike the double parker that is causing the back up.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “As a user of the PPW bike lane I would be honored to get out out the way for an emergency vehicle. ”

    Me too, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to do on my bicycle than it is in my car.

  • Joe R.

    Not a user of the PPW bike lane, but I share that sentiment also. I’ll all too happy to move aside for emergency vehicles, knowing that any seconds I save them may mean someone’s life.

  • norwoodcitizen

    Give me a fµ??ing break!

    I’ll take my chances with the ambulance on the cycle track instead of the mayhem with an ambulance out in general traffic any day!

  • Jacob Mason

    Somehow, my comment on Schumer’s page is still up. Give it some love.

  • PJ

    It’s clearly not about policy, but politics and personalities.

    It’s no secret that the former DOT commissioner is no fan of the current one — and that was before one of the latter’s signature initiatives (literally) got planted on the former’s doorstep.

    Waiting for the right journalist to connect the dots on this one…it’ll be great reading.

  • bbb

    I like how you have a whole row of parked cars sitting their and they complain about congestion.

    Since when does a road become someone’s driveway?

  • a culp

    Hey I just “liked” Chucky’s FB page & got to write on his wall! I posted the link to this article. I’m sure one of his nice young men will delete it, but Thanks for the tip.

  • tommybones

    It just so happens that Schumer LIVES on Prospect Park West.

  • john

    Bike lanes serving their primary purpose, facilitating safety and flow, especially for EMS. What a plus for those needing essential services.

  • LS

    It is also important to note that Sen. Schumer lives in a building that is on Prospect Park West. So this may be more about NIMBY attitudes for all of these people than anything else. Nothing quite like a hypocritical liberal!

  • Marcia

    Saw a press SUV honk at pedestrians in the crosswalk and then blow through a red light this morning. License plate NYP 5491. Wonder if it was a CBS affiliated vehicle?

  • jooltman

    Time for some action, people!

    Call Jim Walden and let him know what you think of his pro bono work that does nothing to support their firm’s mandate that pro bono work should “serve those in need” and “protect the environment” (quotes from their Web site):
    212-351-2300

    Call Gibson Dunn’s National Pro Bono Chair, Scott Edelman at their Century City office and tell him the same:
    310-552-8500

    Call the Pro Bono Institute and tell them that one of their member firms is making a mockery of the whole concept of pro bono! Tammy Taylor (ttaylor@probonoinst.org or 202.729.6699) coordinates their Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge. Let her know that Gibson Dunn’s pro bono hours are being logged to forward the interests of Chuck Schumer & Co. against the common good and public opinion.

    Definitely call Senator Schumer’s office and let him know we expect him to tell his “friend” Kramer (that photo is priceless!) to have some journalistic integrity and to distance himself from Neighbors for a Better Bike Lane. Say it’s undermining his good reputation among his constituents:
    212-486-4430
    202-224-6542

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