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?