At Bloomberg Press Conference, One Thing Is Back to Normal After Sandy

While the city is recovering from disaster and New Yorkers are trying to get back to work, members of the city’s political press once again showed their true colors: For some, the top concern is being able to gas up their single-occupancy vehicles and drive around Manhattan unimpeded.

Marcia Kramer wants to know when she can drive solo around Manhattan again.

At an 11:30 press conference with Mayor Bloomberg and other elected officials, WCBS-TV’s Marcia Kramer — friend of bike lane haters everywhere — prefaced her question by stating that traffic has been “chaotic at best” and asked Mayor Bloomberg about the efficiency of HOV-3 checkpoints. “They use scarce resources of gas,” she started to say, before the mayor cut her off.

“Marcia, I don’t know how to break this to you: we’re all in this together,” he said, adding that personal inconvenience for drivers was very low on the city’s list of priorities. Kramer followed up, asking if the HOV-3 restrictions would be in effect tomorrow. “Yes,” the mayor said. “We’ve already announced that.”

Later in the press conference, another reporter asked the mayor when gas stations, many of which have run out of fuel, would reopen. Because, as we all know, the mayor of New York controls the gasoline supply chain.

Other highlights from the press conference:

  • Bloomberg praised the MTA for suspending fare collection on buses and trains. “It was the right decision,” he said. “I wish they’d do it all along. Unfortunately they can’t do that until Shelly Silver comes up with other ways of funding them,” he said jokingly, acknowledging that the Speaker was, in fact, standing next to him at the press conference.
  • Bloomberg said that he is not completely confident that the East River tunnels would be ready for subway service by Monday morning. The MTA has not yet provided an update on restoration of subway service beyond its current levels.
  • The mayor also made note of yesterday’s gridlock. “There’s no question that travel into our city yesterday was very difficult,” he said. “Roads were so clogged that we had concerns about emergency vehicles.”
  • While Bloomberg said he hopes the HOV-3 restrictions can be lifted after Friday, he also cited their benefits and urged everyone not to drive at all. “While it helped alleviate some of the severe congestion we saw yesterday, traffic today remained very heavy. We encourage people to take mass transit whenever possible,” he said. “Some have asked for special treatment, but the bottom line is that we are just not equipped to grant exemptions.”
  • He also asked New Yorkers not to drive. “I strongly encourage everyone not to take their cars into Manhattan,” Bloomberg said. “If you have other options — including walking — please take it. It would probably be faster than taking your car.”
  • Real New Yorker

    People like Marcia Kramer should be persona non grata in New York after this. She clearly hates New York City.

  • Positronic

    I saw this happen live and it was one of the more beautiful moments the Mayor has ever had in a press conference.  He basically laid the smack down on Marsha.  Her fellow journalists know she is a joke.  She must feel alone in that room deep down inside.

  • Eric McClure

    Given that the Governor declared a transit emergency, can Marcia Kramer be locked up for the duration?

  • Anonymous

    Given service to/from New Jersey has been very limited, sometimes driving is really the only feasible alternative. Not everyone is fit to walk 30 blocks one-way, even if one is willing to put up with all delays on the preceding segments of their adjusted commute.

    I don’t think people who don’t need to are driving in Manhattan for the sake of it, at least not a large number of them.

    Even cabs have been very scarce, almost impossible to find one depending on where one lives.

  • Real New Yorker

    andrelot, if the people who lived close and drove anyway had decided not to it would have been a lot easier to get into the city from NJ. among drivers there seems to be very little sense of sacrifice for the greater good.

  • Mark Walker

    “Marcia, I don’t know how to break this to you: we’re all in this together.” Classic Bloomberg response, giving her the withering contempt she deserved. I’m going to miss Mikey when the next mayor takes office.

  • Bolwerk

    I would say I wouldn’t miss Mike, but I’m guessing it will be a mixed bag. The next mayor will probably be another Democrat, which basically means somewhat more respect for civil liberties than Bloomberg/Giuiliani, but probably a delusion that everyone could and should drive as much as possible.

    Then again, Christine Quinn seems cut from the same plain batty right-wing mold, and Ed Koch only endorsed her because Ray Kelly doesn’t want to run… :-

  • St

    Your view is Manhattan-centric. Gas stations being closed is actually a concern for New Yorkers who need to carpool to work either b/c they can’t safely ride a bike or access mass transit.

  • Real New Yorker

    St, if that’s why you think Marcia Kramer was asking when the restriction would be listed, then I have an HOV bus bridge I’d like to sell you.

    How would the ability to drive solo in Manhattan have any bearing on the availability of gas?

  • Real New Yorker

    lifted.

  • JK

    Did the mayor encourage people to try biking? The weather has been good, and it seems crazy for people to be doing these 90+ minute transit commutes of 10 miles. Even a pokey bike commute would get you there much faster.

  • Eric McClure

    @77dd00db93265cc480eeb02d3429821a:disqus , he has a bit, but it hasn’t been a full-throated “getting on a bike is the best way to get around.”

  • Bolwerk

    @08af2454cbce014a45d1ec35334420ba:disqus : ya think it would reduce it? 🙂

  • St

    Real New Yorker – all I’m saying is, we shouldn’t dismiss concerns about gas supply – there are many New Yorkers out there, living or working in the outer borough fringes, who have no choice but to drive gas powered vehicles to work.

  • Pengel

    Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, why is it always about Marcia?

    Seriously, maybe Marcia can get a “chief political correspondent” job on News 12 Westchester where she lives. I think she’d be much happier and still have access to Senator Chuckie when the wife and he need dirty deeds done dirt cheap.

  • al

    Many of the refineries and fuel distribution centers are on the water, and use barges to send and receive bulk shipments.  Some of them have suffered flooding and damage.  Its going to take some time to get them up to speed.  All the while, people are running generators on gas (and diesel to a lesser extent), and are burning gas in traffic and on lines at gas stations.

    It would be a good idea to start handing out numbers at gas stations so that cars can shut down and save gas while they wait in line.

  • Anonymous

     Running out of gas is a real concern.  Taxis and private cars are an important part of the transportation network, not to mention the need for delivery trucks to supply local businesses.
    HOV3 restrictions are a good start, as they encourage people to carpool, and to avoid unnecessary car trips.  The restriction is probably not enough by itself, but at least it helps.

  • Guest

    The hit on the gas supply is actually problematic for many people still without electricity who are relying on generators.  I would be glad to see some rationing for autos to help ensure people who need medical equipment don’t end up losing power.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Here’s some news.  

    “In a surprise announcement, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Thursday that Hurricane Sandy had reshaped his thinking about the presidential campaign and that as a result he was endorsing President Obama.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/nyregion/bloomberg-endorses-obama-saying-hurricane-sandy-affected-decision.html

    And in a jape that only Brits and Ruppert Murdock could understand, “It’s the NY Post’s Marcia Kramer Wot Won It.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It's_The_Sun_Wot_Won_It

    “Marcia, I don’t know how to break this to you: we’re all in this together.”

    Marcia speaks for the majority of your Generation and the one immediately after, Mr. Mayor.  “What about my needs?”  About time the minority started smacking them down on behalf of their progeny.

  • Ben Kintisch

    The Marcia Kramer moment was classic, but I also wonder why Mayor Bloomberg has not been more explicit about the fun and practicality of biking. Wouldn’t it be something to see Mr. Bloomberg bike (with his security detail along for the ride) from the UES down to City Hall? It would be a great example for the whole city.

  • St

    I agree it’d be nice if Bloomberg could ride his bike down to City Hall but the reality is that in this crisis Bloomberg doesn’t have time to bike to City Hall. Our mayor needs constant access to phone and intel in an environment where he can give orders and make decisions, something his vehicle provides.

  • PC

    Ah, yes–phone and intel. I long for the day when somebody invents a pocket-sized wireless device upon which a person can conduct telephone conversations, and perhaps some day–you may guffaw, but let history record that I dared to dream out loud!–some day even read data and view pictures on a screen. Oh, they’ll be costly at first, but I’m confident that after a few years the prices these “cleverphones” as I call them will come down far enough to put them within reach even of Michael Bloomberg.

    And on that day, it will be feasible for the mayor of an American city to ride a bicycle in public.

  • iSkyscraper

    The grain of truth here, perhaps, is that it is hard to find the balance on these restrictions.  No HOV restrictions was a total disaster.  Restrictions enforced with a heavy hand on 24 hrs notice was also a pretty screwed up mess, if you looked up at the massive backup in the suburbs.  I think today they got it a little more right, with everyone now knowing about the rules and what seems to be less aggressive enforcement.  Of course, getting a few more mass transit options open today has also really helped.

    As for the gas stations, if you have spent any time in NJ lately you will have seen first hand the full blown panic that is underway there.  It’s hard to keep that from spreading to Manhattan.   

  • Ian Turner

    Bloomberg could get to work on the Conference Bike.
    http://conferencebike.com/

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