De Blasio: Bike Lanes That Replace Parking Spots, Travel Lanes Are Worth It

Elevated from the headline stack: CBS radio reporter Steve Scott elicited the following response from mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio on the subject of bike lanes. It’s got a touch more specificity than the norm:

Scott ended the interview on the subject of bike lanes, asking if they are worth the parking spots and vehicular traffic lanes that they eliminate.

“They are, in the final analysis,” said de Blasio. “My district in Brooklyn when I was in the City Council was one of the first to have bike lanes and they do help calm down the traffic. They do help make neighborhoods safer and more and more people are turning to bikes as an option, which is good for the environment, obviously good for people’s health.”

“The way Mayor Bloomberg did it, as usual, was often insensitive to communities,” he added. “But that doesn’t mean bike lanes aren’t a good idea. Yes, we should expand them deeper into the outer boroughs. I think we gain a lot of benefit from it.”

  • This is a very good evolution from de Blasio. Bike lanes are becoming less and less of a third rail issue very day.

    Now all Bill needs is one final kick in the pants to get over this notion that the community process was “often insensitive.” I’d love to hear him point to specific instances where public input was lacking and provide solid plans for how he’d improve things as mayor.

    But, boy, has he come far on this.

  • Bolwerk

    Concur with Doug G. However, it seems a bit late to me. Also, he doesn’t show much understanding of…well, anything, frankly. Liu, Quinn, and Weiner all seem smarter, even if at least the latter two are more malicious and authoritarian (especially Quinn on human rights, Weiner on transportation).

    The only somewhat sensible, pro-transit candidate remains Sal Albanese. He is the only one doing better than supporting more milquetoast SelectBus. Unfortunately, he is polling at around 1-2%. 🙁

  • Anonymous

    My hope is that he actually plans to proceed with Bloomberg’s bike plan, but is just making those vague claims about “insensitivity to the community” as a way to differentiate himself from Bloomberg. Even if De Blasio’s DOT keeps following exactly the same outreach policies as Bloomberg’s.

  • Bolwerk

    If community boards actually represented the communities they “serve,” i could maybe buy his argument. But what they really represent are the people without productive lives who have time to come out and vote against the interests of the vast majority of their neighbors.

  • Bolwerk

    If community boards actually represented the communities they “serve,” i could maybe buy his argument. But what they really represent are the people without productive lives who have time to come out and vote against the interests of the vast majority of their neighbors.

  • Bolwerk

    If community boards actually represented the communities they “serve,” i could maybe buy his argument. But what they really represent are the people without productive lives who have time to come out and vote against the interests of the vast majority of their neighbors.

  • Bolwerk

    If community boards actually represented the communities they “serve,” i could maybe buy his argument. But what they really represent are the people without productive lives who have time to come out and vote against the interests of the vast majority of their neighbors.

  • Bronxite

    If bicycle lanes and other forms of traffic calming lead to safer streets for that community, how is there a conflict of interest?

    Anyway, how about supporting Congestion Pricing De Balsio?

  • Bolwerk

    CP, upzoning, more subways, LRT, Rockaway reactivation, Triborough RX, smarter work rules for the MTA. Yes, SBS and bike lanes too.

    Anyone who doesn’t support all those things, and is falling well short of where we need to be, and should not hold elected office.

  • J

    I think there’s something to be said for a better process for bike lanes, although neither de Blasio nor any other candidate has actually suggested a solution. But they have a point that things could be improved. Does anyone know where the next protected bike lane will be proposed? I follow this stuff religiously, and I couldn’t tell you. The current Bike Master Plan is from 1996, before protected lanes and bike share were part of the equation.

    Here’s my proposal for candidates who want to improve the process: pursue a new citiwide plan for a well-connected network of low-stress bike facilities (protected lanes, 20mph streets, and neighborhood greenways). This would include a real community-driven conversation about which streets are most appropriate for high-quality bike lanes and how those facilities need to be designed so that they are actually useful for people ages 8-80. This way people would know where to expect new facilities, they know that the facilities would be useful to them. They’d know how each new facility would connect to the rest of the network. It would also build political will for a complete network, as it’s easier to see the value of filling in the gaps when you’re looking at the network as a whole than if you’re just looking at a particular few blocks.

  • JK

    Last week CM Lander asked DOT to ignore irrational CB opposition to desperately needed safety improvements on Fourth Ave. Is Brad Lander “insensitive,” or was his request OK because he isn’t Bloomberg or Sadik-Khan? If safety is at issue, and Mr. DiBlasio says lanes”help make neighborhoods safer,” how much deference should community boards receive?

  • krstrois

    When it comes time to govern all this transient electoral pandering will turn into “ok, this bike plan is the cheapest way to do a lot of different things.” Which makes the pandering seem rather a lot more craven . . .

  • Miles Bader

    Don’t be too quick to count out Liu on the malicious / authoritarian front … so far he’s struck me as someone who’d sell his own mother to gain power, only he keeps forgetting where he left her … ????

  • ADN

    I have to disagree with Doug G. that this represents “good evolution” for BDB. In Bill’s first years in office as a City Council member in the early 2000’s he was very supportive of livable streets efforts. At public appearances, like the 2002 Town Hall meeting at Union Temple for a three-month trial of a Car-Free Prospect Park, Bill made a big point of saying that he was impressed with livable streets’ advocates organization and grassroots activism. He urged us to “keep doing what you’re doing.”

    So, that’s what we did. We kept organizing, educating and making the case in Community Board meetings, City Council and out on the street. Bill saw us out there. He knows. We grew our movement around the city and kept doing what we were doing and we made significant change happen at NYC DOT. Yet, now Bill seems to suggest that all of the community organizing was nothing, that the changes that we’ve won on NYC streets were simply imposed on communities by an imperialistic mayor.

    If these statements were coming from some clueless former council member from Staten Island, I wouldn’t care. But few elected officials should know as well as Bill de Blasio that the increase in bike infrastructure is a direct result of grassroots organizing on the neighborhood level. Bill was there. He saw it first hand. Mayor Bloomberg didn’t drop a stack of 12,000 car-free park petitions on his desk. His constituents did.

    Yet, now Bill pretends like all of this community organizing work never happened. He tows this bullshit Neighbors for Better BIke Lanes line of DOT being “insensitive to communities.” In addition to being untrue, this is a massive insult to all of the community organizers who have worked hard to win these changes on NYC streets. These changes are overwhelmingly popular, despite what Bill might be reading in the New York Post and hearing from political insiders like Norman Steisel and Randy Mastro.

    Bill had a chance to be the livable streets champion. A smarter politician would have tapped into the activism and energy around this issue and brought them into his campaign. Bill is not that politician, unfortunately. He chose a more divisive and less honest path.

  • ADN

    I have to disagree with Doug G. that this represents “good evolution” for BDB. In Bill’s first years in office as a City Council member in the early 2000’s he was very supportive of livable streets efforts. At public appearances, like the 2002 Town Hall meeting at Union Temple for a three-month trial of a Car-Free Prospect Park, Bill made a big point of saying that he was impressed with livable streets’ advocates organization and grassroots activism. He urged us to “keep doing what you’re doing.”

    So, that’s what we did. We kept organizing, educating and making the case in Community Board meetings, City Council and out on the street. Bill saw us out there. He knows. We grew our movement around the city and kept doing what we were doing and we made significant change happen at NYC DOT. Yet, now Bill seems to suggest that all of the community organizing was nothing, that the changes that we’ve won on NYC streets were simply imposed on communities by an imperialistic mayor.

    If these statements were coming from some clueless former council member from Staten Island, I wouldn’t care. But few elected officials should know as well as Bill de Blasio that the increase in bike infrastructure is a direct result of grassroots organizing on the neighborhood level. Bill was there. He saw it first hand. Mayor Bloomberg didn’t drop a stack of 12,000 car-free park petitions on his desk. His constituents did.

    Yet, now Bill pretends like all of this community organizing work never happened. He tows this bullshit Neighbors for Better BIke Lanes line of DOT being “insensitive to communities.” In addition to being untrue, this is a massive insult to all of the community organizers who have worked hard to win these changes on NYC streets. These changes are overwhelmingly popular, despite what Bill might be reading in the New York Post and hearing from political insiders like Norman Steisel and Randy Mastro.

    Bill had a chance to be the livable streets champion. A smarter politician would have tapped into the activism and energy around this issue and brought them into his campaign. Bill is not that politician, unfortunately. He chose a more divisive and less honest path.

  • I was trying to be nice!

  • ADN

    It’s good to be nice but why let de Blasio off the hook? He continues to spew bullshit. He knows better. Keep the pressure on, I say. And do this because you *like* him as a candidate. He’s not helping himself by alienating livable streets advocates and misinforming the public.

  • Anonymous

    If you’re talking about the effort to give a car-free Central Park a try, then the big petition had 100,000 signatures, not 12,000.

  • ADN

    Bill is from Brooklyn. His City Council district touched Prospect Park.

  • Bronxite

    Exactly, these gaps in the bicycle network are ridiculous. How much would it cost to paint these lanes citywide? Even protected lanes could be effective if they simply paint the entirety first, and follow up with the raised islands later on. They are mostly protected by parked cars anyway.

    NYC could have a complete bicycle network within a few months if the politicians really wanted to make it happen.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Fifth Ave BID, CB6 District Manager Take Aim at Park Slope Bike Lane

|
Fifth Avenue in Park Slope on a weekday morning. What’s wrong with this picture? Photo: Ben Fried. Just about every New York City neighborhood has to deal with the consequences of dirt cheap on-street parking. When you practically give away spaces at rock-bottom prices, it guarantees double parking and endless cruising for spots by bargain […]

City Hall Announces NYPD Crackdown on Drivers Who Endanger Cyclists

|
NYPD will crack down this week on motorists who put cyclists at risk. The “Bicycle Safe Passage Initiative,” which coincides with Bike to Work Week, will last through Friday. Officers in precincts citywide will focus enforcement on motorists who commit traffic violations that “endanger bicyclists,” according to a City Hall press release. Traffic enforcement agents will concentrate […]
STREETSBLOG USA

What Other Cities Say About Cleveland’s Unusual Bike Lane Buffer

|
Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. For all their benefits, protected bike lanes can be complicated. Between maintaining barriers, keeping them clear of snow and preserving intersection visibility, it’s understandable that cities opt not to include them on […]