Anthony Weiner, Ready to Erase Bike Lanes, Won’t Be Cowed by “Jihadists”


It may be news to the national audience of BuzzFeed, but Anthony Weiner once said he would hold ribbon cuttings on his first day in Gracie Mansion to rip out the city’s bike lanes. He now insists the expletive-laced promise was a joke, but he’s firm in his opinion that at least two of the city’s bike lanes should be removed. He reiterated that position in an interview with BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith yesterday, adding that he’s “not going to be bullied” on the issue by “policy jihadists.”

Smith’s interview with Weiner provides perhaps the best example yet of the candidate’s “small talk, small stick” approach to bike policy. Here it is in three simple steps:

  • Equivocate on whether you support bike lanes (“There are good bike lanes and bad bike lanes”);
  • Talk about how great Citi Bike is (“You know, I belong to this bike-share thing”);
  • And finally — this is the real wild card — speak off the cuff with a snappy one-liner.

In this interview, Weiner’s off the cuff moment came when he promised that he would stand up to what he described as “policy jihadists,” who he said are “incapable” of understanding “that there are going to be stupid bike lanes, and so you’re going to replace them.” Weiner promised that as mayor, he would not hesitate to rip out bike infrastructure — which, it should be noted, is making streets safer for everyone. “I’m not going to be bullied by people who are like, protesting outside my house because I made some joke about bike lanes,” he said.

When Smith asked whether Mayor Michael Bloomberg or DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan were “policy jihadists,” Weiner replied, “More the latter.”

The interview didn’t reveal much of substance about Weiner’s transportation policy. (He has twice volunteered an encouraging position on off-street parking reform, an issue other candidates have avoided.) He’s said he would remove bike lanes on Prospect Park West and Broadway, and on BuzzFeed Weiner again spoke against Broadway bike infrastructure. “They take Broadway and get it down to one lane,” he said, arguing that the current street design makes deliveries difficult. “They have to park the truck in one lane of traffic, or on the sidewalk, or in the bike lane. That’s a bad bike lane.”

Weiner fails to mention that most of Broadway through Midtown has two car lanes, and that Broadway has designated loading zones. If the street needs more or better-enforced loading zones, that’s a relatively easy fix, and would not require removing the bike lane. On the Upper West Side, merchants and elected officials worked together to ensure that loading zones along the Columbus Avenue bike lane were available for merchants who needed them. Perhaps Weiner could flesh out his transportation policy rather than reflexively designating certain bike lanes as “bad” or “stupid.”

At the heart of Weiner’s “jihadist” argument is that DOT and bike lane proponents are inflexible. But on Broadway, for example, DOT significantly changed its design from 42nd to 35th Streets after it discovered that the layout wasn’t working as well as it could. The city added pedestrian space and converted the bike lane from a protected curbside lane to a buffered lane next to moving traffic.

Perhaps Weiner himself is aware that his case against the Broadway bike lane is flimsy, so the candidate, who sank to 11 percent in the latest Siena poll, quickly pivoted to the hallmark of his bike platform: enthusiastic support for bike-share, which has consistently polled well. “I take bike-share to my campaign events,” Weiner said.

Smith seemed to interpret this as somehow undermining Weiner’s outer-borough bona fides. Though residents in those very boroughs (not to mention the Bronx and Staten Island) are clamoring for bike-share to come to their own neighborhoods, he asked Weiner: “Have you told your supporters in Brooklyn and Queens about this?”

“Yes,” Weiner replied, adding that he wants to expand bike-share to the rest of the city.

  • Anonymous

    At the heart of Weiner’s “jihadist” argument is that DOT and bike lane proponents are inflexible.

    If there’s anything I love about the pro-speeding, no-such-thing-as-too-much-free-parking crowd, it’s their flexibility. Their almost Shakespearean ability to inhabit, in fully human terms, any given side of an issue and recognize the flawed humanity at the center of it all.

  • Anonymous

    Smith’s interview with Weiner provides perhaps the best example yet of the candidate’s “small talk, small stick”

    Im sorry, I just cant participate in this conversation without laughing at penis innuendo or vote for a guy who talks about removing some of our rare and precious bike infrastructure so flippantly.

    Edit: The “inflexible extremist” thing is bowing again to the myth that the bike lanes went in without community input (like when they gave the streets away exclusively to cars in the 50s and 60s).

  • Frank Dell

    Of course Weiner will remove the Prospect Park West bike lane. That’s what his overlord Chuck “Sunday Soundbite” Schumer wants. But Chuck doesn’t want to get his hands dirty so he leaves it to his wife and Carlos Danger to do the heavy lifting.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I do admit, I often start a big push on my bike with a loud Allah Hu Akbar. And I’m not even Muslim.

  • Reader

    Weiner is the ultimate NIMBY candidate. He’s only against the bike lanes near where he currently lives and where he used to live. The rest are fine.

  • Joe R.

    At this point his opinion is less than worthless. He can’t even be elected dog catcher, much less mayor. He should go start some kind of business and forget politics. Maybe start a hot dog company. Call it Weiner’s weiners.

  • carma

    no credibility to this moron. sorry, but if you elect this panderer, you deserve to win a “Stupid Award”

  • Eric McClure

    I just keep reminding myself that four weeks from today, we won’t have to hear the name “Anthony Weiner” ever again.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    Why does anyone even bother to report what he says any more? He has just as much credibility as the guy standing on the corner yelling about the end of the world being next week.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve spent my share of time on the stretch of Broadway Weiner wants to rip up, and I’ve never seen a truck parked on the sidewalk making a delivery. Who has?

  • krstrois

    Luckily those jihadists won’t have to detonate his future prospects because he’s doing a great job of that himself.

  • Anonymous

    How is he even taken seriously as a candidate? I don’t get it.

  • Glenn

    Weinberg is a side show. The battle right now is between Thompson and DeBlasio for the second slot in the run-off. To me deBlasio looks better

  • Eric McClure

    That guy’s going to be right one day; Weiner, not so much.

  • Joe Enoch

    It’s terrifying that this loser was so close to using this city as his political rebound. Thank goodness he can’t keep his small stick in his pocket.

  • Steve O’Neill

    Yeah, but the hot dog is spelled “wiener”. Makes you wonder why Anthony doesn’t save himself some of this trouble and pronounce his name “whiner.”

  • Anonymous

    It’s not so much he wants to get rid of bike lanes as it is his fostering an anti-cyclist mentality that is a real danger in urban areas like New York.

  • Mark Walker

    Weiner’s failure to grasp policy runs deep in his character. As the Times reported after interviewing dozens of people who knew him, he was a legislative lightweight, “a lawmaker with little patience for making laws and a single-minded focus on generating attention.” The scary thing is not that he would rip out two bike lanes, as offensive as that would be. The truly scary thing is that he would apply the same inattention and arrogance to every issue facing the city. It’s a good thing he couldn’t control his penis because otherwise he would have plunged us into a downward spiral, and on all issues, not just on transportation.

  • Anonymous

    I know! I don’t know what Broadway he’s looking at, but I’ve yet to see a traffic jam or a truck parked on the sidewalk. All I’ve seen is a community-approved street that’s calmer, safer, and accommodates all users.

    I simply don’t see why Weiner has such a hard-on for this bike lane.

  • Anonymous

    The reporter of the Villager piece noted that Weiner’s brother owns a restaurant near there. May be the source of Weiner’s solicitude for delivery vehicles–apart from the fact that he lives there as well. I wonder if Weiner keeps his own car, living as he does in what is arguably the most walkable community in America.

  • Anonymous

    The reporter of the Villager piece noted that Weiner’s brother owns a restaurant near there. May be the source of Weiner’s solicitude for delivery vehicles–apart from the fact that he lives there as well. I wonder if Weiner keeps his own car, living as he does in what is arguably the most walkable community in America.

  • Bolwerk

    This might be the best description of Weiner I have ever seen.

    It sort of applies to Quinn too though.

  • Bolwerk

    This might be the best description of Weiner I have ever seen.

    It sort of applies to Quinn too though.

  • Bolwerk

    In the 1960s, a certain parks commissioner famously remarked that he was gonna fix the traffic congestion gripping the city. How? Rip out all our fuckin’ streetcar tracks. Except he at least didn’t drop the F-bomb.

    He did it, and we’ve been paying the price ever since.

  • Bolwerk

    In the 1960s, a certain parks commissioner famously remarked that he was gonna fix the traffic congestion gripping the city. How? Rip out all our fuckin’ streetcar tracks. Except he at least didn’t drop the F-bomb.

    He did it, and we’ve been paying the price ever since.

  • cc

    Thankfully this penis-picture sending freak isn’t going to win anyways.

  • Bolwerk

    True. But it has to be said: sending a picture of your penis out over SMS is less evil than things like Quinn’s support of stop ‘n frisk.

    We really have dreadful options this year.

  • Jason

    Considering so many of our future financial and ecological challenges all demand the creation of healthy, clean and active cities, it’s appalling Weiner would dare call anyone who promotes bicycling a “jihadist”.

  • Anonymous

    But the Carlos Danger jokes will never die.

  • krstrois

    brother with restaurant seems a likely point of origin for such localized bullshit, since he usually disseminates his BS across the universe.

  • Anonymous

    Huma Abedin may wish that were so…

  • Joe R.

    Nor should they. If nothing else, Weiner has given comedians enough material for the next decade. That’s about the only positive spin I can put on this entire sordid episode.

  • Anonymous

    As of this morning, de Blasio is polling ahead of Quinn. FWIW.

  • Anonymous

    PS And Weiner is polling 4th.

  • Anonymous

    PS And Weiner is polling 4th.

  • Let me change the subject: I have been advocating the use of Rear View Mirrors on Bicycle Handlebars. But last week, I got a second Mirror, this one being a Helmet Mirror. I use a Helmet Mirror on my Right side, and a Handlebar Mirror on my Left.
    You know, one of the main reasons we have Bike Lanes is that Cyclists don’t like to be *Startled*. Having a Mirror or Mirrors prevents that problem.

  • Joe R.

    I use my ears. Cars make so much noise it’s impossible not to hear when one is coming up alongside you.

  • Hank Green

    Generally we do, and both of them are hacks. But DeBlasio seems to be much closer to reasonable, and just moved to the front of the polls today.

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/06/19/de-blasio-lays-out-ambitious-goals-for-street-safety-better-buses-bicycling/

  • Spike Marie

    How about a musical take on Weinergate – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PrCQh3YLTo

  • Joe S

    how about hybrid cars, i can’t even hear anything when I sat in one

  • Joe R.

    All cars make tire and wind noise, even pure electrics. If a car is going so slowly that it’s not making much of either, then it’s not overtaking me, and hence not a threat.

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