Look Who’s Pledged to be an Obama Delegate…

I was surprised to find on my ballot this morning, pledged as a delegate to the National Democratic Convention on behalf of Barack Obama, State Senator Eric Adams, friend of double-parkers everywhere.

  • Is that really fair? State Senator Eric Adams was one of the few politicians to attend the recent press conference following our annual memorial ride for cyclists and pedestrians killed in 2007. He actually stood and talked with several families who had lost loved ones over the past year. He’s also sent a representative to a previous pedestrian safety rally. I had written to him regarding his opposition to the 9th street bike lane and he wrote back saying that he wasn’t opposed to the bike lane and that his position was misrepresented on this blog.

  • JF
  • Rachael,

    Eric was opposed to the 9th Street project and lobbied DOT hard, all the way up to the commissioner’s office, in an effort to scrap it. Though he presented his opposition, for the most part, as “I’m just asking questions,” his letter was read by DOT, very clearly, as opposition, as it was intended.

    There are quite a few people from DOT, other elected officials offices and local civic groups who would confirm that Adams was working quite diligently on behalf of a small number of 9th Street home and car owners at the top of the hill who wanted to kill the project. These opponents were concerned, primarily, about the impact a bike lane would have on their ability to double-park.

    The amount of work local activists had to do to counter Adams was intense. To counter Adams we had to get as many other local elected officials as we could to weigh in with a letter of support of their own. We had to ask another City Council member to give Adams a personal call and try to get him to do the right thing.

    Park Slope’s Ninth Street is a street where, in the last few years, two 5th grade boys and a 77-yo woman were mowed down and killed and a car went through the front door of a diner in mid-day, incredibly, hurting no one. The stats show that 9th Street is the most crash-prone street in the neighborhood by a longshot.

    Though the opposition’s focus was always on the bike lane, the DOT Road Diet plan was fundamentally a pedestrian safety and car crash reduction plan, and a pretty good one, at that.

    So, what does it mean when a politician shows up to memorials and rallies with crash victims to express solidarity and then vigorously opposes the actual on-the-ground measures that will help prevent future crashes?

  • ln

    You know what, there are other issues besides parking on NYC streets (despite what is discussed here on streets blog).

    Eric Adams is one of the few elected officials who has consistantly shown up to express his concern for those killed on NYC Streets, and not just (but including those ) killed by cars. We were touched that he came to the Rally at City Hall in January, and he actually sought out family members of cyclists killed in the street to express his condolences. He was the only elected official that did show up to support us, and without our prodding I might add.

    He and the organization he co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care were leaders in the protests against the killing of Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell as well as others killed on the streets at the hands of the police.

    A profile of him is here:

    Once it was proposed he would make a great police commissioner:

    I believe he would be a great representative for issues of concern to all New Yorkers in the democratic convention. Hope you voted for him.

  • slope resident

    I tend to judge politicians on their deeds not their words. And when it comes to deeds, I’d like to see Senator Adams show as much concern for living cyclists and pedestrians as he does for the ones who have been killed. He could go ahead and set up a ghost bike in his district office. It wouldn’t change the fact that he tried very hard to stop a ped and bike safety project in my neighborhood last summer.

    But maybe he learned his lesson. Does anyone know if Adams has followed up these rallies and memorials with tangible action or legislation? Or is he just running for Borough President? Sounds like he’s got at least two votes.

  • ln

    A press release from his website:

    Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    New York State Senators Eric Adams (D, Brooklyn) and Thomas Duane (D, Manhattan) held a press conference at the location of a recent “hit and run” incident to announce a proposed bill that will strengthen vehicular accident laws in New York State. Senator Adams is responding to the spate of recent hit and run related injuries and deaths that have taken place in the New York State City area. The new law would increase the penalty for and automatically revoke the license of any driver who leaves the scene of an accident without properly reporting the incident to officials. Senator Adams states, “The failure to report a vehicular accident can be the life-or-death difference for an injured person who requires immediate emergency medical care.”

    Previous changes in NYS Penal law only address vehicular accidents that involve personal injury. Currently, a person found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident solely involving property damage is charged only with a traffic infraction. Senator Adams pointed out, however, that when a person strikes an occupied vehicle and flees the scene, he does not know whether he has caused any personal injury. It is important, therefore, that we inculcate the concept that every incident must be reported to the proper authorities.

    In many parts of New York State, furthermore, vehicle owners do not have collision insurance on their own automobiles because this optional coverage is too costly. Property damage to these vehicles from hit-and-run accidents leaves innocent owners bearing the full cost of repairs.

    Senator Adams states: “My bill will hold drivers who improperly leave the scene of an accident criminally responsible for their irresponsible behavior.”

  • slope resident

    That’s a decent piece of legislation. I can’t imagine who’d oppose it.

    Still, I’d much rather see the Senator initiating — or, hell, at least not opposing — projects that PREVENT motor vehicle deaths and injuries in the first place. He had the opportunity to make a street safer in my community this summer and he fought it.

  • Thanks Aaron for raising the dialogue above “are you fer ‘im or agin ‘im?”–what I have come to expect from Streetsblog.

  • Daniel

    Get a grip, folks.

    Eric Adams’ hit-and-run bill is little more than a media play, grandstanding. If the bill passes, it will have virtually zero impact on actually improving street safety in NYC.

    If the good Senator is truly interested in pedestrian and biker safety, there are a couple of critical pieces of business before the legislature that he can help push through.

    1. Red light cameras.
    We know that red light cams are highly effective in reducing speeding and crashes and increasing ped safety. NYC’s much desired red light cams have been held up in Albany for years now. If Adams wants to do something about ped safety in Albany, this is waiting for his help. If you’re buds with Adams, why not ask him about this.

    2. Congestion pricing.
    Want to reduce car crashes in NYC? Then let’s reduce the number of cars on the street, reassign street space to buses, bikes and walkers and raise money to make bike infrastructure safer and improve public space. Adams is opposed, I believe.

  • Daniel


    State Senator Eric Adams, in 2006. He told colleagues, “Show me the money!”

    ALBANY — New York legislators are looking for a raise of as much as 22 percent, saying the $79,500 base salaries they earn are not enough.

    But an examination of state records shows that most make considerably more than their base salary. With extra pay for chairmanships and other posts, they earn just over $90,000, on average, for what is widely considered a part-time job; the Legislature is in regular session for 63 days a year.

    And more than a third earn more from outside employment, often as lawyers in their hometowns, but they are not required to disclose how much or from what clients.

    The lawmakers also have enviable health insurance and pension plans. They get $154 per diem when they travel to Albany. Some also spend from their campaign accounts on meals and other expenses.


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