Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Bicycle Infrastructure

Thompson vs. Bloomberg: The Ultimate Bicycling Referendum?

3:01 PM EDT on October 13, 2009

bloomberg_thompson.jpgTonight's debate will be broadcast on NY1.

Tonight at 7:00, mayoral contenders Mike Bloomberg and Bill Thompson face off in the first debate of the general election. Andrew Hawkins at City Hall News has some good pre-debate reading for New Yorkers who care about how this election will affect the future of our streets and public spaces.

To date, Thompson has uncorked a steady flow of escalating anti-bike lane statements, couched in a demand for greater "community input." The argument never squared with DOT's habit of seeking community board approval for bike projects, nor does it jibe with recent resolutions in favor of protected bike lanes passed by Manhattan Community Boards 7 and 8. So Hawkins' sources offer up a few other explanations for Thompson's stance:

George Arzt, a veteranDemocratic political consultant, said Thompson appears to be making agrab for working class, outer borough votes with his calls to removebike lanes and dump Sadik-Khan.

"It'sa 718 issue, as we used to say," said Arzt. "He sees this as anadvantage to do something for the car drivers, many of whom hate thebicycle lanes and are fearful of running over a cyclist."

RossSandler, a New York Law School professor who served as transportationcommissioner under Mayor Ed Koch from 1986-1989, said that vastimprovements in public safety over the past 20 years have increasedcompetition for public space, which goes towards explaining Sadik-Khan’s controversial role in the political landscape, as well as thegrowing clamor for her removal.

"Everybodywants that space," Sandler said. "Parkers, truckers, drivers, cyclists,skateboarders. It is the most competitive space in the city."

One good thing about Thompson's hostile rhetoric toward real-world livable streets improvements: On TV tonight, we might actually get to watch New York's next mayor go on the record explaining how he believes this intensely contested space ought to be allocated.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Astoria Organizers Lead the Way on Street Safety with a Reddit Strategy

The western Queens neighborhood has become a hub for a new kind of safe street advocacy.

October 3, 2023

Connecticut’s Regional Rail Investment is Not About New York City

Gov. Ned Lamont will spend $315 million investment on new rail cars — but they're not going anywhere near Grand Central. Here's why.

October 3, 2023

Tuesday’s Headlines: Taxi Driver Edition

It was a pretty slow Monday, but we have news from the Traffic Mobility Review Board meeting!

October 3, 2023

State DMV’s New Rules Could Kinda Sorta Make Roadways Safer

Of course, it all depends on enforcement and diligence of our motor vehicle officials and cops.

October 3, 2023

Popular Fort Greene Open Street Fizzles After City Pulls Support

DOT reassigned its contractor, and this open street — which once hosted rollicking dance parties — is history.

October 2, 2023
See all posts