This Is How Marty Markowitz Shows the World He’s Not Anti-Bicycling

Via Gothamist, here’s the video of Marty Markowitz making his entrance to the State of the Borough address last night. The Borough President, who parks his SUV on the pedestrian plaza of Borough Hall and uses lights and sirens on local streets when he’s late for press events, is perfectly comfortable riding a trike on 100 or so feet of traffic-free carpet. (To the delight of City Council Member David Greenfield, the first to rise for the standing O.)

So pay no attention to Marty’s dogged efforts to undo street safety improvements that can help reduce the thousands of preventable traffic injuries in Brooklyn each year. Marty likes bikes.

  • bklyngirl

    What a media whore. That guy will do anything for a camera and nothing for the people who actually live in Brooklyn and want more transportation options.

  • ZA

    So when will he get an open invitation to join a bike ride through the controversial area?

  • StevenF

    We are not amused.

    We are not impressed.

    He is not a mensch.

  • Marty Barfowitz

    And yet… This was pretty f’ing genius. Marty’s bike thing was the headline today. It got his anti-DOT message out there in numerous media outlets in the most favorable possible way to Marty. Marty is successfully framing the city’s transportation policy debate on his terms and no one is standing in his way or successfully countering it.

    DOT seems to have no communications strategy. They are not engaging in the debate or explaining to New Yorkers why their work is important and relevant. The advocacy community doesn’t seem to have any satisfying answer or response. And the Mayor is just letting DOT flap in the breeze. He appears to be running scared too. The press is eating up the anti-bike crap. They love it and Marty knows it.

    Bottom line: We are getting our asses kicked by this buffoon. People need to take this clown seriously. Marty has vastly increased the price that DOT pays to implement ANYTHING. He is speaking out against projects that are, for the most part, popular and working extremely well in making city streets safer, more pleasant, more equitable and more efficient. Yet, Marty is paying no political price at all.

  • Marty’s already had his invitation. Several years ago when the Tour de Brooklyn started at Prospect Park/Grand Army Plaza, Marty was there all dress up in his red, white and blue Brooklyn jersey.

    He’s probably kicked off the TDB in other years as well. Don’t know if he’s ever ridden his bike beyond the 20 to 40 feet or so it takes the press to get the shot. Who knows if he’s even capable of riding a bike beyond the typical photo-op. That might explain why he opted for a trike.

    According to Gothamist there were pole dancers too. So he really did turn the State of the Borough address into a one ring circus.

  • I think the TDB should not invite him to participate at all. Just issue a statement to express that due to Marty’s disregard for clear data on the safety of bike lanes, we feel that having him participate in this event would give him cover for an otherwise anti-bicycle agenda. Blah, blah, blah.

    If they want, use it as a chance to invite him to an open forum with the DOT, TA, and other safe streets advocates. Put the ball in his court.

    Done. The biking community should not offer any olive branches to this guy because all he’ll do is break them in half.

  • Actually, MB, the DOT does have a communications strategy: they’re rolling out their “Don’t be a Jerk” campaign this spring, correct?

    The only problem is that they’re playing into the narrative Marty and his cronies love so much: that cyclists are the problem and only “deserve” bike lanes if they behave, and even then not so much. If a cyclist mows down an old person during this campaign, watch for every headline and story to include the line, “A cyclist was being a jerk when he…”

    I know the DOT has to look like it’s doing something to satisfy all the critics, but playing into their hands is not the way to do it. In reality, the DOT should be rolling out a campaign with kids, old people, and others who don’t fit the mold of the typical city biker, and have testimonials, commercials, and more with these people explaining why they want/need bike lanes to get around.

  • If it’s only aimed at cyclists, then the “Don’t be a Jerk” campaign sounds like maybe the worst idea ever.

    It would be as if MLK Jr. and Abernathy rolled out a “Don’t be so Uppity” campaign in Montgomery, Alabama in 1956.

  • J.J. Hunsecker

    I wrote to “askmarty” that my family roots in Brooklyn go back nearly 100 years and I’m normally proud of where I’m from, but yesterday made me ashamed that such an out-of-touch boorish clown pretends to represent us.

    What I asked Marty was this: putting all his schtick aside, is he really that indifferent to safe passage on our public right of ways, on our streets? Does he really think this whole debate over bike lanes is a mockery? Good people have died from speeding cars. I’ve heard no public statements from the BP on those deaths. Their friends and families wrote urging him to speak out on this, and he brushed them off for another cheap photo op. He lies about the Prospect Park West traffic data when he knows better.

    Marty was having a jolly old time, but what I saw was a shameful display from a fat, useless piece of shit. Before this, I’d have wished Marty a decent send off blowing Bruce Ratner or whatever it is that washed-up politicians do in the private sector.

    One can only hope they serve egg creams in hell and the devil won’t let Marty have any.

  • So, Markowitz is riding a bike in an environment where a bike is a toy, in order to show the city that he isn’t anti-bike. Right.

    In related news, JSK should do a photo-op with Lego cars to show the city that she’s not anti-car.

  • The Anti-Weinshall

    One of the best ways to deal with a child throwing a temper tantrum is to remain calm and deal with it in a rational manner. Getting angry teaches children that when they throw tantrums they will get the negative attention that they want.

    Seriously, Markowitz has no real power. He isn’t going to remove the PPW bike lane, as he has absolutely no jurisdiction over it. If anyone ever did try to remove it, then the shit would really hit the fan.

    Honestly, this is Marty’s legacy: A corrupt, old-guard ham of a politician, who stymied progress and pulled strings behind the scenes. It’s kind of sad, really.

  • The Anti-Weinshall

    Wow, looks like Steisel, Markowitz, and Weinshall are suing. I take back what I just said. Seriously? I can’t imagine what grounds they have to sue. If installing a lane with CB approval, local political support, and proven safety benefits can generate a lawsuit, I imagine that removing such a lane will also generate a lawsuit. This could get ugly.

  • Eastern Establishment

    I can’t believe that the law firm of Gibson, Dunn is taking on this case “pro bono.”

    It seems Walden, the lawyer for NBBL, is a partner with Randy Mastro at Gibson, Dunn. So Walden is just doing his buddy, and law firm partner, a favor by taking this case for free.

    I’m no lawyer, but isn’t there some definition for “pro bono” that precludes taking on the case of your very wealthy colleague? How can Walden say that this case is an ethical one to take on?

    So how does this end up for Walden? He gets some other form of compensation from his law partner Mastro. He also gets his name out there; maybe he has political aspirations. Or he does a solid for Weinshall and then gets named in the future to some legal post by Schumer.

    Not bad for a little case about bike lanes.

  • A woman cyclist was involved in a hit and run yesterday in Willburg, punctured lung, fractured pelvis.
    I firmly blame Marty Markowitz and his anti-bike and anti-bike lane rants, as encouraging an social environment that allows drivers to see cyclists and pedestrians as less than human, less than your neighbor.

    I know I have said it before, but to not let another chance go without… I type all this with about 30 staples holding the skin of my outer hip together and about 15 stitches in my shin, all from hardware removal. Hardware to hold my fractured tib/fib and upper femur in place from a crash that probably should have crippled or killed me, in May. I feel for this woman and the family that has to go through this. And thanks Marty, and NBBL, you are real leaders of our community

  • Stan

    Just heard about the suit on WNYC. Thanks to Andrea Bernstein for reporting on the proven safety improvements and the community support of the bikelane as a contrast to the Markowitz talking points.

  • Link to BikeBlogNYC about the young woman hit-in daylight.

  • I’m embarrassed that he represents me

  • The Anti-Weinshall

    This sounds like a good time for a rally. We need to take the cameras away from Marty and show the world how insensitive and bullheaded his actions really are. We need big photos of cyclists hit. Stats on the number killed. If people want to remove a bike lane with a proven safety record they better fucking be ready to explain to the victims and their families why they are doing this.

    No one died from not being able to speed down a street or park instantly. Yet people ARE dying from a lack of safe places to ride. This is about priorities. We need to get Marty, Weinshall, Steisel, and now Mastro on record saying they care more about driver convenience than the lives of cyclists. Barbara Walters?

  • Marcia Kramer’s Eyebrow

    The one thing is about this lawsuit: if a judge gets assigned that is fair and impartial, and looks at the data, there is no way they win. Thus, this case will get a lot of attention and lead to even more bike lanes everywhere. It will suck for a while, sure. But the lawsuit is so crackpot that national attention will be drawn when the decision is rendered against them.

  • Dishing back on Marty is fun and therapeutic, but as Marty Barfowitz (#4) says, Markowitz loves the attention he’s getting and so far he’s controlling this narrative.

    Transportation Alternatives has the right idea–change the narrative. Motorists are mowing people down in our neighborhoods almost daily and with a few exceptions, politicians and law enforcement are ignoring it and waging a war on cyclist and pedestrian safety measures instead.

    We’ve got to go to the places where the politicians and law enforcement are–their offices, town halls, photo ops, precinct councils–and hammer that message home every day.

    There’s a great opportunity coming up on Monday evening at the 19th Precinct Community Council. Come to show you care about the recent deaths of Jason King and Laurence Renard, and you want NYPD focus their priorities on killer motorists.

  • Big “if,” eyebrow!

  • Geck

    Just heard about the lawsuit on WNYC. I am outraged. It seems like the definition of a frivilous lawsuit and i hope they get sanctionrd for it. They must prove the agency’s action was arbitrary and capricous; lacking a rational basis. Everything shows the oppositr to be true.

  • CA3

    Stereotypical that a fat man would be the one to have a problem with walking and bicycling. Unfortunately, this particular one happens to have the power to impede diversity in transportation options for city residents.

  • Westchesterite

    I would bet that the judge appointed to the case has at least some connection to Weinshall or Steisel or Mastro. I’d look for recusals, but don’t expect any.

    If they prevail, I expect that Fifth Avenue Manhattan residents will bring a suit to remove buses along Central Park. Buses ruin their view, so they should be routed on another avenue.

  • Zach

    Was this suit filed before or after one of Marty’s constituents almost died in a hit and run yesterday? I’m a little unclear.

    Hopefully he’ll visit her, if she wants him to.

    The least he could would be to look her mother and father in the eyes and apologize for what happened during his jurisdiction. Because cycling was an issue he choose to make his jurisdiction by choice, after all.

  • Our Bikes Will Save The World

    Gimme a Break! Marty Markowitz is clearly making a joke to his older-jewish friends at this speech. I don’t think he’s trying to pull one over on anybody.

    The Marty’s of the world are winning this contest for NYC’s transit.
    Until bike riders, which I am, reach a true critical mass (what are we, like 1% of the commuters in the city?) and get real about politivcal participation, no one is gonna see us as a real constituency. We’re lucky to have Sadik-Khan right now, but the next mayor will probably unroll all this progress because we’re not forming a real movement here and we’re only talking to ourselves. Like it or not, while most people polled would say they support bike lanes generally… in reality they don’t give a shit. And when the new administration comes to town, all the non-cemented bike lanes will be reviewed for elimination.

    And sites like this will remain one giant sanctimonious circle-jerk of like minded and uber-pretensious mostly over educated white people.

    Streetsblog is turning into this:

    “Oh… you’re so smart, let me jerk you off…” “Oh, no, you’re the one that’s soooo smart… I’ll jerk you off!” “Oh, we’re all so smart and smug, let’s jerk each other off, and let’s get all our other mostly white hip young friends or wanna-be hip older affluent types together in a circle and jerk each other off!” “That’s a great idea! Let’s jerk, jerk, jerk! We’re sooooooo awesome… Let’s jerk to our awesomeness!!!! The other side is evil! Let’s jerk to how righteous we are! Our bikes will save the world!”

    C’mon, give it a rest. If we want to make things safer for ourselves and children, maybe there’s a better way? A little more practical and less pretentious. We should take the high ground instead of looking and commenting like the left-wing version of the Tea Party.

    Remember, it is the auto user who feels entitled. We are trying to create a new paradigm. We need to be the one’s convincing them to change. I don’t think we’re doing a good job.

  • J

    @Our Bikes Will Save The World,
    People change through day-to-day experiences, not from reading blogs or hearing political mud being slung. They have a friend who rides to work, and says “hey, why don’t you give it a try.” Then they try it out with supervision at first. If it’s not too scary (i.e. there are reasonable facilities for their comfort level, then maybe they start doing it regularly. That is how I started biking, and that is how I got many of my friends to start biking. Now many of them have got their friends to start biking, and so on.

    Also, there is a broad and growing coalition that backs biking initiatives, (mostly those that don’t bike themselves, including: Environmentalists, public health professionals, transportation & transit planners, transportation bureaucrats up to the top level of government (Ray LaHood, the head of USDOT is a big bike advocate), and a large number of urban politicians. Even Marty Markowitz himself is very careful to say that he isn’t against bikes or biking. The point is that we have a lot of momentum and support, we just need to somehow to transform all these people saying “biking is great” into actual facilities on the street that make biking a realistic option for most people. This street is a sort of Battle of the Bulge in that struggle.

  • J

    Also, this is a great place to suggest ideas. Do you have any?

  • BicyclesOnly

    Save the World,

    From your comment it is apparent that your brand of political activity is sitting around on your butt writing comments you think are witty and incisive to criticize what others are actually doing.

    When will I see you out in public doing something?

  • Sincere and heartfelt kudos to Sadik-Khan who’s been great bringing cycling in New York City from virtually nothing to a little bit more than nothing, unfortunately with a long way to go; where getting things done in this town most often has to be achieved despite everyone; and expectation levels — even for advocates — still remain miniscule.

    With the incredible diversity of great stuff to do and see in New York City cycling has the potential of being worth many $billions in increased tourism, congestion reduction, greatly improved quality-of-life easily translated to increased business, real estate values, etc.

    Still likely more than a year a way, a public bicycle system will help, but Bloomberg with his business savvy must endeavor to fully realize the immense commercial value of a truly functional and professional bike system; better described as net-zero transit.

  • Woody

    And now this, from CBS TV website, WCBS 880?s Peter Haskell “reports” or opinionates …

  • Yay shweeb!

    RT @roadcc Mayor Boris Johnson plans to bring #cycling monorail to #London for #2012 Olympics #bike


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