Steve Levin Has No Position on the Prospect Park West Bike Lane

Following last week’s double committee vote in favor of DOT’s suggested changes for the Prospect Park West bike lane, the proposal to add raised pedestrian refuges to the redesign is set to go to the full board on April 13.

Chuck Schumer and Steve Levin at the 2009 event where Schumer announced his endrosement of the first-time City Council candidate. Photo: Greenpoint News.
Chuck Schumer and Steve Levin at the 2009 event where Schumer announced his endorsement of the first-time City Council candidate. Photo: ## News##

At this point, just about everyone has weighed in on this project. The Community Board approved the initial installation nearly two years ago. More than 70 percent of Park Slope residents want the bike lane to stay, according to last year’s survey of nearly 3,000 Brooklynites. And at the last public hearing about the redesign, supporters outnumbered opponents eight to one. We know that Borough President Marty Markowitz is a relentless opponent, and that City Council Member Brad Lander is a steadfast supporter.

But there is at least one person who still has no position on the Prospect Park West bike lane: City Council Member Steve Levin.

Levin’s district includes the northern part of Prospect Park West, above Third Street. The district has one of the highest rates of bike commuting in the city, but also happens to encompass the PPW bike lane opposition headquarters at 9 Prospect Park West, residence of Iris Weinshall, Chuck Schumer, and NBBL president Louise Hainline.

Together with Markowitz and Lander, Levin is one of three local electeds whose stance on the Prospect Park West bike lane counts the most. Those are the three pols whose appointments will determine who sits on Community Board 6 going forward.

Before last week’s committee vote, Streetsblog contacted Levin’s office to see whether he had joined Markowitz and Lander in taking a position on the bike lane and whether it should stay.

After all the votes, data collection, and surveys — including the one his own office jointly organized with Lander’s staff and CB 6 — showing that the redesign has achieved its stated goals and enjoys broad support, Levin’s office had only this to say: He hasn’t taken a position on the bike lane.

  • MinNY

    He needs money from those that hate the lane. He needs votes from those that love the lane.

  • Whoa!

    This is highly, highly, highly disappointing. If he isn’t saying anything positive, he might as well be against it.

    This from the guy who wants to institute 20 mph speed limits in some sections of Brooklyn Heights – but I guess it is okay for Prospect Park West to return to a speedway?

  • M

    Levin has no backbone on any issue that doesn’t directly affect Vito Lopez.

  • Hart Noecker

    Did anyone notice the pile of dead Palestinians behind Chuck Schumer?

  • Dale Peterson

    It’s high time that Chuck Schumer states his position. God knows he understands how to get his opinion into the papers and on the teevee. Why won’t he state clearly his views as a PPW neighbor.

    After all, when he was a candidate two years ago he told us what a great cycling enthusiast he is:

    “Exploring New York City and particularly Brooklyn is my passion and my pastime. As the great Brooklyn author Thomas Wolfe once famously quipped, “It’d take a guy a lifetime to know Brooklyn t’roo an’ t’roo. An’ even den yuh wouldn’t know it all.” I have lived in Brooklyn my entire life, and I couldn’t agree more. I find that there is no better way to learn about what is going on in New York than by riding my bike through the neighborhoods and stopping and talking to people.

    “I’ve loved riding a bike as long as I can remember. I can still recall every inch of the green Elswick racer I was given for my 10th birthday. Hopping on my bike as a kid was the definition of freedom, whether I was pedaling six blocks to the local basketball court, or roaming around the neighborhood looking for spontaneous fun.

    “Many things have changed since I was a kid. The streets are busier and my hair is grayer, but to me, spending a few hours riding my bike through New York still feels like freedom No matter how busy my schedule, I try to spend a few hours on my bike each week.”

    Surely such a lover of bicycling can find time to express his support of the hugely popular new bike lane on his very own street!

  • car free nation

    Levin has no position on congestion pricing (other than that you have to consider those people who “have” to drive), no position on residential parking permits (other than that it shouldn’t cost anything extra – like $10 a year), and no position on a host of other issues. He never takes a stand on anything that might be remotely controversial, except to say that you have to consider the other point of view.
    In some ways, he’s the perfect politician.

  • Glenn

    Funny, I met both Brad Lander and Steve Levin at a New York League of Conservation Voters gathering after they won their respective primaries. Levin definitely seemed like the weaker of the two. Lander not only talks like an advocate, he acts like a one! Levin is still finding his way. He should spend more time Lander.

  • l

    Your headline is incorrect. It should read: “Steve Levin Has No Position on Safer Streets.”

  • William Reilly

    Brad Lander’s constituency includes the frum Yidden of Boro Park, yet he remains steadfastly on the right side of this issue. By demonstrating this kind of leadership and giving families safer streets, Lander is winning allies even there.

    Steve Levin should recognize that his political career is as easily erasable as a Williamsburg bike lane. And the chairmanship of the Taxi and Limousine Commission is already filled.

  • Moser

    Brad is an advocate – look at his resume. By contrast, Levin has been a pol from day one.

  • Jay

    @Dale Peterson,

    I think I’d prefer if Schumer kept out of local politics. He represents the entire state at the national level and would have undue influence at the local level. He surely thinks this way as well, and I would be SHOCKED if he ever made a comment one way or the other. Even Weinshall seems to have backed off, probably because she was doing real damage to Schumer’s political reputation over a popular 1 mile bike lane.

    Levin is a newbie, but he should still be expected to show some leadership. He did help Lander organize the survey that showed strong support of the PPW bike lane. However, he is part of the Vito Lopez machine, with all the back room dealings and shadiness that goes along with it. Sadly, his political career probably rests on not pissing off Vito (who lives in Long Island) and other old-school politicians who probably all drive and almost certainly side with Markowitz and NBBL on this one.

  • tom

    Does anyone remember a politician named Robert Wagner Jr.? His grandfather was an outstanding US Senator, and his father was Manhattan Boro President and then NYC Mayor. He was a decent guy, smart and dedicated. He ran for Manhattan Boro President against Andy Stein, a mentally-challenged Assemblyman who used his father’s money but not his father’s name. Bobby, as he was known to all, made it an issue that he would only use public transit during the campaign. In Manhattan, he thought this would not be an impediment. He really believed a car was not needed. Naturally, he lost.
    No winning politician has forgotten that lesson.

  • Though I do wish Levin took a position on PPW (especially since it was his own survey that showed such overwhelming support) but I must point out he has come out in FAVOR of RETURNING THE TWO WAY TOLL to the Verrazano bridge. That change alone would have a tremendous positive effect for all of Brooklyn & Lower Manhattan…. and even Staten Island’s congestion.

  • Call or email Councilman Levin:



Chuck Schumer’s Office Has No Comment on Prospect Park West

Streetsblog has contacted Senator Chuck Schumer’s press office twice asking for comment on the Prospect Park West bike lane and received no reply. Reports have recently surfaced personally tying Schumer to efforts to reverse the Prospect Park West redesign, which enjoys broad popular support according to a web survey of nearly 3,000 Brooklynites. Schumer’s wife, […]

The NBBL Files: Chuck Schumer “Doesn’t Like the Bike Lane”

Editor’s note: With yesterday’s appellate ruling prolonging the Prospect Park West case, Streetsblog is running a refresher on the how the well-connected gang of bike lane opponents waged their assault against a popular and effective street safety project. This is the third installment from the six-part NBBL Files. This piece originally ran on October 5, 2011. This is […]

For Nearly Two Years, Ex-NYC DOT Chief Has Undercut the Signature Street Safety and Sustainable Transportation Agenda of Her Successor

Tomorrow, Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Bert Bunyan is expected to weigh in for the first time on the core arguments brought by opponents of the Prospect Park West redesign against the City of New York. Ostensibly, the dispute is between the anti-bike lane groups known as “Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes” (NBBL) and “Seniors for […]

Who Supports the Prospect Park West Bike Lane?

As a referendum on the Prospect Park West redesign, last night’s Community Board 6 hearing was another clear signal that the two-way, protected bike path enjoys broad support within the community. On the community board’s sign-in sheet, 86 people put their names down to testify in favor of the project while 11 signed up to […]