Today’s Headlines

  • Drivers Injure Two 12 Year-Old Boys — One on Foot, One on Bike — In Separate Brooklyn Crashes (Post)
  • Baruch College Students Make Use of New East 25th Street Plaza (NYT)
  • Scenes From CB 2’s “I’m Not Against Bike-Share, But…” Kvetch-Fest Last Night (DNANY1, Villager 1, 2)
  • Lhota: “I’m All For the Bike-Share Program,” But Bike-Share Station Sitings Are “Insensitive” (WNYC)
  • A Thoughtful Look at NYC’s Initial Reaction to Bike-Share Stations From the Financial Times
  • Sorry, New York Post: You’re Not Too Fat For Bike-Share (Atlantic)
  • 108th Precinct, Where Tenzin Drudak Was Killed By Out-Of-Control Driver, Gets New Leadership (DNA)
  • Pay a Lot For Gas After Sandy? AG Eric Schneiderman Is On It (News, WSJ, NY1)
  • DOT: Pulaski Bridge Has Capacity For Bike Lane; Engineering Study Up Next (Brownstoner)
  • Rosedale Little League Wants To Curb Speeding Near Park After Driver Hits 7 Year-Old (Times Ledger)
  • Central Park West Anti-Cyclist Assault Case Dismissed For Missing 3-Month Trial Window (News)
  • We really need to remember that it was Sean Sweeney who brought up the word “Taliban” when referring to someone he disagreed with. Of course, he’s already called all of us bike Nazis, as if we are the crazy ones who hold our positions always and deflect all reasonable counterarguments

  • ddartley

    The following is long and rambling, but I really hope you all read it and share your responses.  

    Here are my strategy thoughts about what activists should do, and should NOT do, in support of bike share.  Forgive me if any of this is “Captain Obvious” stuff.

    As activists, our only main concern, I think, should be whether the program actually launches or not.  And I know there’s not much real danger on that front, but watching last night’s meeting and watching reactions from “our side,” I think we’re wasting energy in some skirmishes that we don’t need to get into, and what we should really be doing is making sure there is no real threat to the overall program itself.  Unless we live in a particular building in question, we CAN’T and shouldn’t engage on specific siting issues.  We will rope-a-dope ourselves if we do.

    To last night’s NIMBYs’ credit, in spite of mouth-foaming from some speakers and from much of the crowd, the meeting was virtually all about specific siting concerns, and NOT about whether the program should go ahead or not.  And in spite of a good bit of rabidness, I gotta be honest:  a lot of the specific siting concerns that were brought up were legitimate–and not just legitimate, but were also accompanied by suggested alternatives, as opposed to simple cries of “not on my block.”  And several of those alternatives sounded, at least as presented at that moment, sensible.  I’m not familiar with the specific spots they talked about, and maybe they’re not actually good, but their being offered showed that at least some of these people really do mean it when they say, “I’m not against bike share, BUT [the siting was badly implemented/they should have consulted us on the block/etc.].” 

    Of course I realize that respecting all those objections and suggestions leads to a big problem:  if NYC Bike Share seriously engages all of these concerns and suggestions, the resulting logistical challenges would be too scary to think about.  But here’s perhaps my main point:  that’s the city’s problem.  If we activists engage on that issue, we will be wasting our time and energy.  I don’t see how we activist can accomplish anything on that front, and so our time and energy could be better used in other defenses of the program.  Maybe DOT/Citibike can reach out to activists and tell us how we might help on that front.  Perhaps Citibike could dispatch ITS Ambassadors to arrange meetings with concerned groups.  But without specific requests from DOT/Citibike, I don’t think we activists should spend any energy on the particular front of siting complaints.  We won’t prevail or look good if we argue with some senior citizen about the building they live in.

    Let’s not waste even one keystroke or breath on ridiculing a building tenant who objects to a specific site, no matter what crazy shit they say in their objection.  I saw some suck ridicule on Twitter last night, and that’s fine, but now let’s please consider that “gotten out of our systems.” 

    A large handful of speakers DID dream up and spout some stupid crap about cyclists in general.  So to the goal of defending just the overall bikeshare project, I suggest we DO engage (very politely and respectfully, no matter WHAT the tone of our opponents) on the following: 

    1. conjecture about how the program is going to be “dangerous.”  We, especially long-time readers of this blog, know a lot of substantive information to argue with those claims.

    2. conjecture about how the program’s gonna cause sidewalk riding.

    3. conjecture.  Any damn conjecture.  Whenever speakers last night ventured outside of the specific topic of siting, ALL THEY HAD WAS CONJECTURE.  We can totally put up a good fight on that front, if not simply win outright.   

    I know it can be hard to stay polite; I myself got too animated while arguing with someone last night–an old man, no less, shame on me!–but we must stay cool and smart at all times.

    If “they” have dramatic jingoistic moments, like the woman who said the cheap, totally predictable line, “I don’t care what they do in Paris!  I live in New York!” (to predictable WHOOPING and cheering) LET THEM HAVE THAT.  And if reporters swarm to those particular jingoists, let them.  “Violent fires soon burn out themselves.” 

  • ddartley

    In my earlier comment, I should have made clear that I was talking about last night’s CB2 meeting.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Re; Pulaski Bridge – Fantastic news. I’ve started biking from Brooklyn to Queens regularly,
    and a separated bike path will be a godsend for cyclists and pedestrians

  • Ben Kintisch

    I mostly agree with you. Since the most pernicious stereotype about cyclists is how they are rude and inconsiderate, it behooves us to always be the most polite folks in the room at every meeting. It is the same reason why every time you stop at a red light, yield to a pedestrian, or wave to a driver who is courteous, you help our cause.

  • jrab

    I agree that it’s a pernicious stereotype, but disagree that stopping or waving is of any practical help whatsoever. The problem is not that motorists think bicyclists are inconsiderate, it’s that they don’t realize bicyclists exist. I suggest instead being obnoxiously visible and predictable.

  • Ben Kintisch

    The idea is similar to how gay men and women slowly went from opressed, invisible minority, to stereotype, to people we all know. Cyclists in NYC were, in a sense, a fringe minority for a time. Now, as numbers are growing, they are seen everywhere, but stereotypes (especially as repeated in lazy press accounts) often shape perceptions. Pleasant individual encounters with individuals, which you and I and every cyclist can make happen, helps to change us from a resented sub-human stereotype to real people. Sometimes, when a motorist interacts with me on the road that endangers my safety, I pull up at the next red light and say, “Careful! I’m a person!” Surprising how many folks are stunned by that little comment, and get very apologetic, just after nearly knocking me off my bike.