Watch: Steve Vaccaro vs. Anti-Bike-Share Lawyer Jeffrey Barr on Fox 5

On Fox 5’s Good Day program with Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly (son of Ray) this morning, Streetsblog columnist Steve Vaccaro skillfully, smoothly debated Jeffrey Barr, the lawyer representing Manhattan’s anti-bike-share NIMBYs. Steve’s performance speaks for itself. All I have to say is, put this man on TV more.

Okay, I also have to say, Rosanna Scotto needs to do her homework on the number of New Yorkers who own cars, the spatial efficiency of different transportation modes, and how NYC allocates curb space. About three minutes in, Scotto says, “I think what some people are concerned about is that we’re kind of dumping parking spots and everything for 3 percent of the population, while the other people are forced to find other ways to park and get around the city.” Of course, in Manhattan, where Barr’s clients live, only 23 percent of households own cars, but most of the curb is devoted to storing their vehicles. After bike-share launches, New York City’s car owners will still be hogging a percentage of public curb space that’s vastly out of proportion to their share of the population.

  • Expecting Rosanna Scotto to do homework for anything she talks about is unrealistic. (I think I lifted that sentence directly from her contract.)

  • Dis-Barred

    Agree with Inspector Spacetime. Keep your expectations for Greg and Roanna extremely low and you’ll be a happier New Yorker. I was impressed that Steve stayed on task and didn’t get bogged down debating that point with Rosanna. Personally, I’d have had a hard time doing that had I been on the show.

  • Anonymous

    Wait, didn’t the legal challenges get thrown out already?

  • Anonymous

    Steve was great. Kept his calm and really was to the point about what the reality of the situation is.

    I do agree with 1 thing Jeffrey said. Some of these bikeshare stations will have to be moved. Not every location will be perfect, and when REAL problems (as opposed to ridiculous hypothesized ones) and REAL concerns present themselves, they need to be moved.

    It’s a good thing that doing so is ridiculously easy, and would take little more than 5 people, a truck, and a few hours, and maybe require the printing of a new sign.

  • Good job, Steve!

    Soon all the objections will be drowned out by the sheer ordinariness of bike share. I’m looking forward to that.

  • moocow

    Thanks for the laugh.

  • Anonymous

    OK from now on I’m referring to all people opposed to Citibikes as idiots. “Two thirds to half a block?” Really? Where on the city’s shortest block? Biking unsafe? My god someone get me a crowbar I have to pry these people’s heads,

  • kevd

    To be fair, that block is very short.

  • Anonymous

    “Bicycle riding is not a safe activity.” Yeah, neither is driving yet we let every idiot in the world get a license and drive a car.

  • But you have to love how even Greg was incredulous at the claim that the rack “obliterated 1/2 to 2/3 of the block.” Talk about leading with your chin…

  • kevd

    Sure “obliterated” was a ridiculous word.
    “Removed free, private car storage from 1/2 of one side of the block” would have been accurate.

  • Albert

    Steve mentioned exactly that fact during the segment.

  • Ari

    Steve did great, except for using the term “accident” instead of the broader (and generally more accurate) “crash.” Bad habits die hard.

    Perhaps he used “accident” to make it sound more innocuous.

  • Joe R.

    That comment made me wish I was there. I would have promptly responded that I’ve ridden over 68,000 miles (probably over 70,000 if you count the time spent riding before my bike had a speedometer) during the last 35 years, and have never gotten any injury worse than road rash. I also would have mentioned that my last fall on a bike was when Clinton was President (1996 to be exact). I tend to think based on my own experience falls and crashes tend to cluster in the first few years of riding. Once you acquire experience, they become increasingly rarer. Of course, if you’re deathly afraid to ride a bike thanks to comments like Barr’s, you’ll never acquire that experience.

  • I still use “accident” sometimes when referring to wipe-outs by cyclists without a motor vehicle or serious roadway hazard involved. Those kinds of accidents do in fact “happen,” especially to inexperienced cyclists. No reason to oppose bike share.

  • One of the funniest comments happened off-air before we began. Greg expressed surprise that the the “guy in the bowtie” was anti-bike. Who are the weirdos *now*?

  • Ben Kintisch

    Steve came across as pleasant and professional. Well done, counselor!

  • moocow

    Thanks Steve for being clear and calm (I would have started yelling, probably before any one else even said anything). You got to say what we all wanted to, and you did it very well!

  • willy voet

    Great job Steve. Thanks for being a wonderful representative.

  • Anonymous

    Not us for once? But Kudos for your excellent job!

  • Anonymous

    Impressive in a lot of ways–particularly, of course, Steve Vaccaro, but more than that, I think the hosts came across as relatively excited about bike share. Compare the goofy business of the two of them riding the CitiBike to Marcia Kramer’s “think of all the terrorists on bikes” bit from the not too distant past.

    One point that I wish there’d been time to raise: even if you accept that “only” 3% of New Yorkers ride bikes, I think it’s still true that we don’t have anything like 3% of the city’s roads and parking. So if Barr and company want to go with that number, I say fine: give us 3% of all on-street parking. And as we grow, let us have every bit more, percent by percent.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, that guy made a total ass of himself. What an idiot.

  • Geoffrey

    We have bike share in Boston (as you probably know) and it is great. It took about 2 years to really become a part of the daily life where people remember it as an option when going across town. And some stations did have to move for various reasons – there was a lot of learning that happened. Some of it was about moving to meet where the demand was, and some for safety of bikers, drivers and pedestrians. But one thing is for sure, the program is working, and expanding each year. Which means more bike lanes, which in turn means more bikers…etc. Usually New York does things before Boston (well, not counting the American Revolution and Babe Ruth), so its a surprise to me that New York doesn’t have bike share humming along already.


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