Jimmy Van Bramer Admits His “Mistake” on Opposing Skillman Avenue Protected Lane — And Activists Cheer

The Sunnyside council member had been slammed for his apparent waffling, but revealing his "regrets" helps heal the wound.

Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (at podium with DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg) first revealed his regrets at a press conference on Wednesday. He went further on Twitter on Thursday. Photo by Gersh Kuntzman
Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (at podium with DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg) first revealed his regrets at a press conference on Wednesday. He went further on Twitter on Thursday. Photo by Gersh Kuntzman

Queens Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer is being hailed on Thursday for admitting his “mistake” and openly discussing his regrets about the painful public process that will culminate later this year with the installation of two protected bike lanes in Sunnyside.

Van Bramer had initially called for better protection for cyclists on 43rd Avenue after deliveryman Gelacio Reyes was killed — only to back Community Board 2 when it rejected the city DOT plan. But today, he said he made a “mistake.”

Early response from street safety advocates is positive:

Here is Van Bramer’s full Twitter thread with more reaction below:

The posts prompted much discussion and praise among activists…

…but not from everyone, as this clearly sarcastic post shows:

Some even saw a larger message for politicians in general:

 

  • J

    I dunno if I’m ready to forgive his cowardice yet. Leadership, means putting yourself out there for the things you believe in, not ducking the issue and flip flopping until someone else takes a stand. It wasn’t even a very politically savvy move, since now all the bike haters are calling for his head anyway. So I’m glad to have your support again, Jimmy, but this is not the kind of leadership we need going forward.

  • r

    What was so disappointing about Van Bramer’s earlier backtracking was that anyone who knows him knew he wasn’t being honest about his beliefs. He has always been ahead of the curve on safe streets, so it was sad to see him cater to angry, ill-informed parking enthusiasts. It was pure politics from a man who is usually better than that. The lesson here seems to be that people should lead from the front and stay true to who they are and their values. There’s an entire new and active constituency of people who are willing to support such elected officials and we’re getting bigger all the time.

    Aside from that, Jimmy Van Bramer also owes the family of Gelacio Reyes an apology for betraying them like he did. Glad he came around, but what he did to Mr. Reyes’ widow after standing in support of her was unacceptable.

  • Van Bramer’s waffling on the protected bike lanes on Skillman and 43rd Avenues was infuriating; it nearly scuttled the whole thing, until the mayor put his foot down. When you’re out-backboned by de Blasio, then you know you’re doing something wrong!

    Anyway, it’s good to have Van Bramer back. Let’s hope that he is prepared to be a voice of sanity going forward on issues regarding street safety and bicycle infrastructure.

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