Some of Christine Quinn’s Best Friends Are Bike Lanes*
At a luncheon hosted by Brian Lehrer, Christine Quinn had a lot to say about bike lanes, perhaps more than she’s ever said on any single issue in New York City politics. Via Transportation Nation:
“And one of the problems with bike lanes — and I’m generally a supporter of bike lanes – but one of the problems with bike lanes has been not the concept of them, which I support, but the way the Department of Transportation has implemented them without consultation with communities and community boards.“
Emphasis mine. As the inclusive process behind the Prospect Park West bike lane and the tedious and ongoing Columbus Avenue bike lane saga demonstrate, there’s a lot of evidence to refute the canard that DOT implements such projects without consultation from “communities and community boards.” Perhaps the most powerful comes from Christine Quinn herself at the same luncheon:
“So, for example in Chelsea, the ninth avenue bike lane south of 23rd street was put in place — and the community board four loves the bike lane, LOVES the bike lane, been asking for bike lanes for years and years and year. It was put in on ninth avenue without notification to my office, and I was speaker at the time.
Both of Quinn’s sentiments cannot be true. Either the DOT does not consult with community boards or it gets requests from community boards such as CB4 “for years and years.” The only thing that seems to be missing, then, is some sort of personal phone call from Janette Sadik-Khan to Quinn herself. But such a petty complaint begs the question: what other changes to neighborhoods and streets require direct notification to the speaker’s office? Or is it just bike lanes?
There are other inconsistencies in Quinn’s remarks, including the idea that something that enjoys a 66% approval rating is “clearly controversial.” Most notably, the speaker delivered her comments in front of an audience of Broadway and tourism officials, all of whom have seen their fortunes increase immeasurably with the Times Square pedestrian plaza and other improvements to the city’s streetscape. (Few, if any, tourists staying in Manhattan rent a car to check out the Magnolia Bakery, South Street Seaport, SoHo, or the Metropolitan Museum.) In fact, instead of chuckling when Lehrer asked Quinn to opine “about bike lanes, and pedestrian malls, and all things Bloomberg and Sadik-Khan,” the people in the room should have stood up and chanted, “JSK! JSK! JSK!”
Compare the speaker’s comments to Bloomberg’s opinion that urban amenities such as bike share systems are “the wave of the future,” and you can understand why so many people believe the rumors that the mayor wants to handpick his successor.