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Neighbors For Better Bike Lane Quotes

February 22, 2011

By now it should come as no surprise that Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes will go to any lengths, willfully misinterpret any data that doesn’t support their position, and more or less make up anything in order to paint the successful, non-controversial Prospect Park West bike lane as unsuccessful and controversial.

As reported by Transportaton Nation’s Andrea Bernstein, in the wake of the City Council’s passage of package of bills aimed to open up car, bike, and pedestrian accident data to the public, NBBL and Seniors for Safety issued a press release, piggybacking their anti-bike-lane agenda on top of the announcement of this important legislation.  There’s just one problem with the press release: almost none of it has any basis in reality.

After praising the bill, the NBBL/Seniors for Safety press release reads as follows:

They also support the moratorium, called for by Speaker Quinn and Councilman Vacca, on the imposition of new bike lanes until this background data is available online.

Wouldn’t that be nice for NBBL if Quinn and Vacca had taken that position?  Too bad neither Quinn nor Vacca have called for such a moratorium, as Bernstein reports:

But according to city council spokesman Jamie McShane, “neither Speaker Quinn nor Councilman Vacca support a moratorium on bike lane construction.”  In fact, McShane said, the question came up at a press conference after the traffic safety bill was passed, and the council specifically rejected the idea of a moratorium on bike lane construction.

Remember, this is no simple misinterpretation or misquote by a bike-friendly reporter.  These quotes come straight from the horse’s mouth.  Here’s a quote from one member of Seniors for Safety, taken directly from the NBBL/SFS press release:

“The fact that Councilmembers Quinn and Vacca are calling for a hiatus on the imposition of new bike lanes until this data is readily accessible online is an important indication that City leaders want bike lane decisions to be made with greater care and community involvement. We are happy to know that our public efforts to ensure that all of our bike lanes are safe and appropriate have contributed in a positive way to this City-wide debate and to this legislative victory,” added Jasmine Melzer, a Seniors for Safety member.

“The fact.” Quinn and Vacca are not calling for any hiatus on anything until anytime.  This is simply a lie. Someone needs to ask Norman Steisel, Louise Hainline, Iris Weinshall, Lois Carswell, Jasmine Melzer and anyone else associated with this press release how and why they so blatantly made up the council members’ positions.

This is not some mic-in-the-face quote, given by a random, not-quite-media-savvy PPW resident, but a calculated press release from an official organization with deep ties to former city officials, a current U.S. senator, and white shoe legal representation.   They can not very well claim ignorance of the art of the press release.

I think this is a very serious misstep on NBBL’s part, or at least should be.  It’s a willful act that should undermine what little credibility NBBL still has, if it still has any.

Also, by claiming that their “public efforts” contributed to this legislative victory, NBBL trivializes the hard work of Nancy Gruskin and the Stuart C. Gruskin Family Foundation, Transportation Alternatives, and other safety-minded individuals and organizations that actually were involved with getting the bills passed.  If it turns out that I’m wrong and that NBBL was instrumental in getting these bills passed, I’m happy to publish an explanation from anyone from NBBL or Seniors for Safety.

There are more lies and contradictions in the press release and I’ll get to those in a subsequent post, but fabricating the positions of Speaker Quinn and Council Member Vacca is enough to completely discredit Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes.

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2 Comments
  1. Marcus permalink
    February 22, 2011 11:54 am

    Definition of chutzpah: NBBL claiming they had anything to do with releasing NYPD crash data after Commissioner Weinshall wanted to keep it closed while she was at DOT.

  2. Jayco permalink
    February 22, 2011 1:01 pm

    Why is Andrea Bernstein allowing them to get publicity for this garbage? I don’t get it. What lie wouldn’t she publish?

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