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“I don’t care about the bikers…”

December 15, 2011

Photo via Sheepshead Bites

“How do I park? I don’t care about the bikers on the sidewalk or cars passing – how do I park without the front tires of my car going into the bike lane?  There’s no way to park there without going to that curb, and you’re going to run over a person on a bike.” – Theresa Scavo, Community Board 15 Chairperson

I don’t know enough about Emmons Avenue and the proposal for a Class II bike lane there to say whether or not its a good idea, but I do know that thinking of solutions that protect the elderly, children, and others from bikes on the sidewalk probably is, even if you don’t care about the bike riders themselves.

I also know it’s the job of a Community Board Chair to create a welcoming environment for members of the community to participate.  Scavo agrees, at least in a message on the CB15 website:

As Chairwoman of the Board, I want to encourage participation in this most worthwhile endeavor. Our Community rises or falls on our ability to unite behind issues like crime prevention, education, zoning, and other factors which make our neighborhood so special.

So what is it about bike lanes that made Scavo forget this message?  Even at the height of the PPW madness, I never remember anyone on CB6 essentially telling even the most hysterical bike lane critics, “I don’t care about you.”

If this is the tone set at the top of CB15, reading about the wider tone in Sheepshead Bay is not surprising.

The bike lane proposal was made public by City Councilman Lew Fidler after receiving the suggestion earlier in the year from constituent Lenny M. (Lenny asked to not have his last name published, fearing harassment from ferocious bike lane opponents).

Emphasis mine.

  1. boof permalink
    December 15, 2011 10:38 am

    It seems like a bad idea to admin that you don’t know how to control a motor vehicle.

    DMV — can you send someone over to confiscate Ms. Scavo’s license?

  2. boof permalink
    December 15, 2011 10:40 am


  3. December 15, 2011 11:51 am

    Thanks for picking up on my article, and I’m glad the issue interests you. But a couple of things:

    1) Source your photo. I took that shot, and you should provide credit.

    2) “(Lenny asked to not have his last name published, fearing harassment from ferocious bike lane opponents)” – We at Sheepshead Bites don’t take ourselves too seriously. The above was meant as a joke, which our readers understood.

    3) In regards to Scavo, I would not say she is a bike-friendly person. However, in the context of our interview, she was telling me that she didn’t care about those other issues (bikers on the sidewalk and cars passing) in their relation to the logistics of this particular proposal, as they were moot points if the proposal required the angled parked cars to barricade the bike path when pulling in and out. She was not saying she did not care about bikers. Again – I don’t think you and Scavo would see eye-to-eye on bike lanes… ever. But she deserves a fair shake and for her words to not be taken out of context.

  4. December 15, 2011 12:01 pm

    Ned, thanks for the comment. I will add a credit and a linkback through the photo.

  5. December 15, 2011 12:05 pm

    Ned, point 3 is taken. But if that’s the case I think Scavo, as a community leader, could choose her words better. “I’d like us to do something about biking on the sidewalk, but this proposal will not solve that problem,” for example.

    Given the threats Lenny M. is receiving on the comments section of your post, it’s easy to see how his desire to remain somewhat anonymous might not be read by some as a joke. If someone threatened a bike lane opponent with violence on my site, I’d delete the comment even if it was meant in jest.

  6. December 16, 2011 4:42 pm

    Does Theresa Scavo drive a stretch limousine, or what? It’s impossible to judge the merit of what she said because the factual context is not given by the original post. The message that comes through is that this woman does not care about bicycles, she cares about parking her car. If readers are supposed to be thinking something else, the writer would have to give them something else to think about. Like the full street width, the existing and proposed lane widths, the angle parking configuration—but there is remarkably little information in the writeup about what is actually proposed. Were there no diagrams at these meetings? That would be a good use of the editor’s digital camera.

    Presumably the local advocate Lenny complied relevant numbers so that they would be easy to share, but readers are left uninformed and Scavo’s claim is left unchallenged. So the story is zany local cycling advocate gets mythbusted by no-nonsense community leader, whether or not that’s the truth of the matter.

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