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Some of Christine Quinn’s Best Friends Are Bike Lanes*

January 11, 2013

As Bloomberg said, this is the “wave of the future.”

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.

*If you’re late to the “Some of my best friends are bike lanes” party, a primer can be found here.

  1. Daniella permalink
    January 11, 2013 2:21 pm

    The community has asked for fixes to the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Houston Street where Jessica Dworkin was killed by a truck in August for quite some time and has received ZERO response from Quinn.

  2. Brooklynite permalink
    January 11, 2013 4:59 pm

    This is so deeply disturbing. If Chris Quinn from Chelsea, Manhattan can’t just openly say that she supports livable streets, then who can? I am a life-long Democrat but I truly dread the next Democratic mayor of NYC when it comes to livable streets. It is just staggering the degree to which these candidates have sucked up the misinformation dished out by the tabloids and corrupt sleaze bags like Norman Steisel, Iris Weinshall and Jim Walden of Gibson Dunn. What a wildly successful propaganda campaign these fuckers have run.

  3. January 11, 2013 5:13 pm

    I think you see how much personal politics plays into this and gets in the way of real change. People just can’t get over themselves. Hainline was upset that as a member of her co-op board, she wasn’t notified directly about the changes to PPW. Quinn is complaining that her office never got a call, as if some basic awareness about what’s going on in community boards in her district is too much to ask of a City Council member.

    Makes you thankful for Bloomberg, who doesn’t give a shit about this kind of junior high school stuff.

  4. January 11, 2013 5:31 pm

    “And one of the problems with car lanes — and I’m generally a supporter of car lanes – but one of the problems with car 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.“

  5. January 11, 2013 11:23 pm

    This should be a bigger deal. Quinn told the first real lie of the mayoral campaign.

  6. Sue Griven permalink
    January 13, 2013 3:17 am

    I live in Manhattan Community Board 4 district and I’m a Quinn constituent. The bike lanes were shoved down our throats and are poorly implemented. We didn’t hear from Quinn or Board 4. our Block Association hasn’t heard from Quinn on anything in nearly ten years. I supported her in 1999 when she first ran, but I need to tell the entire city how bad Christine Quinn is. She’s corrupt and has the worst character I’ve ever seen in any politician.

    • January 14, 2013 10:49 am

      Sue, are you a traffic engineer or urban planner? If the bike lanes are poorly implemented, please explain how you would design them instead.

  7. Brooklynite permalink
    January 14, 2013 9:53 am

    “Shoved down our throats,” Sue Griven? Please: Tell us in more detail how this publicly announced, voted-upon design change was “shoved down your throat.” If possible, try to use something other than Republican Obamacare talking points to describe your objections to the process and the outcome. As I see it, Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Chelsea used to be one-way highways that shoved loads of motor vehicle traffic through the middle of a great neighborhood, making it intimidating, dangerous and unpleasant to ride a bike, walk across a street or sit at a cafe or park. Explain how the protected bike lanes have made things worse for you.


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