Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why bike advocates aren't taken seriously

Noticed this comment on Queens Central, which somehow has been transformed into a website dedicated mostly to the love of bikes and the hate of cars:

"At the TAQC meeting, people were encouraged to attend the August 13th hearing. For example, one attendee stated she was going to go and testify in favor of better pedestrian and bike safety on College Point Boulevard, and more uses for the CitiField parking lot on away days and during off season."

Yesterday, they posted again encouraging people to testify, under the title "Greased Lightning," which is how these folks like to think of themselves while pedaling around Queens.

The only problem is that the August 13th City Planning Commission hearing is about whether or not the City should rezone Willets Point for housing and forcibly remove existing businesses via eminent domain abuse. I would think that using your 3 minutes to opine about bike lanes on College Point Boulevard (which is actually not even in the area the city wants to rezone) and fun times in the parking lot of the new stadium will not go over too well and is just a bit insensitive. There is a time and a place, and this ain't it.

76 comments:

Anonymous said...

Again,your sadly grouping things together that dont speak for the majority of bike commuters.Good try though.

Julie said...

No, actually it sounds like TAQC did.

Anonymous said...

TAQC is whacked. I went to one meeting and it was all bikes, bikes and more bikes and their ideas were a lot of anti-car nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Most of these folks are not bike commuters. They are recreational bicyclists. I say take your bike to Flushing Meadows, pedal to your heart's content and leave the rest of us alone.

Anonymous said...

I was on Grand Avenue yesterday and I saw one bike rider in the street. counted about 6 riding on the sidewalk.

Anonymous said...

6-1 There's your majority of bike enthusiasts!

Taxpayer said...

Count on those with far too much time to spend on trivia (biking) to pollute discussions on serious matters with their own attention seeking demands.

Much like spoiled children in the supermarket throwing tantrums until they get their favorite sugared cereal they saw advertised on the TV cartoon show.

These tricyclists are addicted to their own self-centered, self anointed importance.

They know that have nothing useful to contribute, so they disrupt the adults.

Anonymous said...

If these bike advocates can't be taken seriously, why is Christina Wilkinson going to them for help with Maspeth traffic issues, and then attacking them publicly when they didn't respond to her?

Anonymous said...

They didn't respond to her? Then more reason why they shouldn't be taken seriously. I bet if it was a bike related issue, she would have gotten a ton of responses from them.

Anonymous said...

Why dont you just mind your business.
No one is taken less seriously then you people. You are the only cro-magnons left in this city (outside of Staten Island) and you are a dying breed.
Cry and stomp your feet like little baby's all you want but no one listens to you except corrupt Republicans who play to your ego's because you are the only ones who will support them.
You people are the laughing stock of the city and the best part is that you dont even seem to know it.

Steve Anderson said...

http://www.commuteroutrage.com/2008/07/31/national-resources-defense-council-asks-why-so-much-bike-hate/

Anonymous said...

"Why dont you just mind your business."

Eminent domain abuse is everyone's business. Assholes taking time away from those wishing to testify against it by promoting dopey bike lanes is everyone's business, too.

Anonymous said...

How about getting rid of a blighted mess so the Queens community can have something nice in the Willets Point area, maybe that should be everyone's business too.

CJ said...

Critical Mass = Brownshirts on bikes.

This effort on the part of cyclists to promote bike lanes at a eminent domain hearing sounds like a fillerbusting attempt. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

Anonymous said...
"Why dont you just mind your business.
No one is taken less seriously then you people."

Not taking us seriously will be your problem.

Miles Mullin said...

Why dont you just mind your business.
No one is taken less seriously then you people. You are the only cro-magnons left in this city (outside of Staten Island) and you are a dying breed.
Cry and stomp your feet like little baby's all you want but no one listens to you ... You people are the laughing stock of the city and the best part is that you dont even seem to know it.

You want doggeral?

Yes, we want to be told to cheer
when Stavisky, Shelden, Brian or Clair appears,

and told where to shop and dine
under the noisy Roosevelt Ave slime.

We want to shop on Main St where it smells like a loo,
on Steinway and Jamaica too

I want to buy a coop built by a lout
and rip his cheap funishings out

I read all the Queens weeklies for news
and believe every printed word to find out who is who

I like overcrowding, and immigrants too!
and belive in Diverse! and Vibrant! through and through.

My name is Archie, I dont want to think
I believe everything the machine puts into ink.

I shut my mind to Crap you naughty boys,
and turn a blind eye when the clubhouse treats Queens like its own personal toy.

Heff said...

According to the notice for the public hearing they will be taking comments on Willet's Point including "urban renewal designation and plan", so if one of our members wants to go and say that they should include a bike network to hook up to the developments and encourage amenities to let potential future residents get around without a car, than I think that falls under "plan". It's a public hearing, you can say anything you want as long as it has something to do with Willet's Point, just like other blogs can write articles about whatever they want too. Not everyone has to be Queens Crap, you already fill that role fairly well.

Also, my home laptop and my usual work computer no longer seem able to access QC anymore, which is a shame because I do read it regularly.

Fred said...

So if your members want to "include these things in the plan," then they must be in favor of eminent domain abuse and building towers where the dirty people had well paying jobs. Just as we suspected, these "bike advocates" are nothing more than mouthpieces for developers and politicians.

Anonymous said...

They already have a safe way to get there. It's called Flushing Meadow park.

Queens Crapper said...

"It's a public hearing, you can say anything you want as long as it has something to do with Willet's Point"

Exactly. And what I am trying to say is that College Point Blvd and the Shea parking lot have absolutely nothing to do with Willets Point.

Anonymous said...

Actually, what the hell do bikes have to do with Willets Point?

Heff said...

They do have something to do with the hearing, they are right next door or connect to it. I think the point that the one quoted speaker is going to make is that with Shea having all these parking spots and only needing them for about 85(? home games a year, perhaps the towers don't need as much parking as being called for. By encouraging new residents in a dense area to drive by providing too much parking when the trains are right there the city is encouraging more car congestion in Queens.

We (TAQC) aren't taking a position on Willet's Point. The one person that was quoted in Queens Central article is. That's the point I'm trying to get across.

Instead of blaming the Queens Committee for not saying what you want, why don't you encourage your readers to submit testimony? If you can't make it to the hearing (and who wouldn't be free to sit around for hours on a Wednesday afternoon?) you can mail it to:

"City Planning Commission
Calendar Information Office
22 Reade Street – Room 2E
New York, New York 10007-1216

It is requested that such testimony be submitted by August 25, 2008."

So there, everyone here has a couple weeks to think of something and mail it in to be included as testimony.

Anonymous said...

When there are no home games, the lot is used as a park and ride. Did you folks not realize that? They are actually ENCOURAGING public transportation on a daily basis by having that lot there.

Queens Crapper said...

I will be encouraging testimony, just as I have for the other hearings held on the topic, too. And when I post about it, it won't be from a "what can I get out of this land grab" mentality.

Ridgewoodian said...

CJ: Critical Mass = Brownshirts on bikes.

So what does that make cops like this? Brownshirts in blue?

I read somewhere recently that the average settlement for women arrested illegally for being topless is $30,000. So we can just imagine how much the city is going to have to pay this guy. Your tax dollars. My tax dollars.

The last time I was in Chicago, a year ago, I happened to see a Mayoral proclamation naming a certain date "Critical Mass Day." Oh! I thought, In the City of Big Shoulders they work WITH the bikers, in New York they arrest them, confiscate their bicycles, and they make the taxpayers foot the bill. Which system is better?

Heff said...

They use the current Shea lot for that multi-use stuff because it's actually owned by Parks. The new lot at the new stadium will not. At the presentation the city gave us, they told us that they have no current agreement with Citi-Field (and by the way, citi-field? Really?) to use the parking lots for multi-purpose. So that's one thing that, should this happen, people will need to fight for, because Citibank isn't going to give it up out of the kindness of their heart.

And WE, meaning TAQC, aren't trying to see what we can get out of the land grab. WE don't take positions on land use stuff because it is very complicated and there are folks like the Crapper out there that do a better job. The single person quoted in the Queens Central blog is taking whatever position they want. We don't force our members to think one way or another, we just encourage them to be active.

Anonymous said...

Hey its a public meeting. Anyone who goes should be able to speak about whatever they want.

Erik Baard said...

Wait, when I saw the photo I thought, "Ah! Together at last!" What better device to unify the Crappers and the cyclists?

Heff said...

It certainly is a convenient looking trike.

Anonymous said...

The shea parking lot is not part of the application. You'll find out when you start speaking and they interrupt you to tell you that.

Fred said...

"And WE, meaning TAQC, aren't trying to see what we can get out of the land grab."

Are you denying that at your last meeting your members were encouraged to attend to speak up about improved bike access?

Queens Crapper said...

Don't you think it's kind of inappropriate to advocate for what you want there when the official decision (which this hearing is part of) hasn't been made yet?

Maybe it would be better if you petitioned the city to have a hearing about transportation improvements instead. More focused hearings are usually more effective. Whatever you say is going to get lost amidst the core issue.

Anonymous said...

What's this I hear about Jennifer Manley showing a film about what the city wants to do at Willets Point and no one invited from the other side to make a rebuttal?

Heff said...

The EDC asked if they could come and speak, and I said they could. If the other side really wants to come and speak they can ask me also. It's not gonna matter either way because we aren't getting involved as a group. Some people on the group like to keep everyone informed about hearings and what not pertaining to Queens, that's basically what happened here except it got a mention on another blog and now here. That Greased Lighting post doesn't even say anything about the Queens Committee.

For a group of advocates that aren't taken seriously you sure are taken one comment very seriously.

Fred said...

I like how Heff is trying to distance himself from his member's advocating inappropriately for bike fun during a hearing about eminent domain abuse. I also find it hilarious that he is basically saying that by making fun of said inappropriateness, it means we take what they say seriously instead of just the opposite.

Anonymous said...

"EDC asked if they could come and speak"

Why the hell do you think they would want to do that?

Taxpayer said...

"Why dont you just mind your business.
No one is taken less seriously then you people. You are the only cro-magnons left in this city (outside of Staten Island) and you are a dying breed.
Cry and stomp your feet like little baby's all you want but no one listens to you except corrupt Republicans who play to your ego's because you are the only ones who will support them."

You seem to be taking us seriously.

Taxpayer said...

"How about getting rid of a blighted mess so the Queens community can have something nice in the Willets Point area, maybe that should be everyone's business too."

It's private property, moron. You have no say in what's to be done with it.

Ridgewoodian said...

TAXPAYER: It's private property, moron. You have no say in what's to be done with it.

Then I take it you've withdrawn your previous objections to Anthony Como's PRIVATE McMansion? I'd love to know what caused this change of heart.

Anonymous said...

Hey taxpayer big boy.In other cities and other parts of NYC adults bike to commute and dont advocate for any of this.Yes "taxpayer" in Chicago and many other cities they work with bike commuters.Theres probably not many bike riders out there anyway in willets\college point.And by the way this is the most bitchy,sad,illiterate blog i have ever seen in my life.Too bad we cyclists agree with you about overdevelopment but you noisy whiny folks are mad at Bloomberg like many of us as well and dont know how to address him directly.It s very evident though that theres a lot of kiddies crying for their sugar cereal and blaming their problems on everyone else that doesnt fit their narrow view on this cry baby fest blog.This is the capital of capitalism so why does eminent domain surprise you??Bush is all for it and uses it often.Thats your type of goon leader that doesnt listen to the public isnt it? Bush, just like bloomie land grab boy.

Anonymous said...

Bush actually signed an order stating that the federal government was not to use eminent domain for private gain. New York state is only 1 of 8 states where the legislature or governor HAS NOT taken similar measures.

Anonymous said...

Knee-jerk reaction by bikers to all opposition: George Bush sucks! It's all his fault!

Fred said...

"Then I take it you've withdrawn your previous objections to Anthony Como's PRIVATE McMansion? I'd love to know what caused this change of heart."

Como's house violated the zoning and building codes and was built illegally. Weak analogy, RW.

Ridgewoodian said...

FRED: Como's house violated the zoning and building codes and was built illegally. Weak analogy, RW.

But, if I'm following Taxpayer's reasoning - and I use that term in its broadest possible sense - private property is, or should be, sacrosanct. To quote him: "You have no say in what's to be done with it." That YOU I assume to be not just the (“moronic”) Anonymous he was addressing but anyone, singly or collectively, other than the property owner him or her self. If, under that philosophy, the city – for example – can't do anything in Willets Point because it's private property, then under what principle are any zoning laws - such as the ones that Como or the Bukharian Jews violated - in any way legitimate?

Of course, I could be wrong and maybe Taxpayer does think that there is some YOU out there, over and beyond the owner, who does have a say in the matter. Would that be the city? The state? The federales? God? Who? I don’t know. But if such an authority exists wouldn’t whoever or whatever it might be have a right to dispose of Willets Point in any way it saw fit – provided, of course, that it operated within the bounds of existing law? (And one thing I can guarantee you is that nothing is going to happen there until the courts of law have had their say.)

I’d like to hear Taxpayer’s thoughts on this.

Queens Crapper said...

No one is questioning the ownership of Anthony Como's house. Criticizing, yes. You can criticize what goes on at Willets Point, and if illegalities are there, the government should step in. But the government should not take people's land from them and give it to a third party if they don't want to sell it or leave.

Ridgewoodian said...

CRAPPER: I'm not saying that Como doesn't own the place. In fact, I'm sure he does. And Taxpayer, at least, seems to be laying out a pretty hard line as to what rights that ownership should give him. (Well, maybe not to COMO himself since everyone hates him...) And if I follow you correctly you seem to more or less agree with him. Now, I know that you're very familiar with the Kelo decision (which, I'll admit, on its face, not having studied the legal issues in depth, sounds badly decided to me) so we can agree that the government possesses the power to take property (with compensation) and hand it over to a third party. Should the government use such power? I could see arguments either way. (In this particular case I'd love to see Willets become a New York Wrigleyville. But that's just me.) What I don’t understand, though, is if it’s always or almost always illegitimate under the Taxpayer/Crapper philosophy (as I understand it) to deprive a person of their property, how could it be all right to deprive them of the use of their property, (which many would define as a taking-by-another-name)? And isn't that what zoning & etc. is, a limitation on the use of property?

Anonymous said...

"They do have something to do with the hearing, they are right next door or connect to it."

Let me explain how this works. When you have a rezoning or land use application before the CPC, the CPC only makes a yay or nay decision. They don't expand the scope of it. If that were to happen, the whole process would have to start over from scratch. So save yourselves the time, frustration and embarrassment and stay home that night.

Anonymous said...

With Ridgewoodian's logic, owning a car means you shouldn't have to obey traffic laws.

Anonymous said...

Everything in this country is pretty much regulated as to how it can be used, including land. That doesn't mean it can just be taken from you and given to someone else. Not following the Ridgewoodian line of reasoning at all.

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS: With Ridgewoodian's logic, owning a car means you shouldn't have to obey traffic laws.

Not MY logic.

Anonymous said...

You actually believe George Bush didnt push for eminent domain in the last 7 years?? Well then ive got a stadium to sell you.The topic has been pushed and used many times under bush.Do you think he follows the law ?Give me a break.It was not on the table before him hardly at all.Again folks take a long look on whats happening to other cities.The condo land grab craze has hit every city.The world doesnt revolve around Queens.Its happened to Denver,Minneapolis,Chicago,Baltimore,Dallas,and even smaller college towns.Yes people were pushed out without any settlement for new condos,parks,and ball parks in other cities too.Go figure.

Anonymous said...

When did Bush direct the federal government to seize private land for a condo project?

Anonymous said...

Oh well if it's happened in other cities, I guess that makes it okay. LOL. Bike nuts. Gotta love 'em.

Taxpayer said...

Since others took care of RW's "logic", I'll just part with the reference to the spoiled child in the grocery store analogy.

The same child, like RW, likes to play "let's pretend". It's a great game. Exercises the mind.

But, once a child becomes an adult, reality has to control the mind. When and adult fantasizes, as RW persistently does, we adults call that "arrested development". It's no longer cute or useful.

Another example of arrested development is demonstrated with that anonymous comment insisting that Bush, who signed an executive order blocking federal eminent domain, as then disobeying his own order. That silly assertion without a shred of proof.

Fantasizing.

Anonymous said...

Well said RW. Taxpayer is a hypocrite who yells about private property rights to protect a blighted mess of junkyards, but then yells that private property owner shouldn't be able to build his own house bigger because Taxpayer doesn't like a big house in his neighborhood. Inconsistent logic abounds.

Signed,
A Bigger Taxpayer

Anonymous said...

There are multi-million dollar businesses operating at Willets Point, but you folks at Parkside always like to try to reduce them to a mess of junkyards.

No one is trying to take Como's house away from him. Just trying to make him comply with the law. And he should be criticized for building an oversized house that uses more energy which is exactly what the bike freaks shriek about.

Anonymous said...

Now why don't you all get back to the actual topic which is the stupidity of testifying about bike lanes at a hearing regarding eminent domain?

Ridgewoodian said...

BIGGER TAXPAYER: Thanks for the kind words.

TAXPAYER: Not really a fantasy. Or pretend. As the New York Times reported in 2006:

“Supporters of the ballot efforts in the West [imposing new restrictions on government’s ability to enforce zoning laws] — often called “Kelo-plus” — say they want to stop so-called regulatory takings, the idea that government effectively takes private property when zoning laws limit how it can be used.

So, I ask again: if it’s immoral to take private property outright, how is it moral to limit its use? Or have you not thought the issue through?

Anonymous said...

Are you serious? It's obvious that you can't plan services for a city if you don't know whether to expect a chemical factory, apartment building or stores on a block. You also have to regulate building density for the same reason. City planning tries to harmonize the surroundings so that the city works smoothly.

Eminent domain abuse is outright theft. See the difference now?

Anonymous said...

You also buy property knowing what you can build there under the zoning.

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS:

So are you saying that the needs of the community as a whole can legitimately be invoked to regulate the use of private property, over and above the wishes of the property owner? There are some who wouldn’t, like those mentioned in that article I linked to, but I can accept that, as long as the rules are clear up front.

But then what if the needs of the community dictate that the property not only be regulated, but actually be taken and put to a totally different use? Is that morally different? If so, why?

Anonymous said...

First question: Yes.

Second question: Name a time when that has happened. Willets Point and Atlantic Yards are not being planned on the basis of the needs of the surrounding communities.

Anonymous said...

No if it happens in other cities that doesnt make it OK.The point is that you folks dont understand its happening all over the country.But what do I expect from car nuts(gotta love em,their bad driving road rage ) commenting on this ranting misdirected blog making connections to people who dont care for land grabs also.And knee jerk would be the worked up crappers who confuse the issue with people who have nothing to do with this.If it makes you feel better thats great kids.

Anonymous said...

Wow Taxpayer.You are a little fool arent you if you believe bush would nt do an Orwelian action to benefit the private sector.How damn naive is this guy.Now its all clear how gulliable these complex thinkers are.Taxpayer might want to invest in Enron field in Houston or Colorado savings and loan circa mid 80's.Neil bush anyone??You might have to look that up you big adult you.

Anonymous said...

Everything that is bad is somehow connected to George W. Bush. Even when it's not.

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS: First question: Yes.

So we're agreed. Punch in a Terrorist Fist jab there m'man!

ANONYMOUS: Second question: Name a time when that has happened. Willets Point and Atlantic Yards are not being planned on the basis of the needs of the surrounding communities.

Not the answer to the question I asked. The pros and cons of this or that specific development can always be argued. If Crapper is right the Willets Point development might not even be constitutional, under the state constitution, at least as it's currently being structured (although I would be astounded if all the high powered lawyers working on it had missed something so basic.) The answer that I'm looking for, YES or NO, is to a more basic and general question of principle: given that we're agreed that the government has the legitimate right to regulate the use of private property for the good of the community as a whole, does it have an equally legitimate right (consistent with the law, of course) to take private property for the common good? And if not, why not? Why the one right and not the other - especially considering that many of our brethren, mostly out West, consider any but the most minimal regulation to be a form of taking?

Ridgewoodian said...

ANONYMOUS: Everything that is bad is somehow connected to George W. Bush. Even when it's not.

Yeah, it mostly is.

Anonymous said...

And Ridgewoodian, not realizing that comment about Bush was made tongue-in-cheek proves the point being made.

Queens Crapper said...

Yes, of course if the use is truly for the common good and not for the good of a private developer. That's eminent domain 101. Bridges, schools, hospitals, parks. Not arenas and condos.

Ridgewoodian said...

And Anonymous, not realizing that MY reply was bitterly ironic, proved the intelligence of the average Bush supporter ca. 2008.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I voted for Kerry, which proves what a know-nothing asshole you are.

Ridgewoodian said...

CRAPPER: Yes, of course if the use is truly for the common good and not for the good of a private developer.

Well, for good or for ill the Supreme Court, in Kelo
has stated that it will generally defer to elected local and state governments in determining what’s best for the common good. That’s the law of the land.

Queens Crapper said...

I understand the Kelo decision, thanks. Something for the "common good" is still something the public will use. A convention center, hotels and condos is not a public use.

Anonymous said...

A park is for the common good but having places to shop, eat and live aren't?

Anonymous said...

No, it benefits the people who live in it and sell there. Private interests. And as for tax revenue, it's going to cost more to push the people out, go to court, remediate and then build than the people who move in and patronize will pay back in taxes.

So where's the public benefit?

Ridgewoodian said...

CRAPPER: Something for the "common good" is still something the public will use.

Not according to the Supreme Court, which, building on precedent going back more than a century, takes a more expansive view of “public purpose.” To quote from the "syllabus" attached to the beginning of the majority opinion:

"...while the city is not planning to open the condemned land—at least not in its entirety—to use by the general public, this 'Court long ago rejected any literal requirement that condemned property be put into use for the...public.' Id., at 244. Rather, it has embraced the broader and more natural interpretation of public use as 'public purpose.' See, e.g., Fallbrook Irrigation Dist. v. Bradley, 164 U. S. 112, 158–164. Without exception, the Court has defined that concept broadly, reflecting its longstanding policy of deference to legislative judgments as to what public needs justify the use of the takings power. Berman, 348 U. S. 26; Midkiff, 467 U. S. 229; Ruckelshaus v. Monsanto Co., 467 U. S. 986. Pp. 6–13.

Queens Crapper said...

For the millionth time, the Supreme Court is wrong, the taking of private property by the government to give to someone else was not what the founding fathers had in mind, nearly everyone of every stripe agrees with this, and 42 states have passed legislation preventing the taking of private land by the government for private gain in lieu of the court decision. NY was not one of them. Amen. Time to move on now.