A Response to the Post’s Bike Coverage (and a Marcia Kramer Sighting)

Streetsblog editor emeritus Aaron Naparstek gave us a heads up about some letter writing to the Post he did earlier today. He also sends word — and a photo — that Marcia Kramer was out on Prospect Park West this afternoon in preparation for her next piece on the improving safety of NYC streets. Aaron says he did get some time on camera, on his cargo bike with son Saul (who’s almost four, if memory serves). Sounds like great TV to me — we’ll see if they make the final cut.

On to the letter writing:

I wrote a letter to New York Post reporter Sally Goldenberg this morning in response to her awful coverage of last night’s Community Board 6 meeting on the Prospect Park West bike lane. (You can find reasonable coverage of the same issue at the Daily News, Brooklyn Paper, Brooklyn Spoke, How We Drive and Streetsblog).

Marcia Kramer

Details at 6 and 11. Photo: Aaron Naparstek

I’m generally not a big fan of the letter to the editor. It feels like a pretty lame, powerless way to try to get one’s point across. But with the New York City bike lane backlash now in full effect and outlets like the New York Post and CBS2 apparently feeling completely unleashed to attack NYC DOT’s bike projects, I think New York City bike advocates need to start getting in touch directly with the editors and reporters who are responsible for crappy, dishonest coverage of bike issues.

Here’s why: Sally Goldenberg and her editors are probably very nice, normal people who generally want good things for their city, their community and their kids. As members of the city’s placarded class, the press often has a hard time relating to people who use bikes as transportation in New York City (like politicians and police, members of the press have parking placards and have a tendency toward serious windshield-perspective). Maybe they don’t know anyone who uses a bike for transportation. And they don’t see any bike dealerships sponsoring their coverage. And they are eager to poke holes in Bloomberg these days. And DOT’s bike and public space projects are one of the more visible, physical manifestations of Bloombergism. And we all know the bike coverage generates crazy pageviews. So, fuck ‘em. There’s blood in the water. Attack.

So, I want to try to start getting in touch with the Sally Goldenbergs, Marcia Kramers and Tony Aiellos of the world and letting them know that: Hey, cyclists are not freaks. We are not an abstraction. We are not outsiders or enemies or “the other.” There are tens of thousands of us and we are real New Yorkers with jobs and kids and, yes, some of us even drive cars too. All of this new bike infrastructure really matters to our daily lives. The way that they cover bicycle and transportation policy issues in New York City actually matters. We need them to start doing responsible, accurate, honest journalism.

So here’s the letter I wrote to Sally this morning…

Read the rest over at Naparstek.com.