Saturday, March 05, 2011

Weiner to Bloomberg: "I'm going to tear out your fucking bike lanes"

From the NY Times:

On a balmy night last June, the city’s Congressional delegation gathered for dinner at Gracie Mansion. Representative Anthony D. Weiner, who aspires to live in the mansion someday, knew he would have only a few minutes with the host, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. So he brought up the hottest topic he could think of: bicycle lanes, and the transportation commissioner who had nearly doubled the number of them, Janette Sadik-Khan. “When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing?” Mr. Weiner said to Mr. Bloomberg, as tablemates listened. “I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”

Mr. Weiner, a brash Democrat from Queens, had expected a bit of banter with his longtime adversary. Instead, Mr. Bloomberg adopted an exasperated, welcome-to-my-world expression. “His answer was, ‘Tell me about it,’ ” said a person who was there, one of two who recounted the tale. The mayor, some guests said, made it clear that Ms. Sadik-Khan was off on her own...Among the city’s political class, Ms. Sadik-Khan has also become notorious for a brusque, I-know-best style and a reluctance to compromise.

In public screeds and private whispers, many city leaders say they have felt rebuffed, alienated or outright dismissed by Ms. Sadik-Khan, with several recounting in interviews having picked up their phones to find her yelling on the other end. And she recently set City Hall atwitter by appearing to deflect criticism over the response to the December blizzard to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

...In the past several months, even members of the Bloomberg administration have begun to acknowledge that Ms. Sadik-Khan’s aggressive style, so effective at first, may have morphed into a liability. The mayor, who found himself booed over bicycle lanes at a town hall meeting in Queens in January, spoke with Ms. Sadik-Khan, and they agreed she would solicit more opinions from neighborhood leaders. Since then, she has been making conciliatory phone calls to City Council members, adopting a friendlier tone and proposing more collaboration.

Last week, Ms. Sadik-Khan withdrew a plan to ban car traffic on 34th Street between Herald Square and the Empire State Building after complaints from businesses, residents and The New York Post...

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