New York City and the Bloomberg administration are deploying a secret weapon in the war over bike lanes, the New York Times reports today, in the form of some offense led by Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson. “We allowed the other side to frame this debate,” Wolfson told the Times. “That’s really the bottom line: our voice was missing here.” Now they’re speaking up. Good luck yelling louder than the New York Post though!
The new campaign is taking various forms, one of which will not work: a “sober, data-driven argument in favor of the lanes,” posted online. But in addition to the dull numbers, an all out media assault could very well work (again, discounting the Post, whose minds are made up) :
Mr. Wolfson followed up with a round of radio and television appearances, and he used his Twitter account to issue quick ripostes to critics. He wrote a pithy, plainspoken essay to The Huffington Post, an explicit attempt to counter the heated rhetoric of the debate. “To paraphrase that great cyclist Sigmund Freud,” Mr. Wolfson wrote, “sometimes a bike lane is just a bike lane.”
Transportation Alternatives, the “leading bike advocacy group,” even hired a PR firm for the first time ever after nearly four decades of existence.
There have been fundraisers too, meant to rally troops on the fight against “misinformation.” Invitations included an allusion to Paris and controversial transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan spoke. She has not, in case you were wondering, had fruit thrown at her… “yet.”